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All-female team from India wins the Grand Challenge

Announcing the winners of the third round of the Technology Infusion Grand Challenge Competition

New La Trobe cyber security collaboration with India

A new collaboration with India is aving the way to a safer cyberspace after acquiring a grant from the Australian government, writes Rebecca Borg

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Technology Infusion Grand Challenge 2020-21 - Awards Presentation

On 15 December 2021 the winners of the third round of this competition were announced.

Keynotes were presented by Jason Bamert, Associate Director of Education, Optus Enterprise and Dr Harsha Vardhan, Founder and Managing Director, MedAchievers.

Professor John Dewar, Vice-Chancellor, La Trobe University announced the overall winner and the People's Choice award:

Team Catalysts - an all-female team from SRM Institute of Science and Technology in India won the grand prize of an all-expense paid mentorship stay in Melbourne. Team Catalysts (L-R - Team Catalysts: Rashmi Lenin, Priyanka Saravanan, and Srinidhi Sonai Anand) displayed their originality and creativity by developing a Smart Solution for membranes used in water filtration.

Team Workify - (Akankshi Vaishya, Antariksh Ray, Prateek Kaistha, Mayur Bhosale, Pawan Wadhwani) from SRM Institute of Science and Technology won the People's Choice award for their concept "Machine Learning and Robotics Powered Segregation of Solid Waste"

The two teams competed against a total of 88 teams from 22 different universities in the Asia region including India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam. From those teams, 19 finalists were chosen and received an investment of up to AUD$1000 to build their prototypes, while another two teams used their own funding to participate in the final stages of the Grand Challenge.

The 2021-22 round is now open - click here for more information on how to enter.  Entries close 31 January 2022.

You can view the event here.

'India in Focus' Seminar Series - Seminar #1

Australia’s Relationship with India

On 19 August 2021, La Trobe Asia (at La Trobe University) held the first of six seminars focused on India.

Our first 'India in Focus' event was a live recording of La Trobe Asia’s Asia Rising podcast with Lisa Singh - Deputy Chair, Australia India Council and Former Australian Senator (2011-2019).

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Developing Partnerships Between Australian and Indian Universities

On 11 August 2021, La Trobe Asia hosted a panel as part of 'India Week' with the Australia India Institute.

The panel discussed the importance and value of partnering and sharing their experiences in setting up the Asian Smart Cities Research and Innovation Network (ASCRIN). Our speakers, representing each of the institutional partners (IIT Kanpur, BITS Pilani and La Trobe University) provided information about how the 10 themes were developed, the challenges to operationalise the partnership, the importance and value of industry partners, and where they hope to see the partnership go in the future.

We thank the speakers for sharing their valuable time with us and also for their insights and reflections:

  • Professor Aniruddha Desai, Founding Director of ASCRIN, La Trobe University
  • Professor Susan Dodds, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Industry Engagement), La Trobe University
  • Professor Yogesh M Joshi, Dean of International Relations, IIT Kanpur
  • Professor Sudhirkumar Barai, Director Pilani Campus and Director International Programs & Collaborations, BITS Pilani

The panel was moderated by Dr Bec Strating, Executive Director - La Trobe Asia.

The event can be viewed here or an audio recording is available here.

Mahatma Gandhi’s Principles: In the Perspective of Alcoholism and the Road Crashes

On the eve of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Saturday 29 August 2020, the Indian Institute of Technology - Kanpur and La Trobe University (SPARC Team # 1442) jointly presented this symposium.  The symposium was grouped into three key themes: Justice System and Policing; Personal, Social and Community Issues: responsibilities and impacts; and Governance, Innovation and Solutions.  This was the first ysmposium for ASCRIN.

The event was recorded and can be viewed in its entirety here.  Each speaker contributed a unique perspective on the complex issues of addressing alcohol and road crashes.  It was a formidable task, but together, they elucidated Gandhian principles, values and beliefs about prohibition and temperance to provide the rationale for limiting exposure, consumption and impacts of drinking.

The order and summary of speakers is below, and individual presentations can be viewed according to the links below.


Professor Aniruddha Desai (La Trobe University)

Professor Abhay Karandikar (Director - IIT Kanpur)

Part 1: Justice System and Policing

Presentation 1:

Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, Hon'ble Chairman, Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety, New Delhi, India.

Title: Prohibition from Gandhi's Perspective and its Effect on Road Safety

Presentation 2:

Mr. Raja Srivastava, Indian Police Service, Addl Director General of Police, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Title: Gandhi’s Principle, Road Safety and Alcohol: A Policing Perspective

Presentation 3:

Inspector Donna Mitchell, Local Area Command Goldfields Police Service Area, Victoria Police, Australia

Title: Case Study – What methods are being used to address Regional Road Trauma in Central Victoria?

Part 2: Personal, Social and Community Issues: responsibilities and impacts

Presentation 1:

Dr Anne-Marie Laslett, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR), La Trobe University, Australia.

Title: Alcohol’s Impact on Ourselves and Others: In Our Homes and on Our Streets

Presentation 2:

Dr Anubha Goel, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

Title: Drunk-Driving RoadAccidents and the Survivor’s Perspectives

Presentation 3:

Professor A Raghuramaraju, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Tirupati

Title: Mahatma Gandhi On The Idea Of The Normal

Part 3: Governance, Innovation and Solutions

Presentation 1:

Professor Adarsh Kumar, Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Radiology, AII India Institute of Medical Sciences

Title: Drunk/Drunken Driving vis a vis Disability and Death

Presentation 2:  NOT RECORDED

Mr Vijay Kalakala, Dy. General Manager, Occupant Safety, Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India

Title: Continuing the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-30

Presentation 3:

Professor Uday S. Racherla, Innovation Management Consultant, Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA

Title: Complex Interdependence of Multiple Factors Influencing Road Crashes; How Gandhian Thought Facilitates Innovative Thinking to Avoid Fatal Outcomes and Diminishing Returns

In summary:

  • Professor Raghuramaraju’s deeper discussion about the ‘normal’, and Professor Kumar’s discussion of Good Samaritan laws illustrates the need to tap into our better selves to consciously determine our own behaviours and how we treat others.
  • Justice Sapre highlighted challenges and opportunities to address alcoholism and road crashes within justice systems, while Mr Shrivastava underscored the importance of evidence-based solutions to inform decision-making. Inspector Mitchell emphasised the need for strategic and tactical planning that engages communities to create and apply solutions.
  • Associate Professor Goel grounded discussion in the challenging realities of redefining self-identity when negotiating rehabilitation and ongoing impacts experienced by crash survivors, while Dr Laslett identified the impacts on individuals, families and community health from her research in Australia and India.
  • Mr Kalakala and Professor Racherla identified a variety of potential research, policy, programmatic and technological initiatives to decrease road crashes, especially those associated with alcohol, while emphasising the need to understand socio-cultural contexts.

This symposium demonstrated the importance of university-government-industry partnerships in addressing this issue, as well as the necessity of including multiple fields of knowledge to provide much needed insights about issues of governance, regulation, design, education, attitudes and behaviours.

Download the Abstracts [PDF 2,507KB]

This symposium was co-organised/hosted by Murali Prasad Panta (IIT Kanpur) and Julie Rudner (La Trobe) and would not have been possible without the support of the Indian Government through the SPARC grant program (# 1442 Team).

Gandhi as Absence: Indian Middle-Class Nationalism and the Politics of Elsewhere

On Thursday 27 August 2020, the Indian Institute of Technology - Kanpur and La Trobe University jointly presented this talk as part of the commemoration of M.K. Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. This was the first talk for ASCRIN.

Dr Sayan Chattopadhyay's fascinating presentation demonstrated his knowledge, expertise and insights about Gandhi through a literary studies lens.

The event is available to view again here.