Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University) concluded a milestone four-day gathering on how to find solutions for the many urgent challenges humanity faces. The University’s Amrita Research & Innovation Symposium for Excellence (ARISE) was a convergence of forward-thinking scientific initiatives based upon love, compassion, and values.
The symposium gave Amrita’s academic community a platform to collaborate and initiate interdisciplinary research in line with Amma’s vision of fostering a world free from conflict, hunger, and disparities. More than 500 faculty members from Amrita’s eight campuses participated in the event, which took place at Amritapuri Campus.
Experts focused on key topics such as One Health, Ecosystem Restoration, Information Intelligence & Immersion, Disaster Resilience, Empowered Organisational Systems, Values-Based Education, and Ubiquitous Artificial Intelligence.
They included exploring how to incorporate the values of spirituality into the realm of research, alongside the ancient teachings of Ayurveda, which translates as ‘the science of life’. Across such a vast spectrum, ARISE evolved into a powerful exchange of ideas and became a driving force for creative solutions.
“For living, we may need a job, money, a home, a car, and other creature comforts. However, these alone fail to make life complete. For that, we need love, compassion, tenderness—a heart that knows and responds to the pain of others,” said Amma in her address as Chancellor of Amrita.
“We need broadmindedness and maturity in thought and action. Education should spread light within and without and equally develop discernment and contemplation. It should develop the curiosity to know the internal world just as much as it does to know the external world. Education should teach us to keep our inner eye open just as much as our external eyes.”
Amma emphasised the role of education in unlocking this potential and fostering a deep connection with Nature. Her inspiring words set the tone for ARISE, urging participants to explore and utilise their unique capabilities for the betterment of society.
As part of the events, the Amrita Innovation & Research Awards (AIRA) ceremony recognised faculty members’ outstanding contributions across diverse fields. Amma awarded 24 researchers from Amrita for earning spots in the prestigious Stanford University’s Top 2% Scientists List.
As well, AIRA resulted in more than 570 awards in various categories and seed grants exceeding $2.4 million [₹20 crore] to acknowledge the contribution and unwavering dedication of Amrita’s researchers.
“In just two decades, Amrita has become a leading global institution, and our impactful research is supported by over $36 million [₹300 crore] in funding and recognised by government and industrial agencies globally,” said Dr Maneesha V Ramesh, Provost, Amrita University.
“With a dynamic research community, we’ve produced 17,500+ high-quality publications, and 24 faculty members rank among the world’s top 2% by Stanford University. Amrita aims to merge these streams into a powerful river, alleviating suffering, and nurturing life for humanity, in alignment with Amma’s vision of Education for Life rooted in love and compassion.”
Distinguished guests for ARISE included Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Secretary, Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Govt of India, and Dr Venu Govindaraju, Vice President of Research and Economic Development, University at Buffalo, State University of New York (SUNY).
“The depth of knowledge in science and technology, coupled with compassion, is essential. India has made significant progress, ranking globally in communication, startups, and publication excellence. The National Research Foundation will boost research funding tenfold, supporting innovation and translational research,” said Dr Akhilesh Gupta.
“Multidisciplinary collaboration aligns with the evolving National Education Policy. This initiative aims to bring industry into the research system, fostering international collaboration for societal gains. The vision is clear: work together to make India a global leader, and I commit to providing full support.”
Dr Venu Govindaraju also stressed the need to bridge disciplines to address global challenges: “The AI revolution challenges our definition of intelligence, urging us to harness this power responsibly. Let’s guide machines with ethical practices, amplifying human strengths for impactful tasks.
“The four days at ARISE 2024 are a crucible for inspired exchanges, innovation, and well-being. As we connect, dissect breakthroughs, and build camaraderie, let’s innovate not just for knowledge but for all lives.”
Other distinguished guests were Dr Upendra Kumar Singh, Director General – Life Sciences, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Govt of India; Dr. Shankar Venugopal, Vice President, Mahindra & Mahindra; Dr. Ranjith Krishna Pai, Scientist & Senior Director, CEST Division, Department of Science and Technology, Govt of India; and Dr. Anand Madanagopal, Founder & CEO, Cardiac Design Labs.
The symposium also showcased keynote speakers from various international universities, industry, governmental, and non-governmental organisations. This included Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA; University of Adelaide, Australia; Swansea University, UK; University of New South Wales, Australia; Washington College, USA; Durham University, UK; and IBM. As well, India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), India, participated.