In a bid to popularise its .NET initiative, as well as to tap development resources, Microsoft is introducing its University Relations Program in India, with plans to include about 20 educational institutions in the program by 2003.
Microsoft has signed an agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kharagpur to set up a Microsoft-sponsored lab to run various courses and research projects on Microsoft Technologies. Microsoft is initially rolling out the program at six key educational institutions in India.
"We are planning to work with each of these universities on a set of research projects primarily at the graduate level and at the senior undergraduate level," said Somasegar Sivaramakichenane, vice president of the Windows Engineering Services Group at Microsoft. "Our current thinking on the projects range from using abstract state machines in teaching computability to building services under the .NET framework to routing algorithms for mobile networks and the like. The projects will span a complete spectrum of future technology trends with a focus on helping solve real problems."
Microsoft's India development center, which is already involved in some key technologies for Microsoft, will also participate in the university program, providing some research projects to the universities. Key product groups in Microsoft will also be involved, Somasegar said.
Microsoft plans to spend US$10 million over three years on the University Relations Program. Outside the U.S., Microsoft already has similar programs in China and Russia.
"We have a Microsoft Research Center in China, and the University Relations Program there grew out of the close relationship that our research center has with the universities in China," Somasegar said.
In India, Microsoft will be also be working with the universities selected under the program to design some undergraduate courses that are focused on the latest technology trends including .NET.