University Innovation Fellows Program Partners with Google on India Initiative

By the UIF program team (Leticia, Humera, Katie and Laurie)

We are thrilled to share that the University Innovation Fellows program is partnering with Google on a new international initiative. Google India has committed to training 2 million mobile developers in India to meet the increasing pace of global technological innovation. At the Google University Summit in India, the University Innovation Fellows program was launched as one of the higher education efforts of this initiative.

The pace of technological innovation has been advancing at a historically unprecedented rate. In order for an economy to take advantage of this great potential, it needs to cultivate its citizens’ intellectual, technical and professional capacities. To support this substantial and game-changing economic impact, we must also cultivate and nurture the creative, innovative and entrepreneurial mindset of this emerging workforce.

To complement Google’s developer training initiative, our program’s goal as part of this initiative is to empower students in these countries as higher education change agents and equip them with the knowledge, skills and mindsets that will help them succeed in the workforce after graduation. Fellows in India will be tasked with creating educational opportunities to help their peers learn to be entrepreneurial, creative and innovative in addition to upskilling technical mobile development skills.

“Since we started this program in the U.S. in 2012, our campus partners have experienced significant benefits in collaborating with students to create lasting institutional change,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “We believe our partnership with Google will help us seed a similar innovation revolution in India.”

“By some estimates, India will overtake the United States in 2018 and become the largest developer population globally. But currently less than 25% of these developers are building for mobile, even though 65% of current internet users, and a majority of future internet users in India and other emerging markets around the world will access the internet only on their mobile phone,” said William Florance, Head of University Programs for Developer Training. “In addition to our faculty training efforts and recently announced Google Developers Codelabs, we are thrilled to help bring the University Innovation Fellows program to India. It is our belief the combination of these efforts can help prepare future mobile developers to become more creative and entrepreneurial in solving problems both locally and around the world.”

In early September, we accepted our first Indian cohort of 22 students from 10 schools. The UIF program team then visited India to better understand the challenges and opportunities in the higher education system there. We met with UIF candidates, their faculty sponsors, students and faculty at four school site visits. We were blown away by their passion and enthusiasm for this opportunity, and we’re excited to continue to collaborate with them. We accepted the second Indian cohort of 55 students from 14 schools in February 2017. This year, our India Fellows will visit the U.S. to attend the Silicon Valley Meetup, the program’s signature in-person event. We will continue to accept students from India with support from Google in our future application cycles.

In the next two years, we hope to reach more than 50 schools in India with the program. We are exploring new means of engagement including two upcoming events in Bangalore: a Regional Meetup for Fellows and their peers, and a Teaching and Learning Studio workshop for faculty and teaching staff.

“Cross-pollination and collaboration among students from different schools is at the core of our program’s success,” said UIF program co-director Leticia Britos Cavagnaro. “Thus, this initiative in partnership with Google will not only be a transformative opportunity for schools and students in India, but also for the schools and Fellows already participating in the program in the United States and beyond. It will be an unparalleled learning journey for all, and we are truly looking forward to making the most out of it.”

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