Australian minister Simon Birmingham on Tuesday awarded a three-year scholarship worth AU$1.1 million (Rs. 53,315,968.06) to 11 Indian students while leading a high-level delegation visit to the TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre (TDNBC) here.

The visit marked the celebration of the Indo-Australian academic and research alliance. The TERI Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre, the most advanced in the world, was inaugurated by the Indian and Australian Prime Ministers on Monday.

The scholarships are awarded to Ph.D students engaged in research programmes at the TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre. These students are currently enrolled at Deakin University under the Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI), which was launched in India in 2009. DIRI builds on Deakin University's world-leading expertise in material sciences, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

While addressing the gathering, Education and Training Minister Birmingham said: "The TERI Deakin Nanobiotechnology Centre facility is not incredible because we are commissioning bricks and mortar, it's incredible because of the brains, the students, the knowledge that is embedded within the facility, and the potential that they (students) are going to realise in so many different ways."

Under the program, each student is provided with a full tuition fee waiver from Deakin University up to an amount of approximately AU$100,000 for a period of three years. During the program, the students travel to Deakin University in Australia for a period of six to eight months during their Ph.D to work closely with their Deakin supervisor.

Elaborating on the scholarship programme, Vice Chancellor of Deakin University Jane den Hollander AO said, "The three-year scholarship programme is predominantly designed to equip the best of the talent with advanced research facilities. Under this programme, Deakin University and TERI will provide joint supervision to the students. TDNBC envisions meeting the demand for a global, skilled workforce in nanobiotechnology."

TERI Director General Ajay Mathur further added, "Within five years, the Centre aims to have a number of researchers, including Ph.D students, enrolled at Deakin. With its cutting edge technology at the disposal of these bright minds, this Centre will help India make a mark on the global map for building new capabilities and bringing new innovations in the field of science and technology."

Besides this, researcher's residences at TDNBC with an accommodation for 50 residents, was also inaugurated by the minister on Tuesday.