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Walmart Global Tech, IIT Madras to partner on research, CSR activities

Walmart Global Tech, IIT Madras to partner on research, CSR activities
Photo Credit: Reuters
10 Mar, 2022
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Walmart Global Tech (WGT) is partnering with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras to undertake research projects and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects, among other activities. Announced earlier today, the partnership will involve IIT Madras’ Centre for Industrial Consultancy & Sponsored Research (IC&SR) – under which students at IIT Madras and employees of WGT will conduct research projects.

WGT said that it will also work with startups supported by the IIT Madras Incubation Cell, and collaborate with them in terms of industry exposure and access to technologies. The partnership will also involve employees of WGT getting access to both short- and long-term educational courses in the retail and ecommerce industries, in order to upskill themselves.

Mahesh Panchagnula, dean of alumni and corporate relations at IIT Madras, said, “WGT and IITM have many areas for collaborative growth such as sustainability, AI, and energy engineering. We are keen to grow this into an impactful partnership to benefit a broad cross-section of stakeholders including students and faculty members of IIT Madras.”

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Suresh Kumar, chief technology officer and chief development officer at Walmart Inc, added, “WGT develops and manages the foundational technologies on which our customer experiences around the world are built. We are a human-led, tech-empowered company, and our associates in India are critical to driving Walmart’s global businesses and leading the next retail disruption.”

In December 2021, the institute had announced that it is looking to expand the scope of its technology driven CSR partnerships. Upon the announcement, IIT Madras had announced that it had already raised over Rs 200 crore from over 140 corporate partnerships – similar to the latest one that it has struck with Walmart Global Tech.

The IC&SR department also hosts a regular array of sponsored research projects, which Walmart also looks to boost. According to IIT Madras’ data as of 31 March, 2021, the institute had over 800 active sponsored research projects through this hub, spanning across fields such as aerospace engineering, advanced automotive research, tech policy, electrical and electronics innovations, clean water research and so on.

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The IIT Madras Research Park, which will be the hosting division for projects funded by Walmart through the IC&SR, already has numerous existing corporate partnerships for undertaking research work. The list of companies presently engaged with IIT Madras through its Research Park – apart from Walmart Global – includes Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited’s research and development wing, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), US Department of Homeland Security-sponsored Cyber Security Works, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Renault-Nissan and others.