Rice, Mehta Family Foundation establish engineering scholars program

Mehta Rice Engineering Scholars Program facilitates exchange for Indian students, research collaborations.

Rahul Mehta and Luah Nakhleh holding a certificate

Rice University and the Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta Family Foundation have established a partnership to drive scholarship and engagement between the George R. Brown School of Engineering and universities in India.

The Mehta Rice Engineering Scholars Program facilitates an academic exchange program for Indian students and research collaborations among students and faculty.

“The Mehta Family Foundation and Rice Engineering have a long and mutually beneficial relationship, forming lasting ties with India and its universities. With this program we hope to further the partnership and make it stronger by enabling Indian students to study in world-class labs with world-class researchers at Rice,” said Rahul Mehta, founder and CEO of the Mehta Family Foundation.

Reginald DesRoches, Rahul Mehta and Amy Dittmar standing side by side looking at camera
President Reginald DesRoches, left; Rahul Mehta, founder and CEO of the Mehta Family Foundation; and Provost Amy Dittmar

In 2020, with the assistance of the Mehta Family Foundation, Rice and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) partnered to share resources and collaborate in research in energy, materials, and sustainable technologies. Rice became the first American university to have a physical presence in India.

Under the new scholarship program, Indian students will study at Rice for three to six months. The research areas will be advanced materials, quantum science, energy and sustainability, data sciences/AI, and biological sciences.

“The goal is to foster research relationships between our faculty and faculty in Indian institutions through visiting students. We would like the students from India to get to know Rice and the outstanding research taking place in our school. Some might consider joining our Ph.D. programs and/or be co-advised by our faculty members,” said Luay Nakhleh, William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering.

Caroline Levander, Rice vice president for global and digital strategy, echoed Nakhleh’s remarks:

“The Mehta Scholars program is an important step forward in Rice’s larger effort to create meaningful partnerships with key Indian educational institutions. It will allow us to strengthen existing collaborations with such universities as the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and the Indian Institute of Science, and will help us to explore new relationships.”

“We are grateful to Mehta for his generous support in creating this program. I want to make sure the program is successful, so it is only the start of our process for building stronger partnerships with India and expanding our reach and reputation there,” Nakhleh said.

At Rice, the program will be managed by the school of engineering and the Office of Global and Digital Strategy. The student selection committee members will be Pulickel Ajayan, Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor of Engineering and chair of materials science and nanoengineering; Aditya Mohite, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and of MSNE; Chris Jermaine, J.S. Abercrombie Professor of Engineering and chair of computer science.

Mehta, Levander and Nakhleh will serve as advisers to the committee.

The Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta Family Foundation, based in Houston, was established to honor their parents, Bhupat and Jyoti Mehta, of Mumbai by Nisha, Rahul, Jainesh and his wife Mamta, and Dharmesh and his wife Archana.