New programme partnership between Leicester and Apollo the first step in transforming global healthcare

From left: Vishnu Vankayala, Associate Head of International Recruitment, University of Leicester; Professor Kerry Law, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Professional Services), University of Leicester; Professor Henrietta O’ Connor, Provost & Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Leicester; Dr Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor, The Apollo University; Professor M Potharaju, Registrar, The Apollo University; Naresh Kumar Reddy, Chief Operating Officer, The Apollo University; Prathap Chandran, Senior Manager, Apollo Knowledge.

A new programme partnership delivered by the University of Leicester and The Apollo University (TAU), part of the Apollo Hospitals Group, is the first official step to strengthen links with India and explore how collaborative education and research programmes can transform global healthcare.

The computer science undergraduate degree programme will see students begin their studies with two years at TAU in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, India, with the opportunity to progress to their final year and graduation at the University of Leicester.

After successful completion of their studies at Chittoor, students can choose from computer science degrees in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science or Software Engineering at Leicester. The articulation pathway also offers students on the programme the option to pursue a one-year master’s degree in their chosen computing discipline.

The announcement comes after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed last year between the University of Leicester and the Apollo Hospitals Group, one of the world’s largest integrated healthcare service providers.

The MOU sets out a vision for collaboration in the fields of healthcare management, healthcare and data science, using cutting edge research and enabling education opportunities to harness the power of artificial intelligence, tackle global healthcare challenges and skills shortages in both the UK and India.

Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Henrietta O’Connor, said: “We are delighted to announce this first official step in our partnership with the Apollo Hospitals Group which reiterates our shared vision around using the power of education and research to bring real-world changes, particularly in the areas of healthcare and data science.

“We were recently awarded the highest possible rating of overall Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework for the experience and outcomes we deliver for students and this accolade, alongside our top 30 result in analysis of the Research Excellence Framework, shows the University of Leicester is a world-leading research-intensive University with the power to create graduates and staff members who drive world change. It is very exciting to harness this power through our alliance with Apollo and a global degree programme that could transform the healthcare of the future.”

Professor Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor, The Apollo University, said, "I am thrilled to witness the dawn of a transformative era in global healthcare through this strategic partnership. I view this alliance as a unique opportunity to redefine the landscape of higher education. “Being at the forefront of healthcare transformation, my vision for this partnership goes beyond academic boundaries. It is about creating pathways for students that transcend geographical constraints, allowing them to absorb the best of both institutions.”

Professor Leena Sodha, Head of School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Leicester, said: “Focused on engaging students in cross-cultural exchange, the partnership with Apollo delivers an enriched academic experience, empowering and equipping students with not only the technical knowledge, but also the skills and insights needed to tackle the challenges of today.

“Student experience is at the core of all that we do here in Leicester. Those on the course will have opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects that address real-world challenges, contributing to advancements in technology, data science and artificial intelligence. These experiences will not only enhance students’ technical skills but also focus on developing critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and an innovative mindset – all sought after qualities.

“Working with the University’s Careers & Employability team, this partnership will also provide students with access to a diverse and global network of alumni, our industry contacts, and professionals. We look forward to welcoming students and taking our partnership from strength to strength."

A summer school designed to provide academic, vocational, and cultural preparation for TAU University students progressing to the University of Leicester, is included in the programme and will provide training in key study skills required for academic success in the UK and familiarisation with the local academic and cultural environment. The summer school will also support in equipping students with vital transferable skills to secure global employment opportunities.

Professor Roy Crole is the academic lead for Leicester and has worked on the design of the curriculum for both the Apollo and Leicester elements of the programme, as well as the framework for the summer school.

He said: “It has been a pleasure to lead on the curriculum design of our 2+1 degrees in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science and Software Engineering. My role has been to work with the Apollo academic teams, to create a module structure for the first two years at Apollo University Chittoor, mapping onto our computing modules at Leicester, and to design a new curriculum for the final year of study at Leicester. The University of Leicester prides itself in giving an excellent student experience, and comprehensive student support. I have also developed a framework for Apollo student support, including a summer school, for use in Computing and across the wider University.”

As well as securing overall gold for its student experience and outcomes in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the University of Leicester has a pedigree in health research and education, ranking 2nd to Cambridge and joint with UCL, for research in Clinical Medicine, based on analysis of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 undertaken by the Times Higher Education.

As one of only 20 institutions in the UK, the University of Leicester Biomedical Research Centre was awarded £26 million of funding by the National Institute for Health and Care Research. The Biomedical Research Centre will drive clinical research from the laboratory to the patient's bedside in the areas of; cardiovascular disease; respiratory and infectious diseases; lifestyle and physical activity; personalised cancer prevention and treatments; environment and health; and data innovations in multiple long term health conditions and ethnic health.

Another of the University’s flagship projects is a £10 million initiative led by Professor Kamlesh Kunti which will see the University work with the UK, Indian and Nepalese governments to improve the health outcomes of those with multimorbidity, as well as create a self-sustaining international centre for improving management of multiple long-term conditions and disseminate outputs globally.

The City of Leicester also has strong links with India with one of Britain’s highest proportions of South Asians, a vast majority of them of Indian heritage, who make up 22 per cent of the overall population.

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