Spilling the Pearls of Wisdom
SeedingSTEM founded with an aim to fill the information deficit in the educational sector has grown significantly. With 35 International chapters across Europe, the Middle East, US, Australia and Asia, it has garnered support from the who’s who of academics and educational institutions. Dr. Shah Kamranur Rahman, LSHTM, London. Founder, SeedingSTEM shares the journey of the institution from inception to way forward.
What was the idea behind the inception of SeedingSTEM?
In 2009, when we were searching for PhD fellowships, postdoc and other academic positions available in a particular country in a specific subject. Internet and personal laptops were a luxury. Ten years down the line when internet is available at fingertips, the information deficit almost stands at the same level it was then.
The desire to bring this information gap to a closure is what led to the formation of a platform that can connect experts with students who desire to seek admissions and admission processes in a particular subject of interest. Besides, admissions, our platform also provides frequent technology transfer to developing countries through a series of small meetings and big summits in world’s leading university campuses. We are thankful to Crowdteck CSR Digital magazine for joining us as media partner for the UK ASIA Summit -2019 held in the reputed Cambridge University. We are also thankful to Science Eventz for providing logistics support to our delegates.
How has the organization grown since inception?
It is a growing process. We have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with scholars from top international universities, experts from universities, institutes of excellence like Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), University of Cambridge, King’s College London, . Till date we have 35 established international chapters and members in approximately 1000 university campuses globally, who will be inducted gradually so that the network is sustainable. The biggest tie-ups for SeedingSTEM is undoubtedly the SeedingSTEM’s UK ASIA SUMMIT, in collaboration with Science Eventz. It has pulled more than 100 participating groups including scientists, academicians, entrepreneurs, and other dignitaries who have made significant contribution in the education field.
The theme for the UK Asia Summit was strengthening the education sector and technology transfer from the developed world to the developing world. We managed to establish strong ties between Aligarh Muslim University, India and Cambridge University during our summit.
What have been the major challenges, highlights and learnings for the institution so far?
The major challenge for any organization at early stage is learning, reading the market and gaining experiences, besides building a strong foundation. Another challenge is to minimise internal conflicts among key members, which can lead to the collapse of big organization often. We also learned that for expansion it is always important to collaborate with an institution that matches your goals and interests. Quite often, the bigger organisations do not take you seriously. Nevertheless, now since we are fairly established, we have started dealing with big universities and are committed to meet the aspiration of huge universities such as Aligarh Muslim University with around 30,000 students.
From the student-mentorship point of view, the biggest learning has been that the students do not necessarily have all the problems we believe they have. It was a good experience to go into the field and ask students and academicians, alike, on what are the biggest hurdles they should cross to advance in career.
Please share the reach of the institution.
The initiative is in its initial phase and has already garnered huge attention from some world-class universities such as IITs, etc. who have shown their interest in signing MoUs with us for availing our services. With 35 International chapters across Europe, the Middle East, US, Australia and Asia, SeedingSTEM has made its presence felt through its team and volunteers.
Please highlight the impact created by the organization in the areas of its operations.
SeedingSTEM started its first set of operations through global summits. We have launched one of the biggest summits in UK this year. We have propagated our message very clearly, which has led organizations around us realise our sincerity, potential and vision after the summit concluded successfully late June this year. The summit garnered support from world leader and philanthropist Mr. Frank Islam, the Super 30 fame mathematician Anand Kumar, world-renowned virologists Prof. Polly Roy OBE, Debbie Driesman (Ex. Computer scientist, NASA), Prof. Klaus Okkenhaug (Immunologist, Cambridge University) and none other than Prof. John Trowsdale of Cambridge University. These high-profile dignitaries’ delivered their thoughts and ideas which kept the fire alive throughout the day.
We also saw the delegates participation from world-class institutions at our event. We would also like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the Indian High Commission, London for sending diplomat Mr Rohan Samanta, First Secretary (Political) to our summit for his talk on ‘Indian diaspora and The Indian High Commission’. The Indian High Commission, London also hosted our international delegates for dinner after meeting them. Senior diplomat Mr. A. S. Rajan, The Minister of coordination, Mr. Rashid Khan, Consular and Dr. Abhishek Sharma, IFS Second Secretary (Political, International Organizations & Education) moderated the meeting of the delegates coming for the UK ASIA Summit – 2019.
How have the modules / chapters of the institution been revised over the years since its inception?
The international chapters introduce the purpose and vision of SeedingSTEM that help experts gauge the importance our platform will provide the student community. Since inception, we have managed to revise and update our vision from counseling domain to providing edutainment videos on science and research. In the coming years we envision building a bigger canvas that can cater to the individual and institutional needs in education and other fields.
Please elaborate on your tie ups with the leading universities of the world? How do you revisit the tie ups and forge new alliances?
We have academicians from world’s leading universities who have committed to work for the non-commercial activities of SeedingSTEM. They also help in the transfer of knowledge, skills and technology from the developed nation to the developing world. We have a mix of young scholars with innovative ideas and senior professors with significant experience and network. This is indicative from the list of speakers that were present at the UK Asia Summit. Most of the members who have known us and our work have joined us in our journey.
Please share your future plans
We are keen on hosting more such brain-storming and knowledge-exchange platform. Our objective is to push multiple collaborations through these summits, between UK and Asia academia such as the AMU- Cambridge University tie-up. We are excited for the upcoming launch of our product which is an online platform for knowledge-exchange among peers. This will take another 4-6 months to have our MVP ready, meanwhile we are moving ahead with the networking and studying market needs that will be eventually added to the MVP. Dr. Shabir Hasan, MIT-Harvard, would be steering this platform. We are also aiming to broaden the horizon of Science Eventz UK and are in talks with investors to expedite the execution of entire process of hosting wide range of meetings, seminars and conferences on science, business, economy, and environment across the world. Science Eventz under the leadership of vaccine revolutionizer Dr. Mumtaz Naiyer, played crucial role in hosting UK-ASIA Summit and aspire to deliver the same in future. The entire team is now working towards UK-ASIA summit 2020 and we look forward to host world leaders with outstanding accolades, including but not limited to damehoods/knighthoods for instance.
About Shah Kamranur Rahman, Ph.D. Founder, SeedingSTEM
Dr. Shah Kamranur Rahman completed his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Biotechnology subjects from Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, India. After serving at the United Nations’ (UN) research institute in New Delhi for a couple of years he then moved to London for his PhD from King’s College London on a highly competitive fellowship as King’s International Fellow. Here, he applied cutting-edge biophysical methods to answer biological questions related to intellectual disorders in human brains. He is now a Post-doctoral scientist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), applying biophysical methods to understand how viruses manage to infect human bodies, after dodging host systems.