Poor air quality is a chronic and persistent problem in India. Recently, air quality in New Delhi reached levels so dangerous that schools closed, flights were canceled and a public health emergency was declared. 

But thanks to a partnership between the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), there may be reason for optimism.

The two powerhouse research institutions have opened the Aerosol and Air Quality Research Shared Facility in Mumbai and launched a new, joint master’s degree program in engineering. It is the only aerosol science program in engineering offered in India.

The goal of the collaboration is to use state-of-the-art facilities and scientific expertise to advance the understanding of poor air quality in India and to educate a new generation of scientists trained to address the issue.

In Oct. 2019, Washington University Chancellor Andrew Martin and Subhasis Chaudhuri, director of IITB, signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize the collaboration. After the first five years, industry, government, and other funding sources will help sustain and grow the program.

The partnership is the latest in a long history of collaboration between the universities. IIT Bombay is a key partner in Washington University’s Global Aerosol Network, part of the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership.