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Link the Top: Retaining the best talent in aerospace industry

Almost everyone, as a kid, has always been fascinated with sky and flying. But somewhere in between, that dream is forgotten and busy lives take over. However, even those who choose to pursue aerospace engineering as a career are eventually attracted by more lucrative opportunities in the other areas. In an attempt to reverse this trend, Airbus has joined hands with the best aerospace engineering schools across the globe, and started a novel initiative, aptly named 'Link the Top.'

“Link the Top will help in the vision to retain the top where they really belong: top of the skies!” exclaims Professor Dineshkumar Harursampath, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.  The worldwide event kicked off in Bengaluru recently, with students participating from ISAE SUPAERO, France, National University of Singapore (NUS), and of course the inaugural host institution, IISc.  Prof. Harursampath coordinated the event along with Mr. Praveen Kumar Voona of Airbus India, Prof. S. Mohan of IISc & Prof. C. J. Teo of NUS.

The seed idea for  'Link the Top' occurred to Mr. Praveen Kumar Voona when he observed that a student team MultiFun, guided by Prof. Harursampath, based out of multiple universities was able to win the biennial Airbus-UNESCO Fly Your Ideas, followed by several other competitions. MultiFun & Airbus foresaw the potential that could arise by expanding the level of the existing Airbus-led collaboration between managements of different universities to the level of their students as well. The ultimate goal is to bring together almost every top aerospace university throughout the world, under this umbrella.

MultiFun is an eclectic team of young Indian aerospace engineering students spread across different universities in the world.  The team mentored by Professor DineshKumar Harursampath, became the world champion amongst 500 teams from 100 countries in the 'Fly Your Ideas,' a contest conducted by Airbus & UNESCO in 2015.

During the kick off event, the participants also got a chance to see the state of the art research facilities at IISc. Many professors and students, led by Prof. S. Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Prof. Rudra Pratap, Chairman, CeNSE took turns to describe lab facilities and associated research. Prof. Gurumurthy, Chief Executive, Society for Innovation and Development described the entrepreneurial capabilities and infrastructure at IISc. Prof. KPJ Reddy enthralled the students with a successful series of recent case studies in aerospace-rooted entrepreneurship and their spinoffs to many seemingly unrelated fields. The entrepreneurial talks were aimed at encouraging students to create job opportunities in the aerospace sector not only for themselves but also many others. Another highlight was a visit to Airbus Helicopters training facility to explore realistic flight simulators.

The second edition of Link the Top took the students to Singapore. It included an aerospace innovation competition between teams, each comprising of students of both genders, different nationalities and with different levels of education. The participants also had a chance to visit the recently concluded Singapore Air Show on a 'Business Professionals Only' day, which allowed them to understand the business side of things.

Prof. Harursampath, who was requested by students from India, France and Singapore to be their advisor, believes that 'Link the Top' will be successful in retaining the best talent in the aerospace industry.  '“I'm sure "Link the Top" is here to stay and will continue to be mutually beneficial to all involved, especially the students. It has already broadened not only the technical but also the cultural horizons of students through their formal and informal interactions. It was a microcosmic flavor of the nature of international operations of innovative corporations like the Airbus Group,” he says.

Contact: Professor DineshKumar Harursampath at +91-80-2293-3032