Development & Alumni Relations Office 

MEET DR SANDEEP SANCHETI – QUEEN’S GRADUATE, EMINENT ACADEMIC AND MARWADI UNIVERSITY's new VCDr Sandeep Sancheti seated behind desk with hands resting on open book

18 March 2021

A Queen’s PhD graduate, Dr Sandeep Sancheti, is the new Provost (Vice-Chancellor) at Marwadi University – a private university established in 2016 in Rajkot, in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

Marwadi University revealed the appointment of Dr Sancheti – who will play a key role in guiding the university as a leading centre of academic and research excellence in India – last week. He succeeds Dr Y P Kosta, who served as Vice-Chancellor for the past 5 years.

Making the announcement, Mr Ketan Marwadi – Founder & President, Marwadi University, and Mr Jitubhai Chandarana, Co-Founder & Vice-President, said:

“Dr Sancheti has phenomenal experience which makes him an organic fit for what we envision at Marwadi University. His leadership skills and experience will prove to be the biggest asset for the sole purpose of supporting educational reforms and the timely evolution of higher education in India.

“We look forward to creating an advanced educational ecosystem focusing on innovation and research with Dr Sancheti.”

An eminent academic with a proven track record at a number of top institutions in India, Dr Sancheti was previously Vice Chancellor at the Institute of Science and Technology (SRMIST) in Chennai, (formerly Sri Ramaswamy Memorial – SRM – University) for three years, before which he was appointed the 97th President of the Association of Indian Universities, based in New Delhi (2018/19). Formerly President of Manipal University, Jaipur from 2013 to 2018, he was Director of National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Delhi (2011-13), and Director National Institute of Technology Karnataka – NITK – in Surathkal (2006-11).

Currently an Executive Council Member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), Dr Sancheti holds an Engineer's Degree from NIT Warangal (1982), an MSc (Electrical Engineering) in Advanced Electronics from Delhi College of Engineering (1983), and a PhD in High Frequency Communications from Queen's (1995).

Commenting on his appointment, Dr Sancheti said:

“It gives me great pleasure to be a part of the exciting developments at Marwadi University. This is an amazing opportunity to work with an institution that shares a complementary vision of institution-building as me.

“The Indian higher education ecosystem is rapidly evolving and the ongoing pandemic has only necessitated a fundamental shift in how we groom the future talent.”

He is the recipient of numerous scholarships and fellowships, including the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship by the ACU, the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) Fellowship, by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, and the UKISTRF award by the British Council.

Reflections on his time at Queen's

As he sets out on the latest leg of his personal educational journey, Dr Sancheti has been reflecting on his time in Belfast, on what brought him to the University and the importance of his Queen's qualification, though he starts with his first experience of the Northern Ireland weather. 

"Thanks for reminding me about a wet and showery Belfast, though I must admit I loved it that way. During my first walk into Belfast city centre in September 1992 my shoes let in half way there, and my umbrella fell apart in the first blow of wind! 

So why did he decide to come to Belfast?   

"My decision to study at Queen's was on the basis of an offer from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission and British Council," said Dr Sancheti, adding: "As well as on some strong connections I had with a number of the alumni of the University in distinguished positions in their respective fields in India."

In a career spanning more than three and a half decades Dr Sancheti has worked across all key areas of higher education – teaching, research, and academic administration – at several state and private universities in India. He has held influential positions at NIT Tiruchirappalli, NIT Calicut, the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, and as Mentor Director in NIT Goa, NIT Puducherry, and NIT Sikkim. In addition, he was a member of Visiting Faculty at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Bangkok, Thailand.

What does Dr Sancheti recall of his time in Northern Ireland nearly 30 years ago and almost 4,500 miles from his home in India?

"What I remember most are the friendly people of Belfast and Northern Ireland. Right from day one, I felt as if I was in my home as all my colleagues, neighbours and fellow students helped me extensively in settling down in a new environment.

"I made a lot of local friends there who taught me so much about the people and places and the culture, history and traditions, of Ireland North and South. There was never a single dull day while I was in Belfast for those three years!"

And from a career point of view, did studying at Queen's make a difference for Dr Sancheti? 

"For a person to work in academia or research, one's doctorate is the most important qualification. My PhD at Queen's, which gave me a very high degree of freedom, opened up the real world to me and taught me great lessons in the areas of research and development.

"More importantly however, Queen's gave me a real sense of self-belief that was probably lacking before I joined the University."

Now a Life Fellow of the Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE), the Institution of Engineers (India), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the Broadcast Engineering Society (India) and a Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) USA, Dr Sancheti has contributed more than 85 research papers in journals and at international conferences. He is a member of the National Higher Education Committee of FICCI, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and of the Southern Region Committee of the Confederation of Indian Industry, CII.

Known for his excellent reasoning and critical thinking skills, Dr Sancheti has headed a number of important central government institutions in India, has spoken at the Parliamentary Standing Committee on education matters and has addressed members of the Parliament of India on issues of job opportunities and higher education. He has also been part of Indian Higher Education delegations abroad to countries like the US, China, Ireland, Malaysia and Taiwan. 

Connections with fellow academics around the world - including many former colleagues at Queen's - will certainly stand Dr Sancheti in good stead in his new role. When he last visited Belfast in 2017 he took the opportunity to meet with old friends and acquaintances.

"I have maintained links with several of my former classmates and with staff members, mainly from the Electrical and Electronic Engineering department. I also met some of the University faculty and admission teams when they visited India in recent past. And I am always very happy to promote Queen’s to my friends and contacts, to encourage them to include Belfast when they are considering their choices for higher education studies. Indeed, some of them are currently studying there!"

Education roles

Dr Sancheti is actively involved in policy making, holding a number of advisory roles, and is a Member of Court and Council of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. He has contributed as a Member of the Microsoft India Academic Advisory Board, and as a Member of the Kakodkar Committee for Review of NITs. He is also a Member (Visitor’s Nominee) of the Distance Education Council (DEC), and of several other committees, planning boards, and professional bodies, including the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).  

He also sits on the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India, a statutory body set up by the Indian Government charged with the coordination, determination and maintenance of standards in higher education.

A keen squash player, Dr Sancheti is also an active member of Rotary International and enjoys playing bridge.

Find out more about Queen’s links with India by visiting the University’s Global Engagement web page and read how scientists from Queen’s met recently (virtually), with a number of partner universities in India to address some of society’s biggest health challenges.

For enquiries about this story, or to submit graduate news items, please contact Gerry Power, Communications Officer, Development and Alumni Relations Office, Queen's University Belfast.

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