By Darren McDonald. Dr. Amandeep Sandhu has been named the University of the Fraser Valley’s new BC Regional Innovation Chair in Canada–India Business and Economic Development. He took up his post on July 1. This research chair is housed at the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at UFV. Sandhu will also be a faculty member in the UFV School of Business. He replaces DJ Sandhu, who previously served as chair.
The research chair’s mandate is to help local businesses capitalize on opportunities in India by providing market intelligence and advice.
The provincially funded Leading Edge Endowment Fund, which is managed by the BC Innovation Council, provided $1.25 million in support to fund this research chair, which was established in 2007. A further matching of $1.25 million was contributed by hundreds of individuals, companies, and organizations throughout the Fraser Valley and beyond.
“UFV welcomes Dr. Sandhu — we are very fortunate to have someone with such a strong academic and applied background appointed to the chair position,” said Dr. Adrienne Chan, AVP of Research at UFV.
Dr. Sandhu is also welcomed by the UFV Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies’ community advisory committee.
“It was with great pleasure that I learned of Amandeep Sandhu’s appointment as the Canada–India Innovation Chair. I believe he is fully suited for this position and will make an excellent team member. We wish Dr. Sandhu the best of luck as he advances in his role, and the committee looks forward to working with him,” said Ken Uppal, chair of the Indo-Canadian community advisory committee at the UFV Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies.
With a passion for community and its relationship with commerce, Sandhu brings four years of experience as an assistant professor in the department of sociology with Philadelphia’s Temple University, along with a lengthy academic resumé.
He holds a PhD (sociology with global studies emphasis) from the University of California (2008), and a BA from UBC (1999).
Before Temple University, Sandhu taught sociology at the University of California. A native of India, he moved to Canada at the age of 20, and now speaks four languages (Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, and English).
Research has taken Sandhu to India several times since 2006, helping him understand the interconnectivity of global flows of capital, infrastructure, information, and labour.
“Basically that is how the world works today,” he explains. “It combines economy and society.”
Implementing that knowledge will be of key importance in his new position, in which Sandhu expects to succeed thanks in part to UFV’s existing external relationships locally, provincially, and in India. He will also work closely with the community of scholars within UFV who have long-term and deeply rooted relationships with India.
“These are the relationships in this modern world that we need,” he explains.
Noting that UFV’s size was one of many benefits that attracted him to the position, Sandhu looks forward to growing the university’s partnerships here at home, and abroad.
“(UFV’s size) provides a much more healthy sense of what you’re doing and of your work. It provides for a more intimate setting,” he says.
“It provides for me to be on the ground doing research while continuing my work in India and throughout this community.
“It’s not just the beginning of something new; it’s building on what’s already here.”