Univerzita Tomáše Bati ve Zlíně

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Delegation from India and Possibilities of Cooperation with TBU in Footwear Research

The Indian delegation, led by Mr. Abhijit Chakraborty, the representative of the Embassy of India in the Czech Republic, and Mr. Pankaj Kumar Sinha, the Managing Director of the Indian Footwear Design and Development Institute (FDDI), visited Zlín from June 9 to 13 June 2024.

The delegation held meetings with the university management, including Rector Prof. Milan Adámek, Vice-Rector for Internationalization Prof. Marek Kubalčík, and Vice-Rector for Creative Activities Prof. Petr Humpolíček. Additionally, the delegation was received by the Governor of the Zlín Region, Radim Holiš, and subsequently by the Mayor of the Statutory City of Zlín, Jiří Korec.

The Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry is very interested in collaborating with TBU in the field of new directions in footwear research, as well as in the training of experts for the development of new footwear materials and technologies. One of the important proposals from the Indian partners is the creation of a joint footwear doctoral programme, which could be partly implemented in India and partly in Zlín. This would give Tomas Bata’s legacy in Zlín a new dimension and provide a fresh stimulus for the revival of the shoe industry in the European Union (EU).

The perception of footwear is changing significantly. Traditionally, shoes were primarily seen as providing foot protection and meeting fashionable design preferences. However, contemporary footwear research also emphasizes the importance of health considerations alongside other criteria, including fashion design. “Poorly designed footwear can gradually impact our health from childhood to adulthood. It is not uncommon for individuals to experience movement issues and back pain in middle age due to long-term wearing of unsuitable shoes. Therefore, research centres such as the Footwear Research Centre (FRC) in Zlín, are intensively focusing on addressing this issue,” explains Dr. Tomáš Sáha, director of FRC.

A technical meeting on research cooperation and the degree programme was held at the Footwear Research Centre. The Centre will continue to cooperate with the Indian institution. Dr. Tomáš Sáha, the Director of FRC, mentioned that the collaboration will focus on new trends in healthy and functional footwear. Other interesting suggested topics include projects related to recycling of footwear waste, the use of natural materials for vegan leather, the development of medical footwear, and carbonization of chromium-treated waste.

During his presentation, Mr. Pankaj Kumar Sinha, the managing director of FDDI, shared photo documentation of the visits of Thomas J. Bata and Sonja Bata to the Footwear Design and Development Institute in Noida. “Tomas Bata is extremely popular in India. The vast majority of Indians believe that Tomas Bata was of Indian origin,” concluded Mr. Sinha with a smile.

The Indian Footwear Design and Development Institute has 12 educational and research campuses located in various states of India. A total of 12,000 students studies here in Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral programmes focused on various aspects of footwear. The institute is organizationally under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India.

As part of their schedule, the delegation visited the Technology Innovation Centre, the Museum of Shoemaking, and the Tomas Bata Villa.

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