Case study

Multi-million UK-India industrial R&D programme

A series of visits and workshops over the course of two years lead to announcement of a multi-million UK-India industrial R&D programme.


The announcement of a multi-million UK-India industrial R&D programme is expected to lead to development of joint IP (intellectual property), access to market and new products.

Over the course of 2 years, SIN facilitated a partnership between the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and India’s Department for Science & Technology (DST), right from the initial scoping work to the final stages of agreement, that led to the announcement of multi-million pound programme of co-operation on commercialisation of research between UK and India. The UK-India Collaborative Industrial R&D Programme aims to support business led collaborative R&D projects between Indian and UK companies.

Julie Soutter, Head, Operations, TSB said:

The visit was a great success and was expertly arranged and co-ordinated on our behalf by UK Science and Innovation Network India. The team were very welcoming and ensured that all aspects ran smoothly. Their insight was particularly helpful to me as first time visitor.

David Golding, Head, Strategy, TSB said:

The technology strategy board is very pleased to be working with the S&IN team in India. This is a very important and exciting opportunity. Combining the best of Indian and UK expertise and capabilities has the potential to lead to some truly innovative developments, to the benefit of both countries.

The UK Science and Innovation Network(SIN) sponsored the first visit of Mr Iain Gray, CEO of Technology Strategy Board (TSB), and UK to India in 2011 as part of a Global Partnership Fund (GPF) project. He came as a part of the ministerial delegation and left with thoughts on how the TSB could engage with the growing Indian market. In 2012 David Golding, who heads up the international strategy, at the TSB came to India on a follow-up visit and UK S&IN introduced him to key stakeholders and funders on the Indian side. As an outcome of his visit, SIN co-sponsored RiffStream events, a new approach to forge partnerships designed by Accelerator India (AI), using GPF projects in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. They worked with AI and other partners, such as the UK Knowledge Transfer Networks and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to deliver events which focused on areas such as cleantech and affordable healthcare and brought Indian and British companies together to explore joint research.

The SIN team in India then met the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA) to scope out the possibility of a joint UK-India R&D call. SIN also organised several telecons with the UK and Indian stakeholders to develop our joint thinking in the area. This led to the TSB working with DST and GITA to design their programme in India.

During the UK-India prime minsters’ summit in February 2013, the TSB and DST discussed a joint programme to support research collaboration between UK and Indian businesses. SIN subsequently sponsored the visit of GITA CEO and facilitated DST senior staff members to visit Innovate 2013 in November of that year, where the programme of cooperation was signed by Iain Gray and Harkesh Mittal, Secretary, Technology Development Board (TDB) to set the idea in motion. The signing took place at the Innovate UK conference, in the presence of Rt Hon Minister David Willetts, then UK Minister for Universities and Science.

During this period, SIN also delivered the RiffStream events. These workshops helped shape the big picture and prioritised the focus areas for the first call for proposals. As it was TSB’s first international programme outside Europe, SIN played an important role to ensure that the momentum was maintained on both sides and discussions made good progress. SIN organised regular teleconferences between both GITA and TSB to discuss the scope of the call, eligibility and relevant paperwork. In July 2013, SIN facilitated the TSB’s next visit to India which was led by David Golding and Julie Soutter, Head of Operations. This visit was crucial to building trust and confidence between both the funders.

The final ‘seal the deal’ took place at the GITA platform event in November 2013 where Sir Mark Walport, Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK government and Dr Arabinda Mitra, Head - International, DST launched the call for proposals under the TSB-DST joint Industrial R&D programme. These covered affordable medical devices and clean energy technologies. Working with UKTI and the GREAT team, SIN brought together a delegation of UK companies to the launch event and also organised a UK innovation showcase in the margins of the visit. Following the announcement, SIN promoted the programme through its website, newsletter and blogs.

The winners of the first call announced in August 2014 at an event organised by SIN were:

Published 1 December 2014