British Minister in Chennai this week to speak at IIT Madras

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British Minister for Universities and Science, Rt Hon. David Willetts MP, delivers a speech at IIT Madras today entitled: “Partnerships in Higher Education, Science and Research”.

British Minister for Universities and Science, Rt Hon. David Willetts MP, delivers a speech at IIT Madras today entitled: “Partnerships in Higher Education, Science and Research”.

In Chennai, as part of his first visit to India, David Willetts will visit IIT Madras where he will meet Prof. M S Ananth, Director, IIT Madras and his senior colleagues to better understand the latest developments and trends in education, science and research in India. At IIT’s new Research Park, Mr. Willetts will not only give his first speech in India but will also launch a new book called “Knowledge First” (PDF, 10.2 MB, Opens in new window). The book is a compilation of the latest collaboration projects between India and the UK in the field of science, technology and research, and is the second in a series with the first edition looking at education partnerships and projects. Mr. Willetts will then go on to participate in a Round-Table discussion entitled “Meeting of Unlike Minds: A Route to Innovation in a Global Economy”. This debate will raise many issues of how you can bring the world of academia together with that of industry.

In Chennai, Mr. Willetts is accompanied by a very high level delegation that comprises of the President of Universities UK and Vice Chancellor of Exeter University, the Vice Chancellor of the Open University and the Rector of Imperial College, UK.

On the visit Mr. Mike Nithavrianakis, British Deputy High Commissioner in Southern India said: “I am delighted that Minister Willetts is here with us today, and that he chose Chennai as his first port of call on his visit first to India. I am equally delighted that he has visited IIT Madras, a global centre of excellence for engineering education and research. Numerous UK institutions and companies such as Imperial College, BT, University of Ulster, Robert Gordon University, and the University of Sussex have links with IIT Madras and we hope that those links continue to grow.”

The Minister said, “I’m thrilled to be on my first trip to India - and particularly to be discussing ways to strengthen relationships between our two countries with regards to science, research and higher education. Our desire for an enhanced partnership with India was spelled out in the Queen’s Speech. We recognise that India is an emerging scientific superpower whose investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP is set to double. Going forwards, our jointly funded and jointly administered research programmes will concentrate on priority areas for both countries - food security, water resources and sustainable energy. But it is also to the specifics of the India UK university partnerships that I want to turn, because tomorrow I will discuss with Minister Sibal how we might build on the success of the UK India Education Initiative, better known as UKIERI. I am confident that we will be able to develop a new programme which will cover a range of work across higher education and skills, and will bring more UK students to India.”

In Delhi on Thursday 29 July Mr. Willetts has further meetings with his Ministerial counterparts in India on the theme of education, science and research.