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RCUK India: Inspiring change

Research Councils UK (RCUK) India hosted 'Inspiring change: impact of the UK-India research partnership' today.


Research Councils UK (RCUK) India today hosted ‘Inspiring change: impact of the UK–India research partnership’, an event to demonstrate how the UK-India research collaboration has delivered impact.

By impact we mean contribution that excellent research and innovation makes to the societies and economies of both the UK and India.

RCUK India enables a strategic, sustainable research alliance between the UK and India, which is built on the principle of equal partnership. Researchers from both countries are addressing global priorities such as energy access, climate change and public health.

Today’s event brought together senior representatives from the UK and Indian science and innovation landscapes, including Professor Jane Elliott, RCUK’s International Lead and Chief Executive of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); Sir James Bevan KCMG, British High Commissioner to India; Professor VijayRaghavan , Secretary to India’s Department of Biotechnology and Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, to India’s Department of Science and Technology, along with researchers and senior policy makers from the UK and India.

Professor Jane Elliott, Chief Executive, ESRC said:

India and the UK have a long-established science and innovation relationship. We believe growth and prosperity is best achieved through international cooperation. India has a very strong and growing knowledge base, and is an important international partner for the UK.

This event shows how RCUK is committed to delivering impact by excellent research through the UK-India research programmes.

Dr Nafees Meah, Director RCUK India said:

Research and Innovation are increasingly developed and transferred through international co-operation. India is the most populous liberal democracy and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. RCUK India is here to develop the research and innovation partnership between the UK and India by fostering opportunities for research excellence.

RCUK India also released a short film featuring impact highlights from a range UK-India research programmes. The film complements the initiatives of the UK and Indian research communities and highlights the way in which RCUK India adds value to this collaboration.

RCUK India will continue to build on this successful UK-India research collaboration between the Research Councils UK and major Indian funding agencies in order to accelerate the uptake of research.

Film highlights include:

  • joining hands for better public health

A programme aimed at boosting public health and also gauges a deeper understanding of the attitudes, behaviours and lifestyles that help to determine diseases’ prevalence, their ability to spread and people’s capacity to cope with them. That applies just as much to diabetes, obesity, mental health issues and other non-communicable conditions as to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Involving partners are Jawaharlal Nehru University India, The Edinburgh University UK and Heidelberg University Germany, and this project is developing the social science aspects of public health from both a global and a national perspective.

  • smarter, cheaper solar cells

This project, led by Brunel University London and the National Physical Laboratory Delhi, has developed a new generation of solar cells that could meet all the major requirements: of efficiency and stability, eco-friendliness and cost-effectiveness. Importantly, these nano-structured cells offer low up-front manufacturing costs and could be well-positioned to seize a healthy share of the Indian PV market.

  • cool reactors

In a world where energy is so much needed, this research is helping both India and the UK to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, and their emissions of carbon dioxide, by designing and constructing reactors that extract heat safely and reliably, to make steam and cool the reactors ‘passively.’

This project led by The Imperial College London and Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai and addresses various aspects of being able to predict nuclear heat removal with confidence and safety.

  • energising villages

India and the UK have many rural energy challenges in common. Arguably, one of the most important is how to unleash the economic potential of rural communities by equipping them with a quality of energy supply comparable to that often taken for granted in urban areas. Renewable sources can meet many of the key criteria, directly tackling fuel poverty and generating local revenues, as well as stimulating new opportunities for rural industries to create jobs and cut their transport costs. Society, economy, and environment – all three stand to profit from the exploitation of energy solutions that are clean, sustainable, stable and above all affordable.

This project is led by Nottingham University UK and the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore, addresses the specific needs of rural communities.

  • understanding mother Ganges

Over the past half century, the north Indian plains have experienced land-use changes and associated increases in groundwater exploitation on a scale never previously seen. These dramatic developments have added to the difficulty of accurately measuring water resources there and predicting future availability – an issue vital to economic health and social well-being in the region. The multi-disciplinary team led by Imperial College, London and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is building a sophisticated new model for the Ganges basin – highly urbanised, intensively farmed and the most densely populated large river basin in the world. This is the first project to assess the effect of climate on water regimes as well as the effect of water availability and usage on the climate.

  • climate-change resistant rice

Rice is the staple food for over two billion people, but more rice is needed to feed a growing global population. A quarter of global rice production, rising to 45 per cent in India, is in rain-fed environments, so the challenge of producing more rice is further complicated by climate change, which is predicted to cause more drought and flooding in the future.

Researchers from the University of York, UK, Central Rice Research Institute, India and Cornell University, USA are working together to access valuable genetic information about variation in ancestral wild species of rice to try and identify beneficial segments of the genome that help plants survive drought.

Further information

Research Councils UK

Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s Research Councils. We invest annually around £3 billion in research. Our focus is on excellence with impact. We nurture the highest quality research, as judged by international peer review, providing the UK with a competitive advantage.

Global research requires that we sustain a diversity of funding approaches, fostering international collaborations, providing access to the best facilities and infrastructure, and locating skilled researchers in stimulating environments. Our research achieves impact – the demonstrable contribution to society and the economy made by knowledge and skilled people. To deliver impact, researchers and funders need to engage and collaborate with the public, business, government and charitable organisations.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)

  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)

  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

  • Medical Research Council (MRC)

  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

  • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Research Councils UK India

Launched in 2008, Research Councils UK (RCUK) India brings together the best researchers in the UK and India through high-quality, high-impact research partnerships. RCUK India, based at the British High Commission in New Delhi, has facilitated co-funded initiatives between the UK, India and third parties that have grown to over £150 million. These initiatives are often closely linked with UK and Indian industry partners, with more than 90 partners involved in the research. RCUK India is actively involved in co-funded research activities across a wide array of research themes addressing global challenges such as energy, climate change, social sciences, healthcare and life sciences, with major Indian research funders. These agencies are:

  • Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)

  • Department of Biotechnology (DBT)

  • Department of Science and Technology (DST)

  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

  • Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR)

  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

  • Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR)

  • Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES)

Please contact:

Geeny George Shaju
Communications Manager
RCUK India
Ph: 011-2419 2367

Mail to: Geeny George

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Published 21 May 2015