UK and India seeking cooperation on science and technology

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The plans were unveiled in the southern Indian cities of Bangalore and Chennai today. Prime Minister David Cameron is leading a major delegation…

The plans were unveiled in the southern Indian cities of Bangalore and Chennai today.

Prime Minister David Cameron is leading a major delegation to India of UK Government ministers, including Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable and Universities and Science Minister David Willetts. The delegation also includes businesspeople, academics and cultural figures.

In a keynote speech in Bangalore at Infosys, India’s largest IT company, the Prime Minister discussed cooperation on science and technology. He said:

  • UK and India research funders have committed up to £60 million worth of jointly-funded research into climate change, water and food security and disease prevention.

  • British and Indian scientists will collaborate on £2 million worth of research that will help nuclear power stations to be safer, more efficient and produce less waste.

  • And the Wellcome Trust has announced £45 million of research with the Indian Department of Biotechnology on affordable healthcare.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that there were other projects that he would discuss with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tomorrow:

  • Extending the successful UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).

  • Encouraging the twinning of the UK’s top universities with the fourteen new Innovation universities India plans to create.

  • A new Chevening Rolls-Royce Science and Innovation Scholarship.

Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable was with the Prime Minister in Bangalore, where Dr. Cable also visited the Narayana Health City, one of the largest medical facilities in the world. Bangalore, with its population of over six million, is ranked by the UN as one of the top four technology hubs of the world.

Dr. Cable said:

“Science and technology have the capacity to transform lives for the better in both India and the UK. That’s why I’m delighted that the UK and India are working together at the very top end of the technology spectrum. We can both benefit from sharing knowledge and together we have ambitious plans. These agreements will help to make them a reality.”

In a speech today, Dr. Cable announced:

  • an Enabling Innovation programme. This is a three-year programme of activities designed to deliver an increase in bilateral trade and investment between the UK and Indian ICT industries.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts visited the IIT Madras Research Park in Chennai. He announced:

  • A New ‘One Stop Shop’ to improve the coordination and ease of access of services to British businesses and institutions seeking international opportunities in the education and skills sector. India will be a priority country for the ‘One Stop Shop’, drawing on the best of UK expertise across the UK Trade and Investment and the British Council in conjunction with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), where relevant.

Minister Willetts said

“The UK and India are each others’ partners of choice in collaboration in education and science. There are huge opportunities for both countries. India is on the brink of an education revolution and a massive expansion of education services at all levels.

“UK education institutions are uniquely well placed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by this challenge and to work in partnership. The UK is already the most active country in India in the sheer number of higher education partnerships, with over 80 collaborations already in place. This package represents a step-change in that relationship.”

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