The UK’s Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, met with Indian Science Minister, Prithviraj Chavan, on 29 July to discuss the central role that science and research will play in the enhanced partnership between the two countries.
The Ministers reviewed a number of existing collaborations and agreed that the two countries’ researchers would work more closely together in the future. They highlighted the important role that collaboration in science and research has to play in economic recovery and growth. They also noted that the increasingly global challenges faced by society will need to be addressed at an international level.
In this context the two Ministers agreed two new UK-India joint research programmes:
- a major new programme (worth up to £12m or Rs 84 crore) - “Bridging the Urban and Rural Divide” - to provide technological, economic and societal solutions to improve the quality of life of rural inhabitants in both countries;
- a significant new initiative (worth up to £6m or Rs 42 crore) to encourage multi-disciplinary research partnerships to develop the next generation of environmentally-friendly fuel cell technologies.
Minister Prithviraj Chavan commented:
“I am very pleased that the new UK Minister has chosen to visit India so soon after his appointment and I am delighted that he brings with him such strong intent from the new UK Government to move our joint scientific endeavour to a new level. I urge our scientists to seize the great opportunity offered by the new programmes we agreed today”
Minister David Willetts replied:
“I am delighted to be in India. I am deeply impressed with what I have seen of the excellence of Indian science. I warmly welcome the joint commitment at our meeting today to build a much stronger bond between our two research systems. These are not just warm words. We have agreed two major new research initiatives, which could impact on the daily lives of millions of our citizens”