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UK-India research joint investments at more than £200 million

The value of investment in UK-India research from the UK Research Councils, the Government of India, and third parties now exceeds £200 million, following a joint £72 million boost to the portfolio during 2015.

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As the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the UK for the first time this week, a number of bilateral programmes have been agreed to strengthen the growing research and innovation partnership between the two countries, benefiting both nations by addressing grand societal challenges – such as food, energy and water security; health and well-being; smart cities and rapid urbanisation – and increasing access to expertise, resources and facilities.

Details of a number of funded projects for UK-India research programmes have been announced today (Friday 13 November), which are funded in part through the Newton Fund. The Newton-Bhabha Fund enables the Research Councils to develop a sustainable long-term partnership with India.

  • the Indian Council for Medical Research and the Medical Research Council (MRC) joint initiative on aetiology and life-course of substance misuse and relationship with mental illnessthis will fund collaborative research projects that will study substance misuse and its associated consequences. This is a combined investment of £2.5 million.

  • Joint Global Research Programme: Women’s and children’s health is a partnership between the MRC and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in India working in collaboration with the Department of International Development (DFID). This brings together researchers from UK, India and low income countries to address major health needs of women and children in low resource settings. This is a combined investment of £6 million.

The UK’s Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson MP, said:

The research partnership between the UK and India has gone from strength to strength in recent years as we have worked together to address some of the world’s major challenges. From securing a sustainable water supply to providing clean energy, this research is advancing scientific capabilities in both countries and helping to improve the lives of millions around the world.

The Indian Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Y S Chowdary, said:

The UK and India science and research collaboration has steadily increased, with the best of the research communities and facilities strengthening their cooperation. This strong UK-India research relationship helps address contemporary issues of both nations and the world at large from multiple perspectives.

Other UK-India partnerships currently in progress include:

  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) South Asian Monsoon Programme, the 2016 observational campaign in India (non Newton programme) - NERC’s Atmospheric Research Aircraft (ARA) campaign in India is scheduled from mid-May to mid-July 2016, and will be undertaken as part of India’s Monsoon Mission to improve prediction of the monsoon from short range to seasonal timescales.

  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for Science and Technology (DST) Joint Virtual Centre on Clean Energy - £5 million from the UK with matched resources from India. The Centre will aim to solve the integration problem with smart grids and energy storage. It also aims to develop affordable, renewable energy solutions for communities that do not have access to reliable electricity supplies. Indian partners are currently being selected to work with UK SUPERGEN partners to establish the Centre from April 2016.

  • NERC-MoES Call, supported by the Newton-Bhabha Fund, for a research programme on Sustainable Water Resources for Food, Energy and Ecosystem Services – a combined investment of £6 million. This programme will use a ‘whole systems’ approach to develop models which can forecast future trends and the impact of climate change, land-use change, population growth and urbanisation on water resources. It will support the delivery of the Government of India’s aim of sustainably managing water resources and rejuvenating rivers, including the National Mission for Clean Ganga’s aim of ensuring continuous and unpolluted flow of water in the Ganga Basin. Awards will be announced in the New Year with grants to commence from April 2016.

  • NERC-MoES-MRC-DBT call for a Research Programme on Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in an Indian Megacity - £6.5 million from the UK and matched resources from India: Pollution in Indian cities is a rapidly increasing problem, with major impacts on the economy and health of the population. This programme will provide new knowledge on air pollution and its impacts on health in a rapidly urbanising society and generate the evidence to support cost-effective measures for health improvements related to atmospheric pollution in Delhi, India.

  • Two Centuries of Indian Print, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and British Library pilot project for a major digitisation initiative. The project aims to digitise and give free online access to one of the world’s most important collections of South-Asian language printed books.

  • Science and Technology Facilities Centre (STFC) partnership with the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) - £1.5 million from the UK with matched resources from India: UK and Indian scientists will use the state of the art instruments at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory to understand complex nanoscale materials. The agreement will provide Indian researchers with access to the ISIS facility and to collaborate with UK researchers on a range of basic and applied science. This work is central to the understanding of a wide range of nanoscale materials from the physical and life sciences, and which may provide solutions to the global challenges faced by society.

Further information:

  • other UK-India initiatives include: joint virtual centres in Water Security and Agricultural Nitrogen; joint research and innovation programmes on Urbanisation and Heritage, and Aquaculture; Memorandum of Understanding between STFC and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

  • these programmes are funded in part through the Newton Fund - a £375 million fund (£75 million a year for five years) which is overseen by the Department for Businesses Innovation and Skills (BIS), and delivered through 15 delivery partners in collaboration with 15 partnering countries. For more information visit newton fund

  • Research Councils UK (RCUK) India, launched in 2008, 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 exceeding £200 million. The research collaborations 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 with seven major Indian research funders on a wide array of research themes addressing global challenges.

  • Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work here

For more information please contact: Katie Clark, RCUK Communications: 01793 444387.

Stuart Adam, Director,
Press and Communications
British High Commission,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021
Tel: 44192100; Fax: 24192411

Mail to: Geeny George

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Published 13 November 2015