India-UK Tech workshop: innovation and technology commercialisation

Remarks by Ian Felton, British Deputy High Commissioner Bengaluru at India-UK Tech workshop, Wednesday 14 October 2015 in Bengaluru.

Ian Felton

Welcome to our GREAT Tech Workshop on UK-India Innovation and Technology Commercialisation.

I’m delighted you have come today – this is an important occasion to capture a snapshot of how the UK and India are working together – for a better tomorrow.

Today presents an opportunity for both of our governments - the private sector plus academia to explore how our innovation ecosystems can work better together - specifically on;

  • Innovation policy
  • business acceleration
  • academia
  • industry links
  • commercialisation of research and development.

The UK recently came 2nd in terms of innovation performance according to the Global Innovation Index. This rapid rise to second from 10th in 2011 shows our determination to be an innovation leader.

The report shows we have a well balanced performance across our strengths of research, science, infrastructure and of course creativity.

The aim of the workshop is to enhance understanding of innovation policy, incubation and acceleration, technology commercialisation in both countries.

To share best practices and challenges, and seek opportunities for building institutional links between universities, companies and organisations.

UK and India are already established partners in both research and innovation.

Taking our relationship to the next higher level, the UK Identified India as one of the key partners for the Newton Fund which is a new fund of £375 million over 5 years to promote science and innovation partnerships with emerging powers.

Under the Newton Fund, the UK has committed £10 million a year for 5 years (~95 Crore Rupees a year) to working with India.

Our formal partnership agreement and joint programme is the Newton-Bhabha Programme in honour of two of our great scientists.

This year we are working with the state governments to assist in framing their innovation policies and innovation/incubation ecosystem. And Karnataka is a key partner for us.

I’m pleased that we can share and exchange our experiences in this important area.

I wish you a successful workshop and look forward to productive partnerships that benefit both sides.

As mentioned our relationship is already healthy with businesses voting with their wallets -


  • UK is a key inward investment destination for India. In 2013 the UK attracted over £5 billion in 2013 of overseas financed R&D from around the world

  • UK attracts high levels of R&D investment from foreign companies, so important to our economy. So, 20% of the UK’s R&D investment comes from overseas in 2012, compared just 4% for Germany and the US and just 1% of R&D investment from foreign companies going into China

  • that inflow is showing results – we estimate that half of the UK’s productivity growth between 2000 and 2008 was attributable to innovation

  • investments in R&D by the government attract public investment: Each £1 of public investment in research and development attracts private investment of over one and a half times that at £1.60

  • UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, runs schemes that return an average of £6 Gross Value Added for every £1 invested. 6 to 1 is good odds

  • UK infrastructure includes the met office supercomputer to make better prediction on weather patterns that has implications for agriculture, aviation, and shipping. This type of work is of interest in India

  • innovative businesses grow twice as fast as non-innovators

    • a good example is the growth of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd - a spin out of Surrey University. Now part of Airbus Defence & Space, and a turnover of more than £100 million

The UK Science and Innovation Network which helped to organise today - is our dedicated team here in Bangalore in the DHC office, to deepen our partnership with the Government of Karnataka alongside the work we’re doing at a national level between the UK and India.

Our two countries share high ambitions of leading in technology and commercialising research and development across a number of sectors.

Today we have a delegation of UK experts in the commercialisation of technologies and incubating Tech startups from renowned universities and organisations.

I’m delighted we have with us today experts from Cambridge University, Imperial College London, Oxford University, Nesta, AcceleratorIndia and Ledmac from the UK.

Both countries have a common agenda to promote innovative start ups for the creation of jobs and wealth.

We are not just hoping for better times ahead – we are working together in detail to make it happen, in India and in the UK.

With the honourable Sri R V Deshpande, Minister for Large & Medium Industries & Tourism present, I feel we are in safe hands for a stimulating discussion – followed by action – given his eminent track record of responding to the challenge to meet Industry face to face.

The minister last month addressed the UK Business Convention in New Delhi and held one to one meetings with top CEOs.

The CM of Karnataka and the UK Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Francis Maude jointly inaugurated the ground breaking of the largest GSK pharmaceutical plant in over ten years - in Bangalore, last month.

Prior to that the Honourable Minister, at his initiative, hosted more than half of the UK companies based in Bangalore – he chaired a no holds barred discussion on the ease of doing business in Karnataka and followed up with those companies – and we are still working together on that agenda.

One of the outcomes of our discussions over the last years is the report we have just produced – which includes a forward by the Honourable Minister on the successes of EODB in Karnataka and it doesn’t shirk around the areas still being worked on to generate more business.

This is a vibrant discussion locally and one the UK is also joining in at the national level on invitation by the PM of India – specifically through our Better Regulation Delivery Office

We look forward to the PM’s visit to the UK next month.

But before that we are keen to make this conference a success.

Best wishes for your deliberations.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Storify, Eventbrite, Blogs, Foursquare, Youtube, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat @UKinIndia, Periscope @UKinIndia

Published 14 October 2015