UK and India sign landmark research agreement

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UK and India sign a landmark agreement on science, research and innovation at the UK-India Science and Innovation Council in Parliament, launching a raft of joint research programmes.

The UK and India are today (Wednesday 26 April) signing a landmark agreement to collaborate on science and innovation, following a meeting between UK Science Minister George Freeman and Indian Minister of State for Science and Technology Dr Jitendra Singh.

The memorandum of understanding on research between the two countries will be signed at the in Parliament this afternoon, enabling quicker, deeper collaboration on science between the two science powerhouses that will drive economic growth, create skilled jobs and improve lives in the UK, India, and worldwide.

The agreement will remove red tape standing in the way of major collaborations, while unleashing a raft of new joint research schemes aiming to deliver progress on some of the biggest issues facing the world, from climate change and pandemic preparedness through to AI and machine learning.

Programmes include the establishment of a new UK-India Net Zero Innovation Virtual Centre focusing on industrial decarbonisation and launching the first ever UK-India scientific deep sea voyage.

Minister of State for the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology George Freeman said:

“India is rapidly building on its phenomenal software and innovation sectors to become a global powerhouse in science and technology.

“With our extensive trading and cultural links, shared democratic values and interest in urgent global issues from green technology and agri-tech to biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, we have very strong platforms for deepening research collaboration.

“Today’s agreement is part of our program of deepening UK collaboration with other global science superpowers on ground-breaking innovation and research, to help tackle shared global challenges. This partnership will grow the sectors, companies and jobs of tomorrow for the benefit of both our countries and the globe.”

The UK Government says it is determined to work with partners across the globe in delivering world class science and research. Other recent announcements include the launch of the International Science Partnerships Fund in Japan, an MoU on science with Switzerland, and agreements on closer collaboration on agri-tech with South Africa.

Alongside this momentous agreement, today’s announcement also sees India named as a partner for the UK’s International Science Partnerships Fund, carrying forward the UK-India science partnership built through the Newton-Bhabha fund. This renewed partnership will kick off with two new joint UK-India research programmes:

  • £5 million UK funding, matched by India, for research into Farmed Animal Diseases and Health
  • £3.3 million UK funding, matched by India, towards a technology and skills partnership programme that will enable UK and Indian researcher to develop skills, technologies and knowledge in areas such as AI, machine learning and bio-imaging

Other UK-India agreements to be made at the Science and Innovation Council today include:

  • The creation of UK-India Net Zero Innovation Virtual Centre, hosting the Hydrogen Valley and Industrial Decarbonisation Living Lab – to help decarbonise manufacturing and transport
  • Several UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Indian Department for Science and Technology (DST) joint research calls, including programmes on sustainability and solid earth hazards
  • An intention to launch a partnership for decarbonising India’s pharmaceutical and fine chemicals industries
  • A programme of UK-India university partnerships, including one between Aston University and CSIR Dehradun on sustainable biofuels.
  • The Fourth annual meeting (and second in-person meeting) of the RS/INSA Yusuf Hamied programme, a scheme designed to promote relationships and knowledge exchanges between UK and Indian researchers

The collaborative activities carried out under the MoU will be supported by joint funding agreed by both sides, with finances for each programme determined between the UK and India on a case-by-case basis.

Source: Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and George Freeman MP

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