International Collaboration UK and India Join Hands on Energy and Nano Projects
The two countries have agreed to work together in two major initiatives in the fields of solar energy and nano material research.
Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan led the Indian delegation at the 5th Indo-UK Science and Innovation Council Meeting (SIC) that was co-chaired by Minister of State for Universities and Science, UK, Jo Johnson in London. Post the event, Dr. Vardhan stated that India and the UK have agreed to work together in two major initiatives in the fields of solar energy and nano material research, inter alia.
The SIC is the apex body which oversees the entire gamut of the India–UK science, technology and innovation cooperation and meets once in two years. The last meeting of the SIC was held in New Delhi in November 2014 during which both countries had launched the Newton-Bhabha Program to support the bilateral science & technology cooperation. Currently, the value of investment in Indo–UK research and development cooperation from multiple Indian and UK agencies exceeds 200 million pounds of co-funding. UK stands amongst the top three collaborating countries in science and technology with India.
Dr. Vardhan informed that as a part of the commitment to the solar alliance, the India–UK networked Centre on Solar Energy would be established. It would be linked to India’s renewable energy mission and UK’s Supergens Program. The research projects will focus on systems level design and development covering solar energy generation, storage systems and grid integration particularly for micro-grid systems. India would be investing Rs 50 crore over a period of five years with matching contribution from the Research Council UK (RCUK) under the Newton-Bhabha Program.
Nano Material Research
As a result of this strengthening of the Indo–UK Science & Technology cooperation, the SIC announced access to Indian researchers to the Neutron Scattering facility of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxford. This unique facility, based on the use of neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy, is a world class facility at Oxford to carry out fundamental research on understanding a wide range of matter at the fundamental level. This will help to enhance Indian capability to fabricate structures at the Nano scale level for creating interesting and technologically important materials through research in fundamental science. As a part of the Nano mission program, the Department of Science & Technology would be investing Rs 26.5 crore.
Both nations have also agreed to address a gamut of societal challenges in the fields of food, energy and water security; health and well-being; smart cities and rapid urbanization with increasing access and sharing of expertise, resources and facilities. The cooperation is aimed to yield high quality and high impact research outputs having industrial relevance, targeted towards addressing societal needs.