UK and India commit to research and innovation collaboration

Small UK and India flags sat on a desk

The UK and India have strengthened their partnership with £16 million for vital joint research and innovation.

Earthquakes, animal health and artificial intelligence (AI) are among the areas of research and innovation leaders in the UK and India have committed to work on together. While the two nations reinforce their commitment to collaborate on global issues.

£16 million of new investment from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), matched by the Government of India, was launched during the UK-India Science and Innovation Council (SIC) in London on 26 April 2023.

This was announced by the UK’s Minister of State in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), George Freeman, and the Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Jitendra Singh.

New research collaborations

Four joint programmes were announced by UKRI and Indian partners, including two funded through the new International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF):

Improving farmed animal health and welfare through better understanding of infectious diseases and resistance to treatment

This £5 million ISPF project, with matched equivalent resources from the Government of India, is a partnership between UKRI’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) .

Industrial research and development (R&D) collaborations for sustainability focusing on sustainable materials and manufacturing, or power electronics, machines and drives (or both)

A £5 million project with matched equivalent resources from the Government of India is a partnership between UKRI’s Innovate UK and India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), delivered by India’s Technology Development Board (TDB)

Solid Earth Hazards

This £3 million project, with matched equivalent resources from the Government of India, is a partnership between UKRI’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Technology and skills partnership programme

This £3.3 million ISPF project with matched equivalent resources from the Government of India is a partnership between UKRI’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and India’s Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

Valued relationships

Speaking at the meeting, UKRI’s Chief Executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser highlighted the strong and valued relationships UKRI has with funding partners across India and welcomed the positive momentum in cooperation between the two countries across a wide spectrum of research and innovation.

Professor Leyser said:

International collaboration in research and innovation benefits all involved, bringing together expertise and resources to go farther faster.

The collaborations announced today span a wide spectrum of research and innovation, including environmental sustainability, food security and AI, with benefits that will be realised in the UK, India and across the world.

Driving sustainable growth

Director Designate of UKRI India, Sukanya Kumar said:

This is a moment to celebrate the deep and extensive relationship between UKRI and India.

In addition to driving research and innovation excellence, our partnership with India brings positive impact to the lives of people in both our countries and across the globe. The new co-investment will pave the way for more joint research and innovation, which will drive sustainable growth and prosperity in the years ahead.

The UK-India SIC takes place every two years alternating between London and New Delhi. As a result of the pandemic, this was the first SIC since 2018.

The purpose of these meetings is to jointly review research and innovation partnerships between the UK and India and set the agenda for future collaboration.

During the SIC, the Ministers undertook to work closely together in research and innovation, including during G20, which India is currently hosting.

In his opening remarks, the Indian Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr Jitendra Singh reflected on the importance of global collaboration in a shrinking world and how the traditional warmth shared by the UK and India makes our collaboration in research and innovation a natural development.

Further information

Read the DSIT press release about the visit.

The following joint programmes will soon invite applications, for more information please see the UKRI funding finder.

The investments we make in projects involving researchers and innovators in India are matched by either value, expertise or both, by Indian funding bodies.

More information about the new funding opportunities

Industrial collaborative R&D

A £5 million per competition by Innovate UK, UKRI with matched funded by India’s DST for industrial collaborative R&D activities in the scope of sustainable materials and manufacturing, and power electronics, machines and drives.

The programme will support a portfolio of collaborative projects connecting Indian and UK businesses to accelerate development and commercialisation of innovative industrial solutions.

Partnership between UKRI’s Innovate UK and India’s DST, delivered by TDB.

India-UK partnership to address farmed animal diseases and health

A collaborative research programme (£5 million from BBSRC with matched resources from India’s DBT) will bring research and innovation groups in the UK and India together to build on their combined strengths and work on projects, engaging with users, in particular farmers, with the aim of improving farmed animal health and welfare.

The aim of this programme is to advance the mechanistic understanding of host-pathogen interactions and tackling veterinary antimicrobial resistance (includes bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens) for the purpose of improving animal health.

Partnership between UKRI’s BBSRC and India’s DBT.

This project is funded by UKRI as part of ISPF.

STFC/DAE Technology and Skills Programme

The STFC/DAE Technology and Skills Programme builds on previous STFC-funded collaborations with the DAE by creating a strategically managed funder-level portfolio of activities in areas of strategic importance to both DAE and STFC.

The aim of the programme is to develop skills, technologies and knowledge in areas such as AI, machine learning, bio-imaging and accelerator development that can be applied to improve and augment scientific research carried out at large scientific infrastructures in the UK and India.

The programme will also aim to bring key technologies closer to application or commercialisation and help to develop a pipeline of skilled researchers.

Partnership between UKRI’s STFC and India’s DAE.

This project is funded by UKRI as part of ISPF

Solid Earth Hazards

This is a joint programme between NERC, UKRI and India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences. It aims to support fundamental research on the physical processes that lead to the failure of layers of the earth’s crust resulting in geohazards such as:

  • earthquakes
  • landslides
  • tsunamis
  • etc.

It also aims to develop mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of such hazards.

Building resilience to geohazards presents a major challenge that requires collaborative international action by researchers, policymakers, governments, private sectors, and civil societies.

The Solid Earth Hazards programme will demonstrate the robust solutions needed to minimise risk and create safer, more resilient communities to solid earth hazards in and around India.

ISPF

The £119 million ISPF is designed to enable potential and foster prosperity.

It puts research and innovation at the heart of our international relationships, supporting UK researchers and innovators to work with peers around the world on the major themes of our time.

It’s managed DSIT. Delivered by a consortium of the UK’s leading research and innovation bodies.

Top image:  Credit: MicroStockHub, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

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