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UK and India science and research cooperation set to expand with Newton-Bhabha programme

The UK’s Minister for Universities, Science, and Cities the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP met with Indian Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi on 12th November 2014, and agreed to take the UK-India research and innovation relationship to a greater level with the announcement of a significant new initiative called Newton-Bhabha Programme.

At the 4th UK-India Science and Innovation Council (SIC) held at Prithvi Bhavan, Ministry of Earth Sciences, both science ministers applauded the role that the UK-India research and innovation partnership has played in bringing together the best researchers in both countries with an aim to tackle wide-spreading global challenges.

The Newton-Bhabha Fund (£50 million over 5 years from the UK and matched efforts from India) is an important programme, with a strong interdisciplinary dimension that will further strategise the science, research and innovation cooperation between the UK and India. 

Speaking at Prithvi Bhavan, Minister Greg Clark said “I hope this exciting new programme will deliver as much to global science as Newton and Bhabha. By working together to address big societal challenges, like sustainable cities, health, food, energy and water, UK and India can deliver tangible benefits for our countries and the world.”

A series of new Newton-Bhabha research programmes were welcomed, including:

  • The UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) joint initiative for new research projects in Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Up to £2 million is available from the UK. ICMR will fund the Indian component 
  • Up to £10 million for joint Global Research Programme in Women’s and Children’s Health funded by the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC), Department of International Development (DFID) and India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
  • Up to £7 million for Joint Centre Partnerships in Cancer Biology, Translational Regenerative Medicines in Neuroscience and Antimicrobial Resistance, funded by UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

In addition to the Newton-Bhabha programmes, Minister Greg Clark also announced another deeper UK-India partnership in historical research through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR).

Minister Greg Clark’s delegation to India includes 3 Chief Executives and other senior officials from the UK’s Research Councils. Such senior representation reiterates the UK’s commitment to partner with India in this fast-growing collaboration around research and innovation.

The three visiting Chief Executives are Professor Jackie Hunter from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Professor Philip Nelson from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; and Professor John Womersley from the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Research is the fastest growing bilateral cooperation between India and the UK, having scaled up from £1 million to over £150 million since 2008, when Research Councils UK (RCUK) India was launched in New Delhi.

Working closely with key Indian funding agencies and other UK stakeholders, RCUK India continues to facilitate the high-quality and high-impact research partnerships in areas of mutual interest to India and the UK, such as Public Health and Well-being; Sustainable Cities and Urbanisation; and Food-Water-Energy Nexus.


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Further information

Geeny George Shaju
Communications Manager
Research Council UK (UK) India
Telephone: + 91 2149 2367

Notes to editors

Newton Fund

The Newton Fund is a new initiative intended to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging knowledge economies. It was launched by the Chancellor in April 2014, and will deliver £375 million of funding over the course of five years. Please see the government’s Newton Fund policy paper where you will find details of the fund, UK delivery partners, overseas partner and associated activities.

Research Councils UK India

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 £150 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 who annually invest around £3 billion in research. We support excellent research, as judged by peer review, that has an impact on the growth, prosperity and wellbeing of the UK. To maintain the UK’s global research position we offer a diverse range of funding opportunities, foster international collaborations and provide access to the best facilities and infrastructure around the world. We also support the training and career development of researchers and work with them to inspire young people and engage the wider public with research. To maximise the impact of research on economic growth and societal wellbeing we work in partnership with other research funders including the Technology Strategy Board, the UK Higher Education funding bodies, business, government, and charitable organisations.

The seven UK Research Councils are:

  • Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC);
  • Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC);
  • Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC);
  • Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
  • Medical Research Council (MRC);
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC);
  • Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

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