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UK-India Joint Network on Sustainable Cities and Urbanisation kicks off in Delhi


A new UK-India Joint Network on Sustainable Cities and Urbanisation in India was launched on Monday 26 September. The multidisciplinary collaboration is led by the UK's University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Urban Affairs in India, and is supported by the Newton Fund and delivered in partnership with Research Councils UK.

The Network includes leading urban researchers from University of Nottingham, Bishop Grosseteste University College, Loughborough University, Northumbria University, Nottingham Trent University, University of Birmingham, University of Southampton and University of Surrey from the UK.

From India there are urban researchers from Jawaharlal Nehru University, IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, Indian Institute of Population Studies Mumbai, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research Mumbai, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bengaluru and Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai from India.

As well as establishing a multi-institutional and interdisciplinary network bringing together Centres of Excellence in the UK and India, the Network will reach beyond academia and engage with innovators, policy makers, industry and civil society.

To help achieve these aims Network will develop the Urban Observatory model in India and catalysing its adoption in a number of Indian cities. These Observatories will provide relevant, indigenous new knowledge and insights to help implement the Government of India's Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and the Housing for All by 2022 Mission.

NIUA Director Professor Jagan Shah commented:

"Urban observatories can assist the smart cities in converting their vision for inclusive growth into tangible and measurable outcomes - this can make a dramatic difference to the way we plan and implement urban transformation."

RCUK India Director Dr Nafees Meah commented:

"This is a really exciting and timely development. India is urbanizing rapidly and there are ambitious plans to transform cities in ways that help deliver the UN's Sustainable Development Goals."

The Network began work on September 26 in Delhi with a two day workshop that included Plenary Session for policy makers and an opportunity to showcase Urban Observatories to key decision makers.

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Further information

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Notes to editors

  1. Project Details of SMART citIES Network for sustainable urban futures (SMARTIES Net), the UK-India Joint Network on Sustainable Cities and Urbanisation in India Follow on Twitter: @SmartiesProject
  2. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow's challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society's challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK's research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work at
  3. Newton Bhabha Fund aims to bring together the UK and Indian scientific research and innovation sectors to find joint solutions to the challenges facing India in economic development and social welfare. The scheme is part of the UK's £375 million Newton Fund to support science and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging powers. In India, the Fund is worth £50 million over five years and is supported by the UK and Indian governments through a ministerial agreement. The Newton Bhabha Fund will use the UK's strengths in research and innovation to support greater scientific research capacity in India and build research partnerships between British and India research institutions.
  4. National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is a premier institute for research, capacity building and dissemination of knowledge for the urban sector in India. It conducts research on urbanization, urban policy and planning, municipal finance and governance, land economics, transit oriented development, urban livelihoods, environment & climate change and smart cities. The institute was set up to bridge the gap between research and practice, and to provide critical and objective analyses of trends and prospects for urban development. NIUA has assisted in policy formulation and programme appraisal and monitoring for the Ministry of Urban Development, state governments, multilateral agencies and other private organizations. It contributed to the National Commission on Urbanisation, participated in drafting the 74th Constitutional Amendment of 1992, prepared the Draft National Urban Policy and other documents for the roll out of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). It also guided the discourse on municipal finance by framing the Model Municipal Law.

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