The UK Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, Jo Johnson has announced a number of new initiatives at the India UK TECH Summit in New Delhi.
The bilateral announcements, made alongside with Indian Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan, are aimed to deepen collaboration between the UK and India in the science and technology space.
Speaking at the Summit, the ministers announced a number of new UK-India Newton Fund research programmes, worth up to £80 million, in areas including: water quality, anti-microbial resistance and women & children’s health. This takes the joint investment in research programmes through the Newton Fund in India to up to £200 million until 2021 (£104 million from UK match funded by Indian partners) to jointly address global societal challenges.
The UK Science Minister also launched the first annual £1 million Newton Prize, which will recognise the Newton Fund’s best science or innovation that promote the economic development and social welfare of partner countries. For 2017, the prize is open to existing Newton Fund programmes in India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam which focus on the grand societal challenge of public health and wellbeing, covering issues such as anti-microbial resistance, disease, healthcare, and nutrition.
Minister Johnson said: “The future of science and innovation depends on collaboration and India continues to be a vital science partner for the UK. Through the Newton Fund we’re working together to improve the lives of millions across the world we are continuing to look at opportunities to expand this partnership to include funding for social science and humanities programmes.”
Minister Johnson will open the first meeting of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) – Department for Biotechnology Strategic Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) on 9 November, which will work towards accelerating development of new drugs and diagnostics.
The UK is country partner at this years’ TECH Summit, which is India’s premier science and technology showcase. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the partnership between the two countries during his visit to the UK in November 2015. The TECH Summit has brought together leading star speakers, British businesses, science and technology experts to India to show best of what UK has to offer.