Fund will build Indian and UK scientific network

December 20, 2002

Collaboration in science and technology between India and Britain is to be enhanced by a joint fund that will enable scientists from the two countries to work in areas of common interest. Officials said the programme was aimed at facilitating networking between Indian and British scientists, particularly among younger academics.

The fund was highlighted as an example of growing scientific links during India Day at the Royal Society in London last week.

Raghunath A. Mashlekar, director-general of India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, said that despite financial constraints Indian scientists had achieved a great deal, including the design and launch of satellites.

Biochemist G. Padmanabhan of the Indian Institute of Science underlined the successes of India's biotechnology industry, which, he said, could help solve the country's public-health problems. He said India was likely to become a "leader in global vaccine manufacture and bioinfomatics".

David King, chief scientific adviser to the UK government, spoke of the challenges that scientists in both countries faced in finding solutions to problems.

Indian scientists said they were keen to learn from the British experience of academic-industry relations and the commercial spin-offs of scientific research.

Indian universities have agreed to establish a structure to promote intellectual property and technology issues at a seminar organised by Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Association of Commonwealth Universities in New Delhi.

John Kirkland, director of human capacity development at the ACU, said: "A similar event last year led to the formation of the Southern African Research and Innovation Association, which has attracted strong support from both domestic government and international development agencies."

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