Indian talent heads for home

December 1, 2006

Indian scientists and researchers are returning home, attracted by an expanding economy and a flood of investment in research and development.

Migration from India to the West has fallen from 70 per cent a decade ago to 30 per cent today, turning India into a pool of rich research talent that is achieving international recognition.

In April, Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged £15 million towards the development of an Indo-UK initiative to encourage R&D links between the two countries. The UK-India Education and Research Initiative has been gathering momentum since 2004, but came to a head when Mr Blair's pledge was met with a promise by Kapil Sibel, India's Minister for Science, to match the funding. Five new institutes of science are being developed, while a National Science Foundation will take on the overall supervision of funding research in India.

Kamalesh Sharma, India's high commissioner in the UK, said that India was unique in benefiting from an expanding pool of graduates with higher education degrees who were staying in the country. "In the past, many Indian graduates have gone abroad, especially to the US, for further study before returning to their home country to work in high-tech fields, a trend shared by China and other Asian countries."

C. N. R. Rao, chair of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Indian Prime Minister, said: "India is a very young country - almost 50 per cent of our population is under 35 - so the potential and untapped talent residing here is huge."

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