RCUK India 5th Anniversary Celebrations: a GREAT Week for Research and Innovation

By Dr Nafees Meah, Director, RCUK India

To mark the 5th anniversary of the establishment of Research Councils UK (RCUK) in India we hosted a GREAT week celebrating the UK-India collaboration on research and innovation bringing together over 200 senior academics, research funders, policy makers and key government officials from both countries to deliver a high-impact week.

Delegates at the 5th Anniversary of Research Councils UK India celebrations, New Delhi, November 2013

Delegates at the 5th Anniversary of Research Councils UK India celebrations, New Delhi, November 2013

Research is the fastest growing area of bilateral cooperation between the UK and India. We announced an important milestone with joint research collaboration now reaching £150M, up from £1M in 2008.

These joint grants now fund more than 80 high-quality, high-impact research projects involving over 90 industry partners.

The benefits include clean energy for Indian villages; improved storing and handling of nuclear waste; assessment of the aquifer system in NW India; and patents and products on advanced technologies that deliver services to rural India.  RCUK India are proud to have launched ‘New Horizons’, which details all of these exciting projects.  This can be found here. 

Prof Paul Boyle, CEO of ESRC, launching ‘New Horizons’

Prof Paul Boyle, CEO of ESRC, launching ‘New Horizons’

We also held 4 roundtable discussions to explore potential areas for future collaboration and we will be publishing reports of these discussions in the coming few weeks.

  • Sustainable Cities
  • Food-Water-Energy Nexus
  • Big Data and e-Infrastructure
  • Understanding Rapid Social Change

Sir James Bevan, British High Commissioner to India and Prof Sir Mark Walport, the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor hosted a Reception, including an exhibition of some of the projects, in the areas of nutrition, climate change, digital technologies and social sciences.

During the reception DFID, RCUK and India’s Department of Biotechnology signed a Letter of Intent for the Global Research Partnership which will fund collaborative trilateral research partnerships with low income countries addressing major global challenges on health, food security and women. 

RCUK India exhibition at the British High Commission, New Delhi

RCUK India exhibition at the British High Commission, New Delhi

This reception was also the first event to feature the new ‘Research is GREAT’ posters, recently commissioned in association with RCUK.  These posters will be appearing all over the world to promote the high-quality research taking place in the UK.

Another important event during the week was the UK-India Science and Innovation policy dialogue, co-chaired by Sir Mark Walport and Dr Ramasami.  This agreed to focus on fewer, more strategic challenges to deliver real-world impact.  Ideas will be developed in time for the next Ministerial bilateral to take place after the Indian general elections in 2014.  

Colleagues from DFID, RCUK and India’s DBT sign the Letter of Intent

Colleagues from DFID, RCUK and India’s DBT sign the Letter of Intent

In a week when the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister were in India celebrating our stronger, wider, deeper relationship with India, our events provided one of the best examples of what that increasingly looks like.  The focus on strategy and impact in the next 5 years will help turn excellent research and innovation partnerships into increasing benefits for both countries.

So, overall it was a very busy week for RCUK India, but huge thanks goes to everyone involved from both the UK and India, thank you for being part of this GREAT week… RCUK India.

Delegates at the 5th Anniversary of Research Councils UK India celebrations, New Delhi, November 2013

RCUK India team, L –R: Dr Helen Bailey, Ms Geeny George Shaju, Ms Sukanya Kumar-Sinha, Dr Nafees Meah, Ms Shalini Singh, Ms Chhavi Jain

Gateway to Research data refresh – November 2013

By Aja Marriott, GtR Communications Officer. 

It’s been a while since we have blogged as we have been extremely busy making improvements to GtR in time for the official launch which we can now announce will take place at the House of Commons on the 4th December. The Minister for Universities and Science the Rt Hon David Willetts will be hosting the event which will give a wide range of users the opportunity to view the website and listen to short presentations from the Minister, Prof Dave Delpy, CEO of EPSRC, and Dr Steve Harris of BAE Systems.

We are also very happy to announce that data from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has now been included with the refresh which took place on the 15th November!

This refresh contains:

  1. RCUK data cleaned and refreshed to 20th October 2013
  2. Improvements to the User Interface and search options
  3. Intramural research projects included for 4 Research Councils running research institutes and facilities (BBSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC)
  4. Full range of outcomes types (collaboration, research materials, products and interventions, spinouts, further funding, dissemination, key findings, intellectual property, impact summary, impact on summary)
  5. Fuller range of attributes for these outcome types
  6. Pre-2006 projects included for MSC
  7. Changes to the GtR API and introduction of a new GtR-2 API

In two weeks’ time we will expect to release some additional items of data and a refresh of the Portal User Interface to better support accessibility and improve usability (especially on mobile and tablet devices).

An updated API document can be found here: http://blogs.rcuk.ac.uk/files/2013/11/GtR_Application_Programming_Interface_v2.0.pdf.

A technical summary of the GTR-2 API, released to the GTR Beta system in November 2013, can be found here: http://blogs.rcuk.ac.uk/files/2013/11/GtR-Application-Programming-Interface-GTR-2-v1.2.pdf

Celebrations all the way…

By Geeny George Shaju, Communications Manager RCUK India 

As RCUK India turns five this November and is gearing up for celebrating its anniversary, it can’t get any bigger or better with the whole of India ready for celebrations as well!

Traditional Indian lamp with floral decoration - Courtesy: UK in India

Traditional Indian lamp with floral decoration – Courtesy: UK in India

Why? It’s Diwali – The festival of lights.

The run up to every celebration is often a mix of planning, excitement, wanting to make the most of it; sprinkled with chaos. The streets of New Delhi (or any other place in India) are perfect examples of this beautiful mayhem, with lanes and houses all decoratively lit up; sweets and presents everywhere and an overall air of festivity.

For RCUK India celebrations have just doubled, with festivity outside the office and preparations for our 5th anniversary inside. But does it sound like all play and no work for us? Certainly not. We’re a team of six in RCUK India and in partnership with the UK’s Science and Innovation Network, the British High Commission are hosting a series of events to mark our anniversary.

Celebrations are synonymous with “bringing together” and RCUK India’s 5th anniversary celebration is all about bringing together the best from both the UK and India.

The celebration will showcase the strengths of UK-India research partnership, especially those built over the last five years with RCUK India pivotal role in facilitating these collaborations. It’s an eventful week offering great networking opportunity to the senior stakeholders, policy makers and the research communities from both the UK and India.

The week begins with a plenary session on 12th November, where key policy makers from the UK and Indian funding agencies will talk about their priorities and plans for the future. The week will also hold a series of roundtable discussions, a networking reception, bilateral meetings and a high-level policy dialogue. The topics for the roundtable discussions are based on India’s 12th Five Year Plan and fitting with the UK research strength. These, therefore, will help pave the way for future collaboration between the UK and India.

So Diwali and RCUK India’s 5th anniversary have a lot in common – celebrations, gaiety, looking forward to a future of prosperity and great partnership.

Wishing all a Happy Diwali and Happy Birthday to RCUK India.

For further information about any of these events or to register your interest in attending, please email rcuk.india@rcuk.ac.uk