By Andrew Telford, Senior Programme Manager, RCUK India
Being located in India’s bustling capital of Delhi is extremely useful for our day to day working. However, it also means that we tend to have fewer interactions with colleagues from further afield, something we are looking forward to addressing through a series of roadshows across India.
It was with this in mind that I jumped at the opportunity to fly to Dehradun, interim capital of the state of Uttarakhand, to speak at an event introducing UK research funding and scholarship opportunities, hosted by the British Deputy High Commission of Chandigarh. Uttarakhand is a Himalayan state in Northern India with amazing natural beauty. It is famous for its lakes, forests, national parks and of course mountain ranges, including the Nanda Devi, a World Heritage site which at 7,821m is the highest mountain located entirely within the borders of India.
The Research Councils’ collaborative research portfolio in Uttarakhand consists of three projects, representing over £2 million investment from the UK Research Councils, with matched resources from partner organisations here in India. Particularly interesting is that these three projects, covering a wide range of sciences (smart energy, farmed animal health and changing water cycles), indicate the large potential there is to collaborate with Uttarakhand.
Speakers for the event included Mr. David Lelliott OBE, British Deputy High Commissioner Chandigarh, Dr Rajendra Dobhal, Director General Uttarakhand State Council for Science and Technology, and colleagues representing the UK’s Science & Innovation Network, British Council and Skills Anytime, all of whom received warm receptions from the audience. I was delighted to have the opportunity to introduce our diverse research portfolio, our Inspiring Change video and ongoing programmes to senior academics, local officials and policy makers.
The event also brought together colleagues from UK Universities including the University of Aberdeen, who signed an MoU with the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (Dehradun) to enable student and faculty exchanges between the two institutions. It was great to see that the enthusiasm for research collaboration between the UK and India is alive and well at the state level.
It was very interesting to hear from Dr Dobhal about Uttarakhand’s Vision for Growth and Development to 2022. A vision developed in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry which picks up on key issues that resonate strongly with the Research Councils’ Global Challenges, including water security, exploration of renewable energies and new agri-biotech techniques. Uttarakhand is experiencing significant growth in both Per Capita Income and GDP, which as noted in a recent lecture by Governor Krishnan Kant Paul will help with addressing both health and education challenges faced by the State. From Dr Dobhal’s presentation it was clear that cutting-edge research and high-quality education are considered vitally important for the continued development of Uttarakhand.
This was the first opportunity in 2016 to take the roadshow to somewhere new in India, and we are delighted with the interest that it generated. Follow our twitter handle @RCUK_India for updates from events happening across the country in the coming months!