By Andrew Telford, Senior Programme Manager, RCUK India.
This is my first (and rather belated) blog post for RCUK India, having joined the team in October last year. It’s been a busy couple of months for my wife and me, we were married just two weeks before moving over to Delhi, and I’m delighted to report that so far India has been incredibly good to us. We’ve enjoyed venturing around the old town of Delhi, taking in the historical sites (including the one and only Taj Mahal in Agra), celebrating Diwali, sampling the delicious food, seeing exiting wildlife and meeting a whole host of lovely people.
Having worked for the Research Councils for a number of years I have had the good fortune to see firsthand, from the UK side, the appetite for collaborative working with India as well as the vital role RCUK India plays in realising this. I am absolutely delighted to have joined such a high-performing team and am looking forward to working towards taking the India-UK research agenda to a greater height.
It has been an exciting first few weeks for me, meeting colleagues from both the UK funding agencies based here at the British High Commission, as well as colleagues from various Indian research funding agencies – too many of which to mention individually here. I have been struck by the genuine passion that people have for progressing collaboration between our two nations and, having lived here for a few weeks, it is easy to see why. India is an incredibly vibrant and exciting country full of incredible opportunities and there is a real sense optimism that makes working here all the more enjoyable.
It has been a privilege to be involved in the final preparation of the 4th UK-India Science and Innovation Council meeting, in which the Indian and UK governments committed to setting up a £50 million Netwon-Bhabha Fund over the next 5 years, to be utilised for multidisciplinary programmes in science, research and innovation.
The Newton-Bhabha Fund will undoubtedly increase our ability to progress world leading research for the benefit of both India and the UK by establishing strong and long lasting research linkages through joint centres, projects and access partnerships. It will also accelerate the deployment of research knowledge and innovation capacity building as well as pave the way for the next generation of researchers to collaborate through PhD exchanges and post-doctoral training and mobility schemes.
In short it is an extremely exciting time to be working for RCUK India and I am very much looking forward to making a contribution towards delivering strategic, long-term research partnerships between the UK and India.