Chennai: The British Council, in collaboration with the Royal Society of Chemistry, recently launched first of six ‘Newton Bhabha Researcher Link Workshops’ awarded in 2015-16. Inaugurated by Mr.Bharat Joshi, British Deputy High Commissioner at BS Abdur Rehman University the three-day workshop entitled ‘Clean Water through Advanced and Affordable Materials’ brought together 12 UK and 15 Indian early career researchers. The workshop was led and coordinated by Dr David Jenkins from Plymouth University, UK and Dr Vasanthakumari from BS Abdur Rahman University in Chennai and had contributions from other leading researchers.
Stephen Hawthorne, Deputy Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry said: “It is exciting to see the fruition of this partnership with the British Council in Madras this week. The programme enables us to offer excellent new opportunities for chemists to partner internationally over the next few years.”
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, Bharat Joshi, British Deputy High Commissioner, Chennai said, “I’m happy to see early career researchers from so many UK and Indian institutions. That’s exactly what Newton Bhabha is about: joint UK India research that will make the world a better, fairer and more sustainable place for its people. The co-investment made by both countries in supporting joint research activities has risen from £1m in 2009 to around £200m today and continues to grow apace.”
Mei-kwei Barker, Director, British Council South India said, “The British Council’s global reach and commitment to building strong international relationships enables us to better support Science. Through the Newton Bhabha Fund we will use the UK’s strengths in research and innovation to support greater scientific research capacity in India and build research partnerships between British and India research institutions. We hope that the skills and knowledge developed through this partnership will make a significant contribution to various fields underpinning science.”
Dr Vasanthakumari, Director, Polymer NanoTechnology Centre, B.S. Abdur Rahman University said, “This Indo-UK workshop is focused on the most important societal issue of providing clean drinking water through affordable materials and nanotechnology. Experts and thought leaders from UK and India are drawn for fruitful deliberations and discussions that would pave way to come up with cost - effective solutions in meeting the present day challenge of providing affordable clean water to the socially and economically deprived millions of people in India and thereby strengthen the research ties between the two countries.”
The Royal Society of Chemistry and British Council in India (part of the UK Government) – have a partnership of over INR 20 million (£200,000 GBP) to deliver six Newton-Bhabha Fund Researcher Links Workshops in 2016, under their Researcher Links scheme. The partnership is aimed to open up opportunities for chemists in partner countries and the UK to build strong and sustainable relationships, enabling knowledge exchange, as well as skills and career development – areas that are important for sustainable development.
Leading universities from the UK (Cambridge, Nottingham and Cardiff) and India (IIT Delhi, IIT Madras and IIT Mandi) will contribute to the workshops that will take place in India. These workshops will be focussed on varied chemical sciences topics such as Human health (e.g. antimicrobial resistance, neglected diseases, medicinal chemistry, bio-materials); Energy (e.g. sustainable fuels, chemicals and energy storage) and Environment & Sustainability – e.g. new materials, nanomaterials, water quality, climate, agriculture, and air).