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UK’s Chief Scientific Adviser visits India to discuss Science and Innovation Policy

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi stands on stage during an event at Wembley Stadium, in London, November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett - RTS6UE0

New Delhi, Nov.19 : The United Kingdom’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Mark Walport, will be visiting India today and tomorrow to deepen collaboration around science and innovation – one of the central pillars of the UK-India Bilateral relationship.

During his two-day visit to New Delhi, Sir Mark will focus on discussions around UK-India Science and Innovation policy, celebrate bilateral research investments crossing the £200m barrier and deepen the science and innovation relationship between both our countries.

Speaking ahead of his visit, Sir Mark Walport said: “Our science and research collaborations are helping India’s transformational agenda and to build our partnerships tackling global challenges such as Antimicrobial Resistance, Food Security, and much more. My visit underlines the strength of our research investments that are now hitting the £200m mark and working towards world-class collaborations through the Newton-Bhabha fund.”

During the visit, Sir Mark will meet the Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Prof. Ashutosh Sharma. Together they will co-chair the UK -India Science and Innovation Policy Dialogue where senior officials from the Indian Government and UK science and innovation policy leads will participate.

Sir Mark will also be the Guest of Honour at the Indian Government’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Research Councils UK reception showcasing the impact of the UK’s partnership with India in science and innovation as well as marking DBT’s 30th anniversary.

He will also attend a UK-India smart cities roundtable on Friday 20 November. Developing smart cities is a key priority for India’s transformational agenda and the UK is supporting three cities in India (Amaravati, Indore and Pune) develop their smart city plans. This roundtable will discuss the challenge areas like energy, mobility, and how UK-India Research and Innovation can deliver solutions.

Sir Walport is the Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science. Previously, Sir Mark was Director of the Wellcome Trust, which is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health by supporting the brightest minds.

Before joining the Trust he was Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Medicine at Imperial College London. He is Co-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and has been a member of this since 2004.

He has also been a member of the India UK CEO Forum, the UK India Round Table and the advisory board of Infrastructure UK and a non-executive member of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research. He is a member of a number of international advisory bodies.

He has undertaken independent reviews for the UK Government on the use and sharing of personal information in the public and private sectors.

The UK ranks third in co-authored publications with India over the last decade but is the only country in the top four with a growing proportion of the total.

It has 79 Nobel Prize winners in science and technology and are responsible for some of the world’s greatest discoveries, from the structure of DNA, the world-wide web to the discovery of Higgs-Boson.

The UK is the leading G20 country in the ‘2014 Global Innovation Index’, one in five of the UK labour force work in science-based roles.

The UK-India Newton Bhabha Programme started in November 2014 and is laying the foundation for ongoing collaboration between UK and India and seeking opportunities from across the spectrum of the research and innovation relationship i.e. capacity building, research projects to taking them to commercialization stage. UK allocated 50 million pounds over five years to the fund with matched resources from the Government of India.

The highly successful UKIERI (UK-India Education Research Initiative) has been extended for 5 years to deepen our educational and research partnership. Since 2006 UKIERI has supported 25,000 exchanges of academic staff and students with over 35 million young people benefitting through ‘train the trainer’ UKIERI programmes. (ANI)