THE NEWTON-BHABHA fund, which promotes science and innovation partnerships between the UK and key international partners including India, has been extended with a commitment to provide more funds. UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox was in the city and interacted with scientists and researchers at the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (ICUAA) on Wednesday. He agreed to scale up the bilateral relationship for research and innovation to a greater level.
Fox is here as part of a delegation led by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is on her first overseas trip, to discuss trade opportunities India’s rapidly growing economy as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
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Professor Somak Raychowdhury, Director of IUCAA told media there has been a special interest in the LIGO-India project. LIGO-India is a planned advanced gravitational wave observatory that will be located in India. During Wednesday’s interaction, Fox spent time discussing the LIGO-India project and applauded the scientists’ ability.
He also said the process for acquiring instruments for scientific research from the UK would be streamlined. British institutes will be encouraged to collaborate with Indian researchers on developing specialized instruments. Apart from focusing on LIGO-India, Fox also interacted with scientists working with the ASTROSAT and Aditya L Mission projects.
Raychowdhury also pointed out that they were trying to see how students, especially at the post-doctoral level, could be involved in training and exchange programmes that will help look at innovative solutions for various challenges. Building up a talented pool of well trained, internationally active doctoral students is an essential step towards establishing world-class research systems, he said, adding that they discussed a bilateral student exchange programme.