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Science Minister announces major UK-India Newton Fund research investments worth up to £80 million and £1 million Newton Prize for 2017

8 November 2016

  • New UK-India Newton Fund programmes worth £80 million to address challenges including water quality; women and children’s health; and anti-microbial resistance.
  • UK Science Minister confirms that this takes joint investment in the UK-India Newton Fund partnership to up to £200 million by 2021 
  • Annual £1 million Newton Prize launched for 2017 to reward the best science and innovation in supporting public health and wellbeing in India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Jo Johnson making the announcements at the UK-India TECH Summit

 

The UK Science Minister has today announced a series of research programmes from the Newton Fund worth up to £80 million to address global societal challenges affecting people living in India.

The investments were announced during an event at the UK-India TECH Summit – India’s premier science and technology showcase – in New Delhi. The UK and Indian Prime Ministers Theresa May and Narendra Modi have attended the TECH Summit, which has brought together British and Indian science and technology experts and businesses to connect and explore the future of UK-India collaboration. 

The new programmes take the total joint UK-India investment in research programmes through the Newton Fund to up to £200 million by 2021, demonstrating the Fund as a major bilateral initiative in India for facilitating research and innovation collaborations. It brings together the world class excellence of the UK and India to address global challenges through the application of science and technology.

Jo Johnson announced a number of the new UK-India Newton Fund programmes at the Education, Science and Innovation Futures event on 8th November, which was attended by world-leading scientists and senior research policy leaders. These were: 

  • A £16 million programme to support commercially focused research and development partnerships that bring innovative biotechnologies to market for cleaning, processing and using industrial waste streams (Research Councils UK (RCUK)).
  • A £8.4 million programme to improve water quality (RCUK).
  • A £7.4 million programme on Energy Demand Reduction in the Built Environment to improve health and wellbeing, and lower energy costs for building users (RCUK). 
  • Launch of Phase 2 (£12.6 million) of Global Research Programme in Women and Children’s Health between the UK and India to study reproductive health issues facing women and their unborn children in low and middle income countries (RCUK). [Funding includes: £4.3 million from Newton Fund and £2 million from DFID, matched by India]. 
  • A £13 million UK-India research programme to strengthen the global fight against anti-microbial resistance, announced during the opening of the first RCUK-DBT Strategic Group on AMR on 9th November (RCUK).
  • Fourth call (worth £1.6 million) on Joint Industrial R&D in areas of on clean energy, healthcare, ICT to support novel commercial solutions (Innovate UK). 

Other new UK-India Newton Fund programmes will be delivered by other UK delivery partners, including the British Council and the UK Academies, in collaboration with Indian partners.

During the event, Jo Johnson launched the first annual £1 million Newton Prize, which will recognises the Newton Fund's best science or innovation that promote the economic development and social welfare of partner countries. For 2017, the Prize is open to existing Newton Fund programmes in India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam which focus on the grand societal challenge of public health and wellbeing, covering issues such as anti-microbial resistance, disease, healthcare, and nutrition.

The Minister also celebrated a major programme to digitise the vast wealth of Indian printed books held by the British Library dating from 1713 to 1914. Two Centuries of Indian Print - a British Library project funded by the Newton Fund through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) – has been extended to digitise an addition 3,000 books from the collection, meaning that 4,000 early Bengali books will be digitised and made accessible to researchers around the world as part of the project.

Jo Johnson said: "The future of science and innovation depends on collaboration and India continues to be a vital science partner for the UK. Through the Newton Fund we’re working together to improve the lives of millions across the world and we are continuing to look at opportunities to expand this partnership to include funding for social science and humanities programmes.”


ENDS

Notes to Editors

  1. Further information about these new programmes is available from Research Councils UK and Innovate UK. 
  2. The Newton Fund builds science and innovation partnerships with 16 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK Government investment of £735 million up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries. 

    The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and delivered through 15 UK Delivery Partners, which include the Research Councils, the UK Academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office. 

    For further information visit the Newton Fund website (www.newtonfund.ac.uk) and follow via Twitter: @NewtonFund