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Business News 2009
Business News->India, UK must push back frontiers of research: Lord Mandelson
India, UK must push back frontiers of research: Lord Mandelson

18 December 2009

Lord MandelsonUK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said today that India and the UK must work together to push back the frontiers of research with scientists collaborating in areas such as food and energy security. The Business Secretary will visit one of India’s most prestigious universities, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, which celebrates its centenary this year. He will also be launching a lecture series that will opened by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge Professor Alison Richards next year, and will include lectures from professors from Oxford, Leicester and Edinburgh universities among others.

Lord Mandelson, who began a visit to India today, said: "In a world faced by many global challenges, from energy supply to combating infectious diseases and global warming, we all rely on global research collaboration. The strong tradition of excellence in the UK and India make us natural partners for the joint activities that will secure a brighter future for everyone.”

“The IISc-UK lecture series is a key example of the activities we need to bring our best minds together to tackle these challenges and to push back the frontiers of research," the Business Secretary said.

The UK and India already have good cooperation in research with over 50,000 Indian students studying every year in the UK, and many UK students and researchers studying in India. Joint areas of research include solar energy, bioenergy, healthcare, early warning systems for natural disasters, sustainable agriculture and cybersecurity. Almost half a billion people in India are under the age of 15, and education has been identified by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) as one of the key opportunities for UK firms in a market which registered GDP growth of almost 8% last quarter.

The UK’s bilateral trade with India is worth £12.6bn. The UK is the biggest European investor in India and India last year overtook Japan to become the biggest Asian investor in the UK. Over 600 Indian firms are represented in the UK, of which about two thirds are in information technology or software. Last year alone, almost 4,000 new jobs were created in the UK by Indian investment.

UK-India research factfile

Although the UK has only one per cent of the world’s population, it produces eight per cent of the world’s scientific publications, which in turn receive over eleven per cent of the world’s citations.

The Indian Government plans to triple public spending on science and technology between 2007-2012 to reach two per cent of GDP. In 2009-10 alone, Indian government expenditure on research and development (R&D) will exceed £3.5 billion.

Partnerships include:

The University of Leeds, the IISc and the Indian agricultural research institute, in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) are looking at new crops and how to fight plant parasites.

BioPharm 2020: The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Nottingham University and Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur are working together on target identification, drug discovery, drug delivery and manufacturing. Bioenergy: Aston University and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi are looking at bioenergy technology and business solutions for both countries. They will grow biomass using wasteland and wastewater in order to provide energy for heating in the UK and energy for cold storage and food processing in India.

i2india ventures: The Indian arm of Imperial Innovations (Imperial College), is working in partnership with research and innovation centres to create an eco-system for early stage technology commercialisation. Using the proven business models of Imperial Innovations, they are trying to help fill the gaps often encountered by Indian inventors and entrepreneurs in early pursuits. i2india have committed to fund Indian projects over the coming years. So far, they have raised about $10 million to be used for funding, and have identified 6 scientists from to commercialise their ideas in healthcare, clean tech and product engineering areas.

The IISc-UK lecture series: To commemorate 100 years of the IISc, the Research Councils UK Office in India, UK Science and Innovation Network and the Indian Institute of Science are presenting a high profile lecture series which will be delivered in India throughout 2010. The series will showcase the cutting edge research undertaken by UK academics and link it to the various challenges facing the world today, from water security to the importance of university-led innovation to global economic health.

About UK Trade & Investment (UKTI)

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government organisation that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information please visit

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