Science and innovation are a critical input to the prosperity and sustainable growth of a country. They ensure that the country can meet emerging challenges ranging from water-energy demands and natural disasters, to climate change and public health. Countries require an excellent research base with the right infrastructure and skilled people to generate solutions to such challenges. International collaborations are an excellent way to develop research and knowledge, nurture new capabilities, encourage new ideas and foster new opportunities to support growth.
The United Kingdom and India have longstanding research ties that function through a variety of mechanisms. In 2014, the UK has set up the Newton Fund to develop science and innovation partnerships that promote the economic development and welfare with a number of countries. In India, this partnership takes the form of the Newton Bhabha Fund, which is operationalised through a core group of Delivery Partners including Research Councils UK. The Newton Bhabha Fund augments existing research collaboration with India to jointly deliver innovative solutions to global development challenges.
The Sustainable Cities and Rapid Urbanisation thematic area which this report addresses, was identified by the UK-India Task Force Meeting held in February 2014. It was further endorsed by the UK-India Science and Innovation Council in November 2014, at which the ministers of the two countries signed the Newton-Bhabha Fund Memorandum of Understanding.