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Cambridge and India

 

Cambridge's research activities with India cover a wide spectrum of disciplines and research areas. An overview of Cambridge's research in India is available in a special issue of the University's research magazine, Research Horizons.

 

DBT-Cambridge Lectureships

To support collaborative research in India and Cambridge, the University has established five 5-year fixed-term early career lectureships, co-funded by the University of Cambridge and the Government of India Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

The five holders of the new lectureships, who took up their posts in September 2016, will develop significant research collaborations between Cambridge and Indian partners in the fields of plant sciences, genetics, genomics, and biomedical engineering. The DBT-Cambridge lecturers will spend two years at Cambridge and three years at the partner institution in India.

The agreement to establish the DBT-Cambridge Lectureships was signed in May 2015 during a visit to Cambridge by the Indian Minister of State for Science & Technology.

 

Crop Science

The University of Cambridge is leading a cluster of pre-eminent crop science institutions in the East of England working with the Government of India Department of Biotechnology (DBT) on a major UK-India collaboration in crop science. A memorandum of understanding was signed in New Delhi in February 2016 between DBT, the University of Cambridge, NIAB, the John Innes Centre, the University of East Anglia, Rothamsted Research and BBSRC.

The collaboration fulfils a pledge made by the Prime Ministers of the UK and India in November 2015. The Joint Prime Ministerial Statement recognised that climate change and its impact on agriculture are serious challenges confronting the world. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the establishment of a joint India-UK collaboration in crop sciences which will bring together the best UK institutes with BBSRC and DBT to address the fundamental plant science underpinning yield enhancement, disease and drought resistance, and translation of research into sustainable agriculture; and will lead to the establishment of a joint Indo-UK Plant Science Centre in India.

The collaboration brings together Europe’s leading cluster for plant science research and agritech with partners in India, to tackle the global challenges of sustainable agriculture and food security through joint research projects, grand challenge programmes, workshops, symposia and the two-way exchange of researchers. The shared objectives are to advance world-leading crop science, and to translate the results of cutting-edge research into tangible benefits for farmers, consumers and our environment.

 

Centre for Chemical Biology and Therapeutics

Supported by grants from the Vice-Chancellor's Endowment Fund and the Cambridge-Hamied Visiting Lecture Scheme, Professor Ashok Venkitaraman (Joint Director, MRC Cancer Cell Unit) developed an institutional partnership with colleagues in Bangalore to establish the Centre for Chemical Biology and Therapeutics (CCBT).

CCBT is a new research centre based at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in partnership with the Institute for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine (InStem). It was established in 2013 with £11 million of Indian Government funding as the Indian partner to the Cambridge Molecular Therapeutics Programme at the MRC Cancer Cell Unit. Professor Venkitaraman is Adjunct Director of CCBT.

Researchers at CCBT will combine methods from genetics, chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry and imaging to understand the alterations in cellular systems that underlie human diseases, and identify ways to correct them using drugs. The initiative is expected to develop powerful new scientific approaches for the treatment of diseases like cancer, integrating expertise from the basic and clinical sciences in India. It will create a multidisciplinary environment for training young researchers and physicians in the translation of fundamental research to clinical application.

 

Cambridge-Chennai Centre Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistant Tuberculosis

Since 2010, the University has developed a close working relationship with the Government of India Departments of Science and Technology (DST) and Biotechnology (DBT), through regular high-level meetings in India.

In 2014, discussions focussed on anti-microbial resistance (AMR). Four senior Cambridge academics joined the Vice-Chancellor and Pro-Vice-Chancellor at a UK-India round table on AMR in Bangalore, organised by the British Deputy High Commission. Following discussions with DST/DBT and the Indian Minister of Science & Technology, researchers from the Infectious Diseases Strategic Research Initiative submitted a bid with the National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis (Chennai) in response to a joint MRC-DBT Centre Partnership call in AMR.

In 2015, it was announced that the Cambridge–Chennai bid had been successful, winning funding for a joint centre in AMR tuberculosis research. A multidisciplinary team of international researchers, led by Professor Sharon Peacock and Dr Soumya Swaminathan, and including Professors Lalita Ramakrishnan, Ken Smith, Tom Blundell and Andres Floto, will focus on developing new diagnostic tools and treatments to address the sharp rise in cases of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis.

 

UK-India Education and Research Initiative

The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) began in 2006 with the aim of enhancing educational links between India and the UK. With the support of the International Strategy Office, Cambridge researchers have been increasingly developing collaborations with Indian partners.

As of 2015, the University is now the lead partner in nine UKIERI thematic partnerships in the fields of development studies, water security, sensors, health, food security, earth sciences, physics and engineering. Past UKIERI-funded programmes have included nanoscience and archaeology. The total value of UKIERI awards to Cambridge now exceeds £530,000.

The map below shows Cambridge-India UKIERI projects from 2008 to 2015.