India, UK to work together as R&D partners in Solar Energy and Nano Material Research

India and UK

India and UK have agreed to work together in two major initiatives in the fields of Solar Energy and Nano Material Research..Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan announced about the initiative after the 5th Indo-UK Science and Innovation Council Meeting (SIC).

SIC is the apex body which oversees the entire gamut of the India-UK science, technology and innovation cooperation and meets once in two years.

Harsh Vardhan informed that as a part of the commitment to the Solar Alliance, the India-UK networked Centre on Solar Energy would be established. It would be linked to India’s renewable energy mission and UK’s Supergens Programme.

 The research projects will focus on systems level design and development covering solar energy generation, storage systems and grid integration particularly for micro-grid systems. India would be investing Rs.50 crores over a period of five years with matching contribution from Research Council UK (RCUK) under the Newton-Bhabha Programme.

As a result of this strengthening of the Indo-UK Science & Technology cooperation, the SIC announced access to Indian researchers to the Neutron Scattering facility of the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxford. This unique facility, based on the use of neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy, is a world class facility at Oxford to carry out fundamental research on understanding a wide range of matter at the fundamental level. This will help to enhance Indian capability to fabricate structures at Nano scale level for creating interesting and technologically important materials through research in fundamental science. As a part of the Nano mission program, the Department of Science & Technology would be investing Rs.26.5 crores.

The Minister also noted that the Ministry of Earth Sciences of Government of India and Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), UK are working on large observational campaign involving UK aircraft, Indian ships accompanied by surface observations primarily to address role of small scale processes to address variability of Indian monsoon leading to improved prediction of monsoon from short range to seasonal time scale.

 Both nations have also agreed to address a gamut of societal challenges in the fields of food, energy and water security; health and well-being; smart cities and rapid urbanization with increasing access and sharing of expertise, resources and facilities. The cooperation is aimed to yield high quality and high impact research outputs having industrial relevance, targeted towards addressing societal needs.

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