UK launches £3 million innovation challenge fund in India

The UK government has launched a PS3 million innovation challenge fund in India to support scientists in academia and industry to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

“The fund invites tech innovators with connections to the AI-Data cluster in Karnataka and the future mobility cluster in Maharashtra to submit research and development proposals for tackling COVID-19 or which promote a greener planet. At least 12 grants up to PS250,000 are expected to be awarded,” the British High Commission, New Delhi said in a release on Monday.

Applicants are required to submit bids as an academia-industry consortium, ideally with an international member. The deadline for submitting two-page concept notes is August 31 and further details are available on the website.

The initiative builds on the Indian and British Prime Ministers’ commitment to bring together the best minds from both countries under the UK-India Tech Partnership, to deliver high-skilled jobs and economic growth as well as to collaborate on some of the world’s biggest challenges, according to the release.

Sir Philip Barton, High Commissioner to India, said, “The UK and India have a strong history of research and innovation. Both COVID-19 and climate change demonstrate that the most urgent challenges are global. Never has there been a greater need for academia, business and government to accelerate innovation and for nations to collaborate to save lives and build a better future.”

Karen McLuskie, Head, UK-India Tech Partnership, British High Commission said, “This fund aims to get behind the innovation heroes, whether they are working to battle the virus or the even greater looming global threat: climate change. We are proud to work with India, as twin world leaders in the development and adoption of emerging tech for the benefit of all.”

In April 2018, the Indian and British Prime Ministers announced the formal creation of the UK-India Tech Partnership. The programme aims to bring together the best minds working in tech to unlock its future potential and deliver high-skilled jobs and economic growth in both countries.

The key aim is to catalyse innovation and technology, which will address global challenges. This is part of the UK Industrial strategy, read the release.

These grants are part of a wider initiative under the tech partnership known as ‘Tech Clusters’, which will support the development of Indian tech clusters by breaking down barriers to growth, including building international links.

“The intent is to capitalise on regional and sectoral strengths in order to drive innovation-led inclusive growth,” the release said.

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