Imperial’s recent visit to India helped strengthen its connections through a new seed fund and scholarships, expert panels and events.
Leaders from Imperial visited Delhi and Bengaluru to meet partner institutions, government and industry leaders. Imperial also hosted alumni and student recruitment events during Imperial's most significant visit to the country in more than six years.
In Delhi, more than 70 alumni attended a special panel event on quantum science which featured India’s National Quantum Mission lead Dr Akhilesh Gupta.
Speaking at the event, he said: “India and the UK have been very strong collaborators and the UK was in fact the first country after India’s independence to become a collaborator in science and technology. We have a very rich relationship and close collaboration. It’s heartening to see India has so many alumni of Imperial.”
Dr Gupta spoke alongside Imperial’s Provost and founder of quantum startup, ORCA Computing, Professor Ian Walmsley and Vice Provost (Education and Student Experience) and Director of Imperial’s QuEST initiative, Professor Peter Haynes. The panel session was moderated by Sarah Fallon the UK government’s Director of Science and Innovation for India.
Imperial’s Provost and Vice Provost updated the gathered alumni on some of the new projects and initiatives at Imperial, such as the new seed fund and scholarship programmes and existing projects with IISc Bangalore. Professor Walmsley also celebrated the fact that the trip to India was coinciding with the Cricket World Cup - and noted Imperial’s surprising influence on the game. During the evening Imperial’s leaders heard from many alumni who shared news on what they have been doing since graduating from Imperial.
Professor Walmsley said: "The Imperial Alumni community is a force for good in the world – our amazing global network of over 240,000 alumni is a great way, not just to stay in touch with us, but also with one another. Thank you all for your individual and collective efforts over the years that have strengthened the bonds between Imperial and India, and provided fellowship and support among our alumni."
Ranvir Puri (MBA 1994), who leads alumni activity in Delhi and now runs an education software startup, said: "Imperial was the platform that helped me launch my career and integrate my business skills with computing skills. If you're passionate about bringing about change...Imperial is a great place to be if you want to be a leader in the future."
New Seed Fund
Imperial marked the start of the trip by announcing a pioneering seed fund for ‘game-changing’ ideas. The India Connect Fund will award grants to nurture and grow connections between scientists at Imperial and in India.
Professor Walmsley said: “Our new India Connect Fund looks to build on these strong ties by enabling the best scientists in India to work even more closely with colleagues at Imperial on cutting-edge research in health, climate and sustainability.”
Biggest ever scholarship programme
At a special launch event at the British Council in Delhi, Imperial formally opened its new Future Leaders Scholarship programme, which will support 30 of India’s most talented Master’s students over the next three years.
The programme is Imperial’s most significant ever funding commitment for Indian students and at least half of the scholarships will support women scholars.
Speaking at the event in New Delhi, Professor Haynes said: "The Future Leaders Scholarship will build a pathway for the most talented students in India to deepen their studies and expand their experiences at one of the world’s top universities.”
Alongside the new Future Leaders scholarship programme, Imperial has also signed a new partnership with the UK Government’s Chevening Scholarships programme which will provide full funding for an additional three Master’s scholars from India over the next three years.
During the trip, Imperial’s Provost and Vice Provost met with Alex Ellis, British Higher Commissioner to India, and the British Council’s Director Alison Barrett and Deputy Director Michael Houlgate to discuss the new seed fund and scholarship programmes.
During the trip Imperial’s leaders met with their counterparts at IIT Delhi to discuss ways to further strengthen links between two institutions. IIT Delhi's academics gave an overview of the institute's structure and detailed some of their enterprise work and how they were developing startups. Professor Peter Haynes also gave a special guest seminar and Q&A with dozens of IIT’s promising young scientists.
Imperial and partners in India have strong collaborations in areas such as health, climate and sustainability. This was demonstrated earlier in the year when India’s Minister of Science Dr Jitendra Singh and the Indian government’s Principal Scientific Advisor Professor Ajay Sood visited Imperial to see some of the research into oceans, carbon capture and space science. Professors Walmsley and Haynes met with Professor Sood in New Delhi to discuss some of the priority areas of research that India and Imperial will be focusing on in the coming years.
They also met with leaders from the George Institute for Global Health India, which Imperial recently established a new centre with - the NIHR Global Health Research Centre on Non-Communicable Diseases and Environmental Change. The Centre will work to tackle the dual challenge of a rapidly growing burden of non-communicable diseases and global environmental change in low- and middle-income countries.
Continuing the trip in Bengaluru; Imperial met with leaders from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, one of Imperial's closest collaborators in India.
Two years ago, Imperial set up a joint seed fund with IISc Bangalore which is now in the second round of grant awards.
Experts from Imperial and IISc are working together on a wide range of innovative projects from the development of next-generation, human-integrated electronics, to new ways of monitoring biodiversity using artificial intelligence (AI). Professor Walmsley gave a guest lecture at IISc Bangalore to their physics students.
Imperial’s leaders also met with academics from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and the Raman Research Institute.
Professors Walmsley and Haynes also met with Chandru Iyer, Deputy High Commissioner to Karnataka and Kerala, to discuss the ways in which Imperial and its partners in India can support the science, education and innovation ambitions of the 2030 UK-India Roadmap and help build strong links between the next generation of UK and Indian scientists.
In Bengaluru Imperial hosted an alumni event for dozens of Imperial's former students. Professor Haynes spoke about Imperial’s growing links with India.
Professor Haynes said: “India has been one of Imperial’s closest international partners for decades. Our scientists are working with academic and government partners in Chennai and Puducherry to understand the link between antibiotics and manufacturing waste. Imperial academics have also partnered with various IITs to research wastewater treatment, urban planning and manufacturing.”
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