New Delhi: India and the UK on Wednesday announced setting up of a 50 million-pound Newton-Bhabha Fund which will be used for multi-disciplinary cooperation in the fields of science, research and innovation between the two countries.
Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan said the programme aims to provide financial assistance to the best minds from both the countries in carrying out scientific research and innovation.
"Scientists, academicians, research scholars and administrators from both the countries have come forward to undertake joint-research activities for developing a scientific temper among the people.
"Newton-Bhabha Fund is a tribute to the famous icons of Homi J Bhabha and Sir Issac Newton from both the lands. The programme aims to provide 50 million pounds to the best minds of both the countries in addressing the global challenges through the application of science and technology," Vardhan said.
Delegates from both the countries deliberated on various issues at a meetimg of the 4th UK-India Science and Innovation Council and decided to go for joint PHD student mobility programme, new research projects in mental health and substance abuse among others.
"I hope this exciting new programme will deliver as much to global science as Newton and Bhabha. By working together to address big societal challenges, like sustainable cities, health, food, energy and water, the UK and India can deliver tangible benefits for our countries and the world," Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, British Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, said.
Calling the initiative as a "boon to young researchers", Vardhan said such efforts go a long way in encouraging students to take up science seriously.
"We are working on numerous student exchange programmes between the countries so that best of both the countries can be shared. Such initiatives help young researchers to pursue science with a new vigour," he said.
On being asked about his change of ministry in the recent Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vardhan said that he will always remain close to science and technology.
"I have always associated myself with science and technology. I am satisfied with my present ministry as I feel there is scope for doing more here. We will work towards making a cohesive environment for the scientists to work in the country," he said.