New agreement will lead to the creation of a new programme of early-career fellowships.

This is another great example of Cambridge’s commitment to enhancing its engagement with India...

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz

India’s Minister of State for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, YS Chowdary, visited the University of Cambridge to witness the signing of a Letter of Intent between the University and India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

The agreement will lead to the creation of a new programme of early-career fellowships, funded jointly by the University of Cambridge and by the DBT, to support research and innovation projects in collaboration with Indian partner institutions.

Mr Chowdary arrived at the University leading a delegation interested in learning about the Cambridge innovation cluster –in particular, about the links between university research and its commercialisation, with a specific emphasis on biotechnology and medical biology.

The visit, held on May 22, also offered an opportunity for the Minister of State to discuss ways of fostering partnerships between Cambridge and India’s leading research institutions, and of creating new opportunities for joint research.

Following a stopover at the Babraham Institute, and a tour of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus led by Professor Ashok Venkitaraman, Director of the MRC Cancer Unit, Mr Chowdary arrived in the city centre for a roundtable discussion involving Professor Venkitaraman; Professor Chris Lowe, Emeritus Professor of Engineering and Biotechnology; Professor Duncan Maskell, Head of the School of Biological Sciences; and Professor Sir Mike Gregory, Director of the Institute for Manufacturing.

Later, the Minister of State met with the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz. During the meeting, the Vice-Chancellor signed the Letter of Intent on behalf of the University.

Also attending were Dr Shailja V Gupta, the DBT’s Director of International Cooperation, and Professor Dinakar Salunke, Executive Director of the Regional Centre for Biotechnology, in Faridabad.

One of the main objectives of the Letter of Intent is to establish a programme of 5-year fellowships for early-career researchers from the University of Cambridge.  Under the terms of the agreement, academics participating in the scheme will be jointly appointed by the DBT and Cambridge. They are expected to spend two years in Cambridge and three years at a partner institution in India carrying out translational research, with a focus on commercialisation and entrepreneurship.

The Letter of Intent also makes reference to a shared interest in the establishment of a centre for crop sciences, and to Cambridge plans for the establishment of a wholly-owned not-for-profit subsidiary in India to support wider collaborative research between Cambridge and Indian Institutions.

Speaking after the signing ceremony, the Vice-Chancellor said: “We are delighted to be partners of India’s Department of Biotechnology in establishing these fellowships. We are also very eager to support the DBT’s plans for the development of India’s research ecosystems through closer links between universities and industry. This is another great example of Cambridge’s commitment to enhancing its engagement with India in ways that will strengthen the capacity for translational and applied research in both India and the United Kingdom.”

Photo Credit: Natalie Glasberg. The University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz signs the Letter of Intent with India’s Minister of State for Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, YS Chowdary.

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