UK-India network to promote research

Megha Prakash

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.134 Published online 14 September 2012

Four Bangalore-based academic bodies have forged research collaborations with UK's University of Cambridge to further innovative research in the areas of drug discovery, water, food security and energy. The four — Indian Institute of Science (IISc), National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) — have formed the Cambridge Bangalore Innovation Network (CBIN), launched last evening (September 13, 2012) in Bangalore.

The idea to formulate the forum was conceived in April last year when a team of Indian delegates visited the UK.

British Deputy High Commissioner at Bangalore Ian Felton said about 800 crore rupees had been pumped in the last four years as joint funding towards research programmes. The network shall help replicate the Cambridge model of commercializing research, he said.

Three parallel panel discussions were held to design the blue print for the network at the inaugural session. Over 300 delegates both from the UK and Indian institutes participated in the meet.

As part of the network, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will fund a new initiative for chemical biology and molecular therapeutics in the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) in collaboration with the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS). Support from multiple sources including the DBT will provide approximately 940 million rupees to establish the initiative.

Researchers in the initiative will combine methods from genetics, chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry and imaging to understand the alterations in cellular systems that underlie human diseases, and identify ways to correct them using drugs, a press release from NCBS said.

The initiative is expected to develop powerful new scientific approaches for the treatment of diseases like cancer, integrating expertise from the basic and clinical sciences in India. It will create a multidisciplinary environment for training young researchers and physicians in the translation of fundamental research to clinical application.

The new initiative is the result of a collaboration at inStem and NCBS in Bangalore and the University of Cambridge. It began in September 2011 when Cambridge University's Vice-Chancellor Leszek Borysiewicz signed a memorandum of understanding with the inStem and NCBS.