Ensuring food security: India & UK sign cooperation agreement on crop science

The agreement between two nations can enhance collaborative research, promote knowledge exchange, and support capacity building to develop resilience in food security

The Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Dr. K. Vijay Raghavan and the Vice Chancellor University of Cambridge Sir Leszek Borysiewicz exchanging the signed documents of an MoU between Department of Bio Technology and UK Institutions including Cambridge University for establishing Joint UK- India collaborations in the field of crop sciences, in New Delhi on February 23, 2016.

The Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, and a consortium of top UK research institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on February 24, 2016 for the establishment of a joint India-UK collaboration programme in crop science at Prithvi Bhawan, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.

The agreement was signed by Professor K VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, Vice Chancellor, Cambridge University and Nafees Meah on behalf of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) of UK.

It was also signed by representatives from the National Institute for Agricultural Botany (NIAB), in Cambridge; the John Innes Centre and the University of East Anglia, in Norwich; and Rothamsted Research.

The MoU was signed in the presence of India’s Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan, and the Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Mr Y S Chowdhary.

“This collaboration builds on the close links already established between leading researchers in the United Kingdom and India and is another great example of both countries’ commitment to growing our partnerships in translational and applied research,” said Professor Leszek Borysiewicz, VC, Univ of Cambridge.

K. VijayRaghavan elaborated, “The United Kingdom has been a long-standing partner with the Government of India in Science and Technology, a collaboration that has grown from strength to strength. On the foundation of this excellence we are delighted to take a very new and very important direction in crop science. Our partners are the best in the UK and together we can be the best anywhere, working together to address a key global problem.”

“This collaboration will create opportunities for leading experts in the UK and India to come together to tackle global challenges in the areas of food security, crop science and biotechnology,” he added.

All parties agreed on the importance of crop science as an area of enormous potential for scientific collaboration, and of great importance for global food security in India and beyond.

The agreement foresees joint projects focusing on the fundamental science underpinning yield enhancement, disease resistance and drought resistance; research into crop re-breeding; and the translation of fundamental research into sustainable agriculture practice.

It also contemplates the establishment of a joint Indo-UK Plant Science Centre in India.