New Delhi: A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed for establishing a joint India-UK collaborative centre in crop-science. Aims and objectives of the centre are:-
• Establishment of a Research Centre located in India.
• Establishment of a joint fellowship programme in plant sciences to facilitate the exchange of PhD students and Postdoctoral researchers between the partnering UK and Indian institutions.
• Integration with continuing DBT-UK activities, such as the DBT-Cambridge Lectureships and the UK-India Virtual Joint Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen.
• Capacity building, leadership development and developing robust farmer outreach components.
The aim of the MoU is to develop a long term partnership between India and UK in Plant Sciences. Steps have been initiated and joint activities have commenced which are detailed below:-
• Joint Faculty Programme: The Department of Biotechnology in partnership with University of Cambridge, UK have initiated research-oriented lectureship programme at Cambridge University and a partner institute in India. The duration of lectureship is for a fixed term of five year of which three year of this will be in India and two year will be in University of Cambridge. Five applicants have been selected and are working under the joint unestablished post of Lectureship.
• Four India-UK Virtual Joint Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen have been established which will eventually integrate into the activities of Joint Plant Science Research Centre.
• Workshop Women Agriculture Scientists in Cambridge: This workshop was a direct result of the joint UK-India collaboration programme in crop science. Twenty five scientists in Agriculture were sent to Cambridge for a five day leadership training programme during 4th-10th September 2016.
“The Department of Biotechnology is looking to expand global partnership and will be open to signing of such MoU with other countries. Crop science is top priority of the country and negotiations are continuing with countries such as Australia, EU for establishing programmes in Agriculture and Plant Science,” informed the Minister of State for Science & Technology, Mr Y S Chowdary recently in the Parliament.