India investment to boost UK drug discoveries

9 Nov 2016 03:13 PM

The Indian Department of Science and Technology has invested £2 million into the UK’s ISIS neutron and muon source facility to enable the development of a new instrument that will provide insights into how drugs interact with the body as well as helping us understand the properties of important industrial materials, including polymers, emulsions, metals and alloys.

Funded through India’s Nano Mission programme this investment from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), will enable the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) ISIS team to complete development of the new Zoom instrument ahead of schedule. The financial commitment between STFC and JNCASR extends over the next five years and will enable UK researchers to benefit sooner from access to Zoom. The investment also gives Indian scientists access to the entire portfolio of instruments at the UK’s ISIS neutron and muon source.

This new investment is one of a series of joint UK/India research initiatives worth up to £80 million that were announced today by the UK Science Minister, Jo Johnson and Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, India. They were announced during the India-UK Tech Summit being held in New Delhi and attended by UK and Indian Prime Ministers Theresa May and Narendra Modi. The TECH Summit has brought together British and Indian science and technology experts and businesses to connect and explore the future of India-UK collaboration.

Speaking about these new collaborations UK Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

“The joint research programmes announced today show the depth and breadth of the relationship that exists between the UK and India. They will increase our collective knowledge, improve the lives of local people and help tackle some of the major infrastructure and environmental challenges that lie ahead.”

The two million pound investment in ISIS follows a visit to the STFC facility by Dr Harsh Vardhan earlier in the year. Professor Robert McGreevy, Director of the ISIS neutron and muon source, said: “We are very pleased to be announcing this partnership today. Together with support from the Newton Bhabha fund it will enable us to build capacity and capability to develop advanced technologies that address global challenges in areas such as energy and food security.”

Professor V. Nagaraja, President of JNCASR said he was very pleased that this partnership between two premier institutions and the scientists of both the countries has taken shape. He commented:  “This development is a giant leap in our collaboration in frontier areas of science benefitting the larger scientific community. The Indian researchers will be able to address more challenging questions through this neutron scattering facility”.

In particular, work with ISIS supports the Indian government’s Nano Mission launched in 2007, which aims to foster, promote and develop all aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology which have the potential to tackle global challenges. As part of the agreement there will be contributions to the development of neutron instrumentation at ISIS.

The earlier development of the Zoom instrument will be the first benefit to be seen from this collaboration. Focused on nanoscience, Zoom is one of four instruments being developed as part of a £21 million UK project which builds on a previous UK Government investment at ISIS of £145 million which built the second experimental hall Target Station Two.

The new investment also covers the travel and subsistence costs for new Indian user groups and allows for a number of Indian Post-Doc and PhD researchers to be based at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The RCUK press release on all of the projects announced today.

The BEIS/Newton press release.

Media Contacts

Jake Gilmore
STFC Media Manager

Notes to Editors

STFC and India

The commitment between the JNCASR and STFC’s ISIS neutron and muon beam facility builds on a long standing partnership between India and ISIS. India first invested in the ISIS facility back in 1983, and was the facility’s first international partner. Since then work resulting from the co-operation has ranged from collaborations with industrial giant Tata Steel who have used the Engin-X instrument to improve their products, to fundamental research into nanoparticles and superconductivity.

RCUK India

Since 2011, RCUK India has facilitated co-funded initiatives between the UK research councils, including STFC, India and third parties that have grown to over £200 million in joint research programmes supporting over 100 projects and including over 90 industry partners.

The UK research councils continue to build on these existing research collaborations with India and UK researchers, research facilities and research institutions will carry on working together solving the numerous pressing challenges that face both countries.

STFC’s ISIS Neutron and Muon facility

ISIS is a world-leading centre for research in the physical and life sciences at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford in the United Kingdom. Our suite of neutron and muon instruments gives unique insights into the properties of materials on the atomic scale.

ISIS supports a national and international community of more than 3000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology and materials engineering, catalysis and polymers, and on to fundamental studies of materials.

ISIS instrument - Zoom