India and Turkey are prime examples where investment in science, technology and innovation has become a major component of emerging economies. I was fortunate to make short visits to both of these countries last week to see these developments for myself.
India has several well-funded science collaborations with the UK facilitated by the Science and Innovation Network and organised by Research Councils UK. This includes research on global problems like solar energy and water technology.
In Delhi I visited several government science leaders including Ashwani Kumar (Minister of State for Science and Technology – see the picture below of my meeting with him), Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan (leading space scientist and Member of the Indian Planning Commission) and Thirumalachari Ramasami (Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology). We discussed future projects and the UK-India Science Council to be held next year.
I also co-launched the UK-India Developing Talent in the Chemical Sciences Report which was produced by the Royal Society of Chemistry. This was held at the Indian Institute of Technology and emphasised how to develop opportunities for early-career UK and Indian chemists during the International Year of Chemistry.
I then flew to Istanbul where I spoke at the launch of the UK-Turkey Knowledge Partnership by BIS Secretary of State Vince Cable at the impressive Sabanci University. Turkey is emerging very quickly in science and technology and is providing excellent opportunities for UK science-related businesses – at the launch, representatives from companies such as Rolls Royce, GSK and BAE Systems were also present. It was also very good to hear about the substantial engagement Turkey is having with the EU Framework Science Programme.
I came away from these visits impressed with the essential role of science and technology in India and Turkey and the excellent opportunities for enhancing collaborative research between the UK and these rapidly emerging countries.