India gets access to British lab’s neutron facility

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2016 19:05 IST
File photo of science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan talking to Bihar health minister Ramdhani Singh. (PTI Photo)

Britain agreed to give Indian researchers access to the neutron scattering facility of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire during science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan’s visit.

Vardhan, who participated in the fifth India-UK Science and Innovation Council Meeting here during his two-day visit, told reporters the access will immensely benefit India. India will invest Rs 26.5 crore as part of the nano mission programme of the science and technology department .

It was also decided to set up an India-UK Networked Centre for solar energy linked to India’s renewable energy mission and Britain’s Supergen Program. For this, India will invest Rs 50 crore over five years, with a matching contribution from the Research Council UK under the Newton-Bhabha program.

“As the leader of the international solar alliance, India will set up its headquarters in New Delhi. Britain is also the partner country for the technology summit in New Delhi in November,” Vardhan told journalists at the Indian high commission.

Referring to the June 23 referendum on Britain’s future in the European Union, Vardhan said it is a matter for the British people to decide. But given the follow-ups and commitment from the British side over the past two years, he did not see any hurdles in continuing cooperation, whatever the outcome of the referendum.

Vardhan said under the Newton-Bhabha program, the two sides had agreed on a collaborative program on energy efficiency in built environment as a part of the “Smart Cities” mission.

“The ministry of earth sciences, India and NERC-UK are working on large observational campaign involving UK aircraft and Indian ships accompanied by surface observations primarily to address the role of small scale processes to address variability of the Indian monsoon, leading to improved prediction of monsoon from short range to seasonal time scale,” he said. 

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