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Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt speaks at UCL's South Asia Regional Network

25 October 2016

Members of UCL’s South Asia network heard about new opportunities to collaborate in India during the latest regional network meeting.

Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt addresses UCL's South Asia Regional Network…

The Rt. Hon Patricia Hewitt spoke to members of UCL’s South Asia network of new opportunities to collaborate in India during the latest regional network meeting.

Patricia, currently chair of the UK-India Business Council (UKIBC), talked about India's increased importance for the UK, post-Referendum, and spoke of opportunities and challenges for academics to engage with it as ‘the most exciting knowledge economy in the world’.

UKIBC is a business-to-business network, partly funded by the UK government, that encourages collaboration between the two countries.

Emerging opportunities

Network members asked questions about a range of contemporary topics, including how UCL could tap into corporate social responsibility opportunities in India, the best approach to leveraging government funding to scale up research projects, and access to open data.

With India as the world's largest growing economy, Patricia described the country's “extraordinary ability to innovate”, adding: “India is a compelling opportunity for British businesses – or it should be, and that’s part of the challenge.

"For a British business that wants to be world class, they need to be partnering with India and tapping in to India’s talent. You will learn so much as you adapt your own ways of thinking. In doing that you will create better products and processes to sell into new markets, beyond India and the UK. This is going to be a crunch issue for any free trade agreement between the UK and India.”

UCL collaborations

UCL currently enjoys more than 100 collaborations in India. Earlier this year the Senior Management Team approved a proposal for ‘incremental growth’ in the country to expand our work with partners there.

Other areas presented during the meeting were Professor Orazio Hortensio’s research into child healthcare interventions in rural India, for which he was this month awarded a research prize, to a recent visit to Gujarat by Professor Lall, Professor Monica Lakhanpaul and Dr Priti Parikh.

Next month, a UCL delegation will join the India-UK TECH summit in New Delhi to explore further opportunities for partnership.

Patricia previously served as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry as well as Secretary of State for Health. She is an active supporter of Katha, a ‘profit for all’ social enterprise transforming the lives of children and their families in Delhi’s slums, and in 2014 received the Dadabhai Naoroji award for her contribution to economic ties between the UK and India.

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