UCL strengthens commitment to engagement with India
6 December 2023
UCL built on its interdisciplinary connections with partners and unveiled new opportunities for Indian students during a recent delegation visit to India.
The delegation, led by Professor Geraint Rees, Vice-Provost (Research, Innovation & Global Engagement), and Kirsty Walker, Vice-President (External Engagement), visited New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai in November 2023 to meet academic and government partners, as well as prospective students and alumni.
During the trip, UCL launched a new Master’s scholarship scheme to support Indian students with an outstanding academic record to study at UCL and its first ever Summer School for pre-university students in the country.
Professor Rees and Kirsty Walker were accompanied by a delegation that included Professor Monica Lakhanpaul (Global Strategic Academic Advisor, India); Professor Jolene Skordis (Vice-Dean International, Faculty of Population Health Sciences); Professor John O’Regan (Vice-Dean International, IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society); Professor Priti Parikh (Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction); Professor Geoff Parker (Healthcare Engineering, Imaging and Enterprise); Dr Michael Collins (History) and colleagues from UCL Global Engagement and Student Recruitment.
The visit to India was the first institutional delegation since 2019, following the lifting of Covid-19 related travel restrictions.
Reaffirming commitment to research and education partnerships
The delegation visited valued partners including the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi), the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
In 2019, UCL established joint seed funds with IIT Delhi and AIIMS, and in 2021, with IISc. These funds aim to support UCL researchers in collaborating with their counterparts in India to co-create solutions for today’s most pressing challenges, particularly in the fields of health, engineering and space science.
The UCL team met with academic leaders and colleagues to discuss ways to strengthen and scale up existing research and education links, and toured campus sites where world-leading research is being conducted.
Exploring new opportunities for collaboration
In Mumbai, the delegation met with representatives from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), with whom UCL enjoys several existing researcher-led links.
With IIT Bombay, UCL’s engagement in recent times has been predominantly through engineering and disaster management. In 2021, UCL undergraduate students embarked on a virtual programme hosted TISS to learn about sustainable development.
During the meetings, the delegation explored opportunities to formally increase the depth, breadth and impact of existing relationships and seek opportunities to support our researchers to work more closely together in future.
In New Delhi, Professor Rees and members of the delegation met with leaders from the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, UK Science & Innovation Network in India, UKRI India and the Indian Council of Medical Research to develop closer partnerships in research.
Professor Rees said: “India has long been a really important partner country for UCL, and our engagement has been characterised by mutually beneficial and interdisciplinary partnerships with top organisations there. India is well known for its prowess in health research, but its focus on frontier technologies, such as quantum and AI, as well as sustainability and climate also create significant opportunities for collaboration. Overall, this visit filled us with excitement for the future and we look forward to enhancing our research and education connections with Indian partners, working on cutting edge technologies and co-creating solutions to complex global challenges.”
Supporting the next generation of Indian students
On 20 November, UCL hosted a reception event at the British High Commissioner’s Residence in New Delhi with partners from government, industry and education and UCL alumni volunteers. UCL announced the launch of a new scholarship scheme for Indian students and our first ever Summer School for pre-university students.
The UCL India Excellence Scholarships will support Indian students with an outstanding academic record to pursue full-time Master’s degree studies at UCL. Thirty-three scholarships will be available for the 2024-25 academic year, awarded to exceptional students who have, or are on track to achieve, a first-class degree. A further 67 scholarships will be awarded during the following two years.
UCL’s first ever Summer School in India, based at the state-of-the-art campus of The British School in New Delhi, will give pre-university Indian students a taste of what it’s like to study at a world-leading UK university.
The inaugural UCL India Summer School will take place from 10-14 June 2024 and will feature five leading UCL professors delivering modules to 50 students in years 10 and 11, working in small groups. The academic programme for the Summer School is being organised by Dr Michael Collins, an associate professor of history at UCL’s London campus.
UCL Vice-President (External Engagement), Kirsty Walker, and Vanita Uppal OBE, Director, The British School New Delhi signed an agreement officially launching the initiative at a ceremony in India on 21 November 2023.
Kirsty Walker said: “We're thrilled to launch these two opportunities, which will ensure that the most talented students in India can benefit from UCL’s forward-thinking approach to research, teaching and future employment. This marks the next chapter in the rich history of collaboration between UCL and India.”
UCL reception at the British High Commissioner's Residence, New Delhi
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