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‘NET Zero’ Innovation Virtual Centre to be jointly created by India-UK

‘NET Zero’ Innovation Virtual Centre

During the India-UK Science & Innovation Council meeting, chaired by Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and attended by UK Minister George Freeman, it was announced that the two countries will collaborate to establish the India-UK “NET Zero” Innovation Virtual Centre.

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Dr Singh highlighted India’s impressive technological and innovative capabilities, which have been recognized worldwide, and emphasized that India is on its way to becoming a major economic force under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. Both leaders emphasized the need for strengthened Science & Technology cooperation between the two nations.

‘NET Zero’ Innovation Virtual Centre: Key Points

  • During his opening statements at the meeting chaired by Co-Chair Minister Freeman, Dr Jitendra Singh emphasised India’s determination to achieve its Climate Change and Environmental targets in a timely manner, as the nation is on the fast track move.
  • He highlighted the close partnership between India and the UK, demonstrated through the ambitious ‘Roadmap 2030’, which covers health, science and technology, trade, education, defence, and climate.
  • The Indian Minister also lauded the UK’s emergence as India’s second largest international research and innovation partner under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership.
  • The two Ministers appreciated the proposal to establish an India-UK “NET Zero” Innovation Virtual Center, which aims to unite stakeholders from both nations to work on key focus areas such as Green Hydrogen as a renewable source and Decarbonization of manufacturing processes and transport systems.
  • Dr Jitendra Singh emphasised that energy efficiency and renewable energy are integral pillars to India’s net zero journey, with initiatives such as the India Solar Alliance and Clean energy mission spearheading such efforts.
  • He also underscored the need for further cooperation, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed optimism that the India-UK MoU would pave the way for long-term sustainable growth through expanding and maximizing cooperation in areas of mutual interest.
  • Finally, he shared that India’s commitment towards environmental goals involves consistent efforts towards developing mitigation and monitoring solutions for environmental pollution while pursuing pathways for reducing carbon emissions.

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India-UK Collaborations:

  • The collaboration between multiple dimensions, institutions, and agencies in both India and the UK extends to various areas such as energy security, food and agriculture, water, climate change, environmental studies, as well as social and cultural changes.
  • During the last India UK virtual summit held in May 2021, the Prime Ministers from both countries emphasized their shared commitment to further partnering in science, education, research, and innovation.
  • The Government of India has launched several flagship initiatives, such as the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems (ICPS), Quantum Computing and Communication, National Mission on Supercomputing, Electric Mobility, Green Hydrogen, etc., which offer new opportunities for collaboration. India is committed to achieving environmental goals and actively seeks solutions for environmental pollution and reducing carbon emissions to reach ambitious net zero targets.
  • The DST Innovate UK Industrial R&D program’s revival will provide both Indian and UK academia and industry an opportunity to develop newer products and processes together for the economic growth of both nations. This includes the MOES-NEKTON joint research program towards marine biodiversity exploration and conservation under the Deep Ocean Mission in India and the MOES and UK Met Office collaboration in Weather and Climate Science.
  • Newer collaborations for joint R&D Projects between BBSRC-DBT in the area of farmed animal disease and health & MOES-NERC Call in the area of solid earth hazards.

Minister Freeman was invited to attend the G20 Research Ministers meeting in Mumbai on 6th July 2023, as India holds the G20 Presidency this year and is organizing a series of scientific meetings, including Science 20 (S20), Research and Innovation (RIIG), and Scientific Advisors meetings. The two Ministers expressed satisfaction with the progress made since the last SIC meeting held in New Delhi and welcomed further bilateral S&T cooperation between the two countries.

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