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Biarritz: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France on Aug 25, 2019. (Photo: IANS/PIB) by .
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France on Aug 25, 2019. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

The UK government on Monday launched a 3 million pounds (approximately Rs 29.4 crore) innovation challenge fund to support scientists in academia and industry to tackle COVID-19 and the threat to the environment.

The initiative builds on the Indian and British Prime Ministers’ commitment to bring together the best minds from both countries under the UK-India Tech Partnership, to deliver high-skilled jobs and economic growth as well as to collaborate on some of the world’s biggest challenges.

The Indian and British Prime Ministers announced the formal creation of the UK-India Tech Partnership in April 2018.

“This fund aims to get behind the innovation heroes, whether they are working to battle the virus or the even greater looming global threat: climate change,” Karen McLuskie, Head, UK-India Tech Partnership, British High Commission, said in a statement.

“We are proud to work with India, as twin world leaders in the development and adoption of emerging tech for the benefit of all.”

These grants are part of a wider initiative under the Tech Partnership known as “Tech Clusters”

The 3-million pounds fund invites tech innovators with connections to the Artificial Intelligence-Data cluster in Karnataka and the Future Mobility cluster in Maharashtra to submit research and development proposals for tackling Covid-19 or which promote a greener planet.

At least 12 grants up to 250,000 pounds are expected to be awarded, said the British High Commission, New Delhi.

Applicants are required to submit bids as an academia-industry consortium, ideally with an international member.

The deadline for submitting two-page concept notes is August 31.

“The UK and India have a strong history of research and innovation. Both Covid-19 and climate change demonstrate that the most urgent challenges are global,” said Philip Barton, High Commissioner to India.

“Never has there been a greater need for academia, business and government to accelerate innovation, and for nations to collaborate to save lives and build a better future,” Barton added.

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