India and the UK will step up cooperation in the area of science, technology and innovation including strengthening the role of women in STEMM disciplines at schools, universities, and research institutions, the Department of Science and Technology said on Friday.


The two sides will work to create an enabling environment for equal participation of women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicines) disciplines through collaboration on new initiatives like Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) project.


In a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson on May 4, the two leaders agreed on a common vision of a new and transformational comprehensive strategic partnership and adopted an ambitious India-UK Roadmap to 2030 to steer cooperation for the next 10 years.


Both leaders emphasised their commitment to an enhanced partnership in science, education, research and innovation and look forward to the next ministerial Science and Innovation Council (SIC), the DST said in a statement.


Modi and Johnson welcomed the signing of the new UK-India MoU on Telecommunications/ICT and the Joint Declaration of Intent on Digital and Technology, the establishment of new high-level dialogues on tech, new joint rapid research investment into COVID-19, a new partnership to support zoonotic research, new investment to advance understanding of weather and climate science, and the continuation of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).


“They agreed to expand and enhance the existing UK-India vaccines partnership, highlighting the successful collaboration between Oxford University, Astrazeneca and the Serum Institute of India on an effective Covid19 vaccine that is ‘developed in UK’, ‘Made in India’ and ‘distributed globally’,” the statement said.


They emphasised that the international community should learn lessons and agreed to work together to reform and strengthen WHO and the global health security architecture to strengthen pandemic resilience.


The two sides decided to “enhance cooperation between India and the UK on strengthening the role of women in STEMM at schools, universities, and research institutions and creating an enabling environment for equal participation of women in STEM disciplines through collaboration on new initiatives like Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) project”.


They also decided to develop collaborations between the industry, academia and the government to foster innovation among school students by focusing on teacher training, mentoring and sharing of global best practices through initiatives like the India Innovation Competency Enhancement Program (IICEP).


The two sided decided to build on the two countries’ existing bilateral research, science and innovation infrastructure and governmental relationships to continue to support high-quality, high-impact research and innovation through joint processes.


They have decided to forge partnership across the pipeline of research and innovation activity, from basic research to applied and interdisciplinary research and through to translation and commercialisation across government departments to optimise impact, utilise expertise and networks and minimise duplication, the DST said.


Leveraging and building on existing, long-standing bilateral partnerships such as on education, research and innovation, to stimulate a joint pipeline of talent, excellent researchers and early-career innovators and explore new opportunities for students and researchers exchanges by establishing joint centres and facilitating access to state-of-the-art facilities will also be part of the STI cooperation, the DST said.

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