He is very excited about India’s New Education Policy that will allow foreign universities to open up in India.

London: Recently, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chancellor of Birmingham University, Chairman of the CBI and founder of Cobra Beer, spoke about the huge potential for UK-India research and development. Bilimoria is very excited about India’s New Education Policy (NEP) that will allow foreign universities to open up in India. He said education is an important aspect for India’s 1.3 billion people and for an expanding middle class who want a world-class education, this is a game changer for India’s future. The Sunday Guardian spoke to Lord Bilimoria in South Africa; he is the third generation of his family educated at a British University (Cambridge). He is proud of the strong links built up between UK-India universities over the years, with the number of students from India doubling from 27,505 in 2018-19 to 55,465 in 2019-20. Bilimoria congratulated PM Boris Johnson for the reintroduction of the post graduate three-year visa which will further augment these numbers. Last week, Staffordshire University opened scholarship opportunities for Indian and Malaysian students.
Bilimoria quoted the fields in which India-UK collaboration are essential: air pollution, sustainable energy, gene cooling, anti-microbial resistance and global surgery (reducing the number of post-operative deaths) and genomic sports performance. Birmingham University has increased their research with India threefold since 2012, with amazing results; their combined Field Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) outperforms the world average by ninefold. Birmingham on their own achieved 1.7 and Punjab University achieved 1.3, but jointly they achieved 5.3; compare this to a collaboration with Harvard with an FWCI of 5.4, and it demonstrates the power of collaboration.
Bilimoria is proud of the strong links between state and national government, his university’s acclaimed department, Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education signed an MoU with the National Rail and Transport Institute of India (NRTI) to develop a MSc module for undergraduate students. Together, they have developed a simulation suite that helps increase capacity, safety, and improves logistics making the rail network more efficient. Birmingham railways experts worked with NRTI to establish a joint MSc programme in Railway Engineering that will see India’s future rail experts spending a year studying at each institution.
He refers to Birmingham’s Rural Development Partnership with Haryana, which speeds up the clean cold chain supply, reducing waste and a research programme led by experts at Birmingham and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad that has received £1.2 million of UK and Indian funding to explore the role played by India’s rivers in increasing antimicrobial resistance.
Advancing surgery and hospitals, Bilimoria said Chennai based Apollo Hospitals’ model for healthcare was reproduced in Ghana; nurses from India and Ghana will soon start their clinical induction with Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust as part of an overseas recruitment initiative. The latest figures from the UK Nursing and Midwifery Council show 24,000 professionals who trained in India.
At Cambridge, it is all about a strategic partnership with India, Cambridge academics are involved in many key research projects with Indian partners, in areas as varied as multilingualism, antimicrobial resistance in animals and people, inclusive education, agriculture, and resilience to earthquakes. A second green revolution is in the making to improve crop development and growth. TIGR²ESS, an acronym for “Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies”, is a £7.8 million programme funded by the UK Global Challenges Research Fund to develop more resilient, equal and diverse food systems in India. The objective is to foster mutually beneficial knowledge exchange and collaborative research through workshops in Cambridge and India.
Daniel Shah, Director, Research Councils UK (RCUK) India, said: “TIGR²ESS is a great example of the UK and the Indian research teams partnering to address issues around food security and agriculture systems. This initiative also aligns with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to double farmers’ income by 2020.” Within India, one of Cambridge’s key partnerships is with the Indian government’s Department of Biotechnology, covering globally leading research in chemical biology and therapeutics, crop sciences and food security.
Another important joint venture is led by Dr Manisha Nair from the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, and the Maternal and perinatal Health Research collaboration, India (MaatHRI); MaatHRI means “mother” in Sanskrit, is a UK-India collaboration for maternal and perinatal health research designed to reduce the maternal mortality rate in India.
Since 2018 UKRI, UK Research and Innovation, a public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and the Indian government, have invested £300million in research and innovation collaboration between the UK. This investment has brought about more than 250 individual projects, involving over 100 industry partners and 175 UK and Indian research institutions. Research in innovation covers the areas of Biotechnology, Atomic Energy, medical-agricutural-historical-research, social and earth sciences.
Bilimoria applauded that the NEP allows for foreign universities to open up in India. He recalled it nearly happened in 2013, but in 2021 it is realised; the new policy allows foreign campus in India and India’s academic establishment to invest abroad. US and European universities will be wanting to come to India and hopefully, IIT, India’s most competitive university which churns out world leaders, will establish itself in the West.
Birmingham’s India Institute already delivers impactful engagement and research from vital cancer research to knowledge transfer on the future of clean-cold technologies through a supportive network for academics, research councils, institutions, government offices, commercial partners and all those interested in building transnational education partnerships with India. Birmingham’s new campus in Dubai will open in 2021. Providing an academic home for up to 2,900 students to study courses in AI, Business Management, Computer Science, Engineering and Psychology; now a similar campus could be realised in India as soon as the formalities have been agreed.
Following Dominic Raab’s visit to India in December 2020 and a meeting with Ramesh Pokhriyal, the mutual recognition of degrees and academic qualification was programmed for this year and an agreement for creation of a taskforce to carry this forward at an official level was decided.
In the first week of February, Prof Steve Smith was appointed HMG International Education Champion to spearhead overseas activity for UK education and address international barriers to trade, this is a dedicated position that confirms the UK’s commitment to improving education for everyone.