Consulates fostering science, research

Consulates fostering science, research

Consulates in Bengaluru are doing their bit to develop the city and establish relationships with their home countries for mutual benefit. Here’s what the French community is doing: “Through scientific collaboration, Indian and French researchers share their respective expertise and research facilities.The bilateral scientific complementarity helps generate high impact scientific publications,” say Jayesh Wagh, Scientific Co-ordinator, and Jenifer Clark, Attache Science and Technology, French Embassy.

The French Consulate’s Science Department facilitates exchanges of scientists between India and France, and supports joint scientific research teams through the CEFIPRA programme. “Since Bengaluru hosts many premier Indian research institutes such as IISc, NCBS, JNCASR, RRI and IIAP, the Consulate’s Science Department has been organising many collaborative scientific activities here,” says Wagh.

French, German, British and Australian consulates in the lead

The Department has also been organizing public lectures of world renowned scientists such as Prof Philippe Sansonetti and Prof Gilles Boeuf from the prestigious College de France. This lecture series aims to disseminate knowledge and promote intellectual debate, as well as enhance France ́s visibility in India.

Clark and Wagh say that through the Indo-French Water Network (IFWN), the department is also engaged in strengthening partnerships in the water sector by bringing together private enterprises, public entities, individuals and academics. A three day Indo-French seminar on ‘Women in Science’ held at Indian Institute of Science from February 3 to 5, 2015 had about 250 participants from various research institutes in India and France.

The French Embassy also organises exchange visits.“Every year, 10 to 15 Indian students do research in a French lab between three to six months through Raman-Charpak Fellowship. Many students from research institutes in Bengaluru have been awarded Raman-Charpak Fellowships. This fellowship allows Indian and French PhD students to get international exposure. It also permits cultural exchange along with science,” says Clark.

Australian efforts
The Australian consulate here has working relationships with various institutions across South India besides Bengaluru. Sean Kelly, Australian Consul General to South India says, “The relationship between Australia and India has witnessed a paradigm shift over the last year. The reciprocal visits of Prime Ministers John Tony Abbott and Narendra Modi have provided a key impetus to partnerships at a number of levels between the two countries.”

“Bengaluru is recognised by Australian corporate and educational institutions as the technology and innovation capital of India and this is reflected by the number of partnerships that exist between the two sides,” says Kelly. RMIT University from Australia and ABB, a leading Australian player in the power and automation technology sector, together set up an Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering in Bengaluru with the primary objective of engaging in automation engineering. A number of educational institutions from Bengaluru and Australia have partnered in the recent years for staff exchange and research collaboration - the recent collaboration between IISc and University of Melbourne being a good example.

The Australian Consulate-General is also focused on cultural collaboration having recently brought a number of renowned Australian writers such as Christos Tsiolkas and Kirsty Murray to the city. The Melbourne International Comedy Festival has become a regular feature of the Bangalore entertainment calendar and every year, the NH 7 music festival also witnesses the participation of a strong Australian contingent, Kelly points out.

Proactive British
The British Consulate has been very pro-active over the last few years. James Bevan, British High Commissioner, says that “the attractions of Bengaluru have already brought many successful UK businesses here. Rolls Royce recently opened a manufacturing facility here in partnership with HAL. Other big UK aerospace companies such as BAe are here too. There’s also ARM from Cambridge, whose Bengaluru premises I have visited.”

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