Cambridge and India
Cambridge and India
For over 150 years, the University of Cambridge has valued its close relationship with India. From the mid-nineteenth century, when the first students from India arrived in Cambridge, scholarship and lasting friendships have been the foundation of academic partnership.
Among former students, three Indian Prime Ministers, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, were educated at Cambridge, and in turn the University is now home to distinguished academics from India, including Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta (Economics), Professor Ashok Venkitaraman (Cancer Research), and Nobel laureate Sir Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (Molecular Biology).
Building on the recognition of our shared past and a rapidly developing future, this strategy describes the steps that will be taken to enhance engagement in Cambridge and in India, commensurate with the University’s mission ‘to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence’.
1. The University's institutional relationships with Indian partners will be based upon the ‘pursuit of excellence’ (Vice-Chancellor’s annual address, October 2011). The basis of a partnership will be driven by significant academic collaborations.
2. Mutual academic benefit, supporting research beyond the scope of a project based in Cambridge, will be a key determinant.
3. The University of Cambridge will continue to work with politicians and government funding agencies in India and the UK, as well as Cambridge alumni, to reinforce our commitment to work with India on addressing critical issues of mutual concern. We believe this approach will benefit from Cambridge’s extensive expertise in research discovery and analysis, provided at the highest level, and more specifically, by drawing conclusions by incorporating disciplines across the Sciences and Humanities.
4. Cambridge’s India Strategy is part of a wider effort to facilitate large, multi-disciplinary projects with an international dimension to support new intellectual and strategic developments in the University.
Building on existing relationships
5. Public health: Cambridge academics are involved in large-scale public health research projects with major Indian partners, including the Public Health Foundation of India and Indian Railways. Additionally, the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital is working with academics in 8 other European Union countries and the India Diabetes Research Foundation on an EU-funded project to discover how genetic and lifestyle behavioural factors interact in their influence on the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.
6. Business, innovation and technology: The Centre for India and Global Business (CIGB), a centre within the Cambridge Judge Business School, is positioning itself to meet the demands of the top tier of Indian clients. To that end, the University is supporting discussions to identify and maximise opportunities for a small number of premiere partnerships in India.
7. Scaling up current projects: Of the circa 260 academic collaborations with individuals and institutions (academic and corporate R&D) in India, the International Strategy Office will undertake analysis to determine which projects could develop to bring mutual benefit to India and the University of Cambridge.
8. Collaborative research: As of January 2012, there are particular opportunities in India for collaborative research in the University of Cambridge’s strategic research areas of Stem Cells, Cancer, Immunology, Metabolism, Energy, Global Food Security and Drug Discovery. In addition, The Institute for Manufacturing is developing links with the new Global Manufacturing Institute at the Indian School of Business. A key differentiation in Cambridge’s approach will be to align activities across schools and institutes to address global challenges.
9. To achieve significant progress in building on emerging programmes in India, the University of Cambridge will:
- a. Create an environment whereby academic leaders and emerging academics can identify or nominate themselves for additional support in developing significant projects in India.
- b. Develop a systems approach to scaling up from an individual collaboration to an institutional programme, to be shared throughout Schools and Departments, overseen by the Heads of School and the Pro-Vice-Chancellors for Research and International Strategy.
As a matter of priority, the University of Cambridge will:
- d. Strengthen academic exchanges between Cambridge and India: The International Strategy Office will work with the Cambridge Trusts to enhance the recruitment of high-calibre Indian students to study at Cambridge at undergraduate and post-graduate levels. The ‘split-site’ model whereby a PhD student spends 2 years in Cambridge and 2 years in India, with a supervisor in each country, graduating at the end of the 4 years with a Cambridge PhD, has proved successful for the Cavendish Laboratory and could serve as a model for other departments.
- e. Encourage investment from India and the UK Indian business community: The Cambridge University Development Office will align its cultivation and solicitation strategies to support collaborative research of benefit to India and the University’s wider India strategy.
Alignment of current resources
10. The University of Cambridge has appointed a dedicated India Officer, situated within the International Strategy Office, to support the University's engagement with India. An important role of this Officer will be to support meetings in India of external advisors, selected from Indian academic, business and government leaders. Such meetings are expected to take place annually, under the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for International Strategy, to review the University’s existing work in India, build the networks to identify and facilitate further opportunities for collaboration, and bring additional resource to the University for its India partnerships.
11. Indian students: At any one time there are over 200 students from India studying at the University of Cambridge; about half are supported by scholarships and bursaries administered by the Cambridge Trusts. Since 1982, the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust has enabled more than 1,000 students from India to study at Cambridge; since 2001, the Gates Cambridge Trust has funded 60 Gates Cambridge Scholars from India. The Dr Manmohan Singh Undergraduate and Graduate Scholarships support outstanding candidates from India to study at Cambridge; they cover full tuition fees plus a means-tested contribution towards stipend and travel expenses. The University will develop a focused recruitment strategy to identify the brightest students, supported by a strong articulation of the benefits of studying at Cambridge.
12. Publishing and assessment: Cambridge University Press is a leading publisher of India-related subjects in the UK, including the New Cambridge History of India. CUP publishes academic journals and books and school materials in India, and has offices in six Indian cities. University of Cambridge International Examinations has had examination centres in the sub-continent since 1898; the Cambridge IGCSE is India’s most popular international qualification; there are Cambridge Schools in all the major cities in India including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmadabad.
13. Alumni: The University of Cambridge has circa 1050 active alumni in India, with particular concentrations in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore, and there are six active alumni groups and societies in India. The Cambridge University Development Office and Cambridge Alumni Relations Office are working with these groups and individuals to strengthen the bonds between Cambridge and India.
Future opportunities: building sustainable programmes in India and Cambridge
14. The Centre for Chemical Biology and Therapeutics (CCBT) in Bangalore is a possible model for future collaborative research in India: it has academic leadership from Cambridge working with an appointed Director and wider team in Bangalore. Involving Indian researchers, working in India, funded by the Department of Biotechnology, India, it will run in parallel with ongoing work in Cambridge. Plans include academic exchange at doctoral and post-doctoral levels.
15. The Centre of South Asian Studies in Cambridge plans to take an international lead in political and policy discussions of relevance to modern India, underpinned by a cultural and historical understanding combined with its reputation as a premiere global centre. A showcase event held in New Delhi in September 2012 demonstrated the strength of University of Cambridge in integrating Humanities and Sciences in our approach to global issues. Over the next 5 years, the Centre intends to establish programmes in India and Cambridge which will consolidate the University as the leading world centre for South Asian Studies.
16. The University of Cambridge is currently the lead partner in 3 UKIERI thematic partnerships:
- Seismic activity (Department of Earth Sciences with IISER, Kolkata);
- Food supply chains (Institute for Manufacturing with IIM, Lucknow);
- Low-cost Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Electroluminescent Devices (Department of Physics with IIT, Delhi);
- Individual academics and Schools will consider whether these form the basis for future University-level programmes with a base in India, in order to attract continuation or additional funding for the University and its work in India.
Engagement with India is a strategic priority for the University of Cambridge and, working in partnership, we seek to advance research as the basis for creating knowledge that will tackle global challenges and contribute to a sustainable future.
17. The University of Cambridge announced the launch of the Bangalore-Cambridge Innovation Network (BCIN), an association of similar-interest groups within academia and industry to foster links between academics, businesses, researchers and entrepreneurs from both cities, leveraging each other's ecosystems for mutual benefit, at the Science, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship seminar held at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore in September 2013.