UK-India initiative embodies spirit of collaboration for transnational universities

Indian scientist working in a University laboratory
19 Jun 2012 14:43:48.280
Two leading universities in the UK and India are bridging the 4,000 miles between them to launch an initiative aimed at promoting closer collaborative partnerships between British and Indian universities.

The University of Nottingham and Manipal University — both renowned for their global vision — have established the UK-India Teaching Partnership Development forum, which will provide a catalyst for best practice and debate for higher education institutions, government officials and industry in the two countries.

The forum will be officially launched at the end of the month by leading academics from the two institutions and Agatha Sangma MP, Indian union minister of state for rural development and Nottingham alumna, during a two-day inaugural event.
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Promoting opportunities

The move comes shortly after Nottingham cemented links with India by establishing a presence there through the recruitment of its first ever Country Advisor for India.

Varrtika Tarun Mudaliar, working out of an office in the Indian capital New Delhi, is supporting existing and new relationships with Indian universities, underpinning research and knowledge transfer strategies, exploring employment opportunities for the University’s Indian alumni and promoting opportunities for UK students to travel to India to study.

She said: “The time has never been better for UK universities to develop links with India — it has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and higher education there is becoming ever-more collaborative.

“Nottingham in particular is very well placed to take advantage of opportunities for collaboration and knowledge transfer. The areas seen by the Indian Government as key to the country’s development and wealth, including energy, the digital economy, food security, biofuels and drug discovery, strongly align with Nottingham’s own strategic research priorities.

“In addition to this we have a large and diverse community of Indian students, many of whom choose to return to their country and use their first-class education from a globally-renowned institution to contribute to the future prosperity of their nation.”

Memorandum of understanding

 The UK-Indian forum was developed through a long-standing partnership between The University of Nottingham and Manipal University, a private higher education provider which, like Nottingham’s University Park, offers its students the chance to study on a green parkland campus albeit 4,000 miles away in the Indian state of Karnataka.

Collaborations between Nottingham and Manipal started as far back as 2009, when a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two institutions.

In addition, Nottingham is building on strong links with the region, currently playing host to more than 500 Indian undergraduate and postgraduate students across its campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia and engaged in a range of research and knowledge transfer initiatives with Indian partners.

Among them is Biopharm 2020, a UK-India Science Bridge project funded with £1.5m from the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) India. It brings together experts from Nottingham, the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, to work together towards innovation in drug discovery, delivery and manufacturing for clinical and commercial benefits in both the UK and India.

Mission for excellence

Academics at Nottingham are also working on a number of projects aimed at making rural living in both the UK and India more sustainable. The multi-million pound initiative, Bridging the Urban and Rural Divide (BURD), also funded jointly by RCUK and the Indian Government’s DST, is working on the development of a number of small-scale technological advancements including energy production through renewable sources and the use of mobile technologies for the benefit of three communities in the UK and three villages in India.

Professor Chris Ennew, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation at The University of Nottingham, said: “Internationalisation underpins the University’s mission for excellence in teaching and learning, in research and in broader community engagement. And true internationalisation requires genuine engagement. The development of a greater and more active presence in India will help us to strengthen our engagement with Indian partners to develop teaching collaborations, joint research, enhanced alumni relations and improved support for existing students, particularly in relation to employability.”

The new UK-India forum, which will be launched on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th June at the India Habitat Centre in Delhi, has its roots in the success of a similar initiative in the UK. The UK International Teaching Partnership Development Forum, founded by The University of Nottingham, now has a membership of almost 200 transnational education practitioners from more than 100 UK universities.

The two-day inaugural event will feature a packed programme of presentations, discussions and networking opportunities, including talks by Malyak Varmani, Project Head of the UK-India Education and Research Initiative, and Sally Goggin, Director of Education for the British Council in India. The full schedule for the event is available at 

Last autumn, the University of Nottingham set up the Asia Business Centre, part of Business Engagement and Innovation Services, which supports innovation partnerships and knowledge-transfer programmes throughout Asia. The Centre works with national and regional governments and with businesses to create new opportunities and manage ongoing links and relationships.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has 40,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘the world’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking 2011.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2011, for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news


Story credits

More information is available from Country Advisor for The University of Nottingham, Varrtika Mudaliar, on 081303 86363 or by email at 


Emma Thorne Emma Thorne - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5793 Location: University Park

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