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Maximising collaborative research between India and the UK: Needs and opportunities in light of India’s new national health policy

A keynote speech by Dr. Shahid Jameel, Chief Executive Officer of the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, began a wide-ranging and engaging discussion on research collaboration at an event on 27 October 2017 organised by The George Institute for Global Health UK, the Oxford-India Health Research Network and the Oxford-India Centre for Sustainable Development at Somerville College, Oxford.

Dr. Jameel described the backdrop to India’s new national health policy, which was launched by the government earlier this year. He also gave a comprehensive overview of the policy itself, which recognizes the key role of health research and the need to increase international collaboration. Dr Jameel gave examples of where this may be important, such as work around the diagnosis and management of tuberculosis, and research into zoonosis (disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals).

The event also included a panel discussion on ‘India-UK research: Opportunities, challenges and lessons’, which featured - in addition to Dr. Jameel - Professor Dame Caroline Watkins, Professor of Stroke and Older People’s Care at the University of Central Lancashire; Professor Kara Hanson, Professor of Health Systems Economics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Professor Ajit Lalvani, Chair of Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London; and Professor Maarten De Vos, Director of the Oxford Centre for Affordable Healthcare Technology at the University of Oxford. The discussion was chaired by Professor Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director of The George Institute for Global Health India.

The panel discussed what the key needs will be for India-UK research in the medium to long-term, given the expectations of governments and funding bodies, and provided advice on building a successful research career and establishing cross-country research collaborations. The need for a multidisciplinary approach and the likely impact of Brexit were also covered, along with the specific legal and ethical issues that need to be considered with India-UK research.

In addition to the panel discussion and keynote speech, the event featured a number of short presentations and Q&As about ongoing or recent research collaborations between India and the UK. These covered a wide range of research, including: The George Institute’s SMARThealth Pregnancy project in Andhra Pradesh; the relationship between rural-to-urban migration and HIV in north India; a relational approach to agency for mapping pathways into and out of poverty; and empowering children to take charge of their nutrition. Download the agenda for a full list of presenters and the subjects covered (PDF 692KB).