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UK funds cheap eye tests, solar projects in India

New Delhi: Projects of worth £225 million has been announced by Britain’s apex research in India. Cheap eye tests for diabetes patients and solar energy are among various international projects for which the UK will be funding.

As a joint effort by India and UK in the R&D programme, both nation’s experts will work together. The Global Challenges Research Fund of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and India support projects in the range of £2 million to £8 million over four years, reports HT.

The £225 million has been invested in 37 interdisciplinary projects to address challenges in different domains such as health, humanitarian crises, conflict, the environment, the economy, domestic violence, society and technology in various countries, RCUK said.

Sobha Sivaprasad, who is a UK-based eye expert will trial cheap new tests that could prevent blindness in India on a large scale, in order to reduce the cost of eye testing.
A second approach to be trialled is a blood test that can be performed at home to pick up signs that sight is threatened. The number of sufferers attending hospital for treatment is expected to rise, and building the capacity to deal with this is part of the research plan.

In addition to that, “Smallholder farmers- particularly women – need smart technologies to sustain crop yields and improve health and nutrition. The TIGR2 ESS programme will assess these options, as well as supporting basic research programmes, and provide advice to local communities,” said a summary of the project involving experts from the University of Cambridge.

Another project will address India’s plans for solar energy: “Last year, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced he was determined to leap-frog fossil fuels and harness global solar expertise to turn his nation green. SUNRISE, a UK-led collaborative project, will help deliver this challenge. Combining the best of British and Indian solar expertise from leading institutions in both countries, the project will develop printed photovoltaic cells and innovative manufacturing processes,” according to a statement on the project with collaboration from the University of Swansea.

“At a time when the pace of scientific discovery and innovation is quickening, we are placing science and research at the heart of our industrial strategy to build on our strengths and maintain our status as a science powerhouse,” said Jo Johnson, UK universities and science minister.