Haryana 920
Professor Robin Mason and Rhiannon Harries welcome guests to the networking lunch.

The University of Birmingham welcomed environmentalists and industrialists in India to a key event exploring ways of advancing the use of ‘clean cold’ technology to meet in a sustainable way the rising demand for cooling.

Representatives from the University’s Indian ‘clean cold’ partner Shakti Foundation, the National Clean Cold Centre for Development (NCCD), and CEOs from industry and regional organisations gathered at the British High Commission in New Delhi.

Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) co-hosted the networking lunch with Rhiannon Harries, Director UK Trade and Innovation at the British High Commission India to explore opportunities for further joint projects with partners.

The event followed an agreement signed this year by the University of Birmingham and the State Government of Haryana to develop centres of excellence for clean cold chains that will help to map a blueprint and delivery plan for sustainable cooling across the north Indian state.

Effective refrigeration is essential to preserve food and medicine. It underpins industry and economic growth, is key to sustainable urbanisation and provides a ladder out of rural poverty. It makes much of the world bearable - or even safe - to live in.

The signing of the Haryana agreement followed the world’s first-ever Congress on Clean Cold held at the University, which was supported by the University of Birmingham India Institute. The India Institute also sponsored the first Birmingham-Haryana clean cold workshop last year.

Professor Robin Mason commented: “The University of Birmingham is a civic university with a global outlook. There exists a special bond between Birmingham and India which stretches back to the arrival of our first Indian students in 1909.

“The launch this year of the University of Birmingham India Institute affirms our deep and continued commitment to engagement with this great country. I am delighted to welcome so many influential people today.

“Together with them, we are looking to grow our contribution to Indian society; as our researchers forge links with their counterparts, we hope to change millions of lives for the better.”

The networking lunch followed a visit to the University of Birmingham by the British Deputy High Commissioner Andrew Ayre from Chandigarh – a keen advocate of the University’s drive to support development of a sustainable cooling chain in India.

Mr Ayre was welcomed to the University by Professor Mason and, as well as meeting Professor Toby Peters, Birmingham’s world-leading expert on the cold economy. Mr Ayre also met a number of the University’s key academic experts to discuss engagement with India, including:

  • Dr Sudha Sundar - Senior Lecturer in Gynaecological Oncology and President-elect of the British Gynaecological Cancer Society
  • Dr Jagbir Jhutti-Johal - Senior Lecturer in Sikh Studies
  • Professor Peter Brocklehurst - Director of Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit (BCTU)
  • Professor Francis Pope - Professor of Atmospheric Science

Professor Toby Peters commented: “Sustainable cooling poses formidable challenges, but will be instrumental in achieving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of doubling Indian farmers’ income by 2022.

“A seamless ‘cold chain’ is needed to move food swiftly from farm to consumer - reducing food loss to raise farmers’ income and give them bigger markets, whilst expanding their selling range.

“But at the same time, it must be clean and sustainable cooling. Climate change and toxic air pollution must be tackled by reducing use of conventional, highly polluting cooling technologies and adopting zero-emission technologies.”

The agreement with the Haryana Government builds on the University’s work with partners in India to deliver sustainable refrigerated distribution chains and so help boost farmers’ income.

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.
  • Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation seeks to facilitate India’s transition to a cleaner energy future by aiding the design and implementation of policies that promote clean power, energy efficiency, sustainable urban transport, climate action and clean energy finance.