An expert team is now in place at the Telangana Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-Chain and the Haryana Centre of Excellence for Crop Postharvest Management and Sustainable Cold-Chain – promoting innovation and accelerating the deployment of energy-efficient refrigeration for food and vaccine supply chains across India.
In the in-country Senior Management Team, India Lead Avinash Verma is joined by Telangana and Global Logistics Lead Jacob Kurian and Haryana and Post-Harvest Management Lead Anant Shukla. They are supported by Vaccine cold-chain Expert Researcher Aneeka Kamal Canchi and Technology Expert Researcher Anil Kumar. Further staff are planned to be recruited as the programmes are fully operationalised.
The team will deliver an integrated project plan and co-ordinate the India Centres of Excellence - driving engagement with strategic partners from government, industry, academia, and civil society. The programme is a joint initiative between the Centre for Sustainable Cooling (CSC), University of Birmingham, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and in-country State Government and industry partners.
I’m delighted that our senior expert team is now in place and look forward to working closely with them as the Centres are developed into a state-of-the-art research, training and innovation hub to deploy needs-driven and equitable system-level cooling and cold-chain solutions in Telangana and Haryana, across India as well as the global food and vaccine chains.Professor Toby Peters, University of Birmingham
Professor Toby Peters from University of Birmingham commented: “I’m delighted that our senior expert team is now in place and look forward to working closely with them as the Centres are developed into a state-of-the-art research, training and innovation hub to deploy needs-driven and equitable system-level cooling and cold-chain solutions in Telangana and Haryana, across India as well as the global food and vaccine chains.
“Our new team has been hand-picked to deliver a systems approach focusing on non-technological and behavioural issues as well, recognising that technologies need to be financeable, integrated into processes and be accepted by end users, while some solutions can be achieved though changes or adaptations to operational practices."
The Centres are underpinned by Memoranda of Understanding signed between the Governments of Telangana and Haryana and the University of Birmingham and are the result of extensive foundational work. The University of Birmingham serves as the strategic and academic, training and research lead with a consortium of other top Universities including Heriot-Watt University, London South Bank University, Wageningen University and Research, Cranfield University and VU, Amsterdam. UNEP is providing strategic coordination, project management and partnerships engagement. The Centres will also work closely with the teams at the Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold-chain.
Inaugurating the Telangana centre in August 2023, Honourable Minister for IT and Industries, Shri K T Rama Rao at the GMR Innovex Campus near GMR Airport, Hyderabad, commented: “The Centre of Excellence is a first of its kind initiative in India. It will have state of the art equipment and will serve as a one stop solution to address all challenges around cold chain ecosystem in the country. It will develop and demonstrate cooling technologies and solutions that meet the state’s needs and could be scaled up with global reach."
The Centres of Excellence will have a solutions development lab and demonstration centre, a model pack-house and community cooling hubs to support capacity building. It is expected to have a significant impact on the lives of farmers across India. Currently, many farmers are unable to sell their perishable produce because they do not have access to cold storage facilities and many vaccines are lost due to inadequate storage, among other factors.
The Centres will come up with solutions and business models that will help farmers preserve perishable produce and improved quality of goods. Adopting a ‘hub and spoke’ model, the Centre of Excellence will deliver upskilling and training programmes for farmers and local agri-businesses, agri-start-ups and entrepreneurs, equipment technicians and researchers.