University of Birmingham forging lasting collaborations with India

Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir David Eastwood and Chancellor Lord Bilimoria will accompany a ministerial delegation to New Delhi this week to underline the University of Birmingham’s commitment to forging closer ties with India.

The visit, headed by Universities Minister Greg Clark, involves more than 20 senior representatives of the UK higher education sector and aims to promote stronger and deeper partnerships between the two nations.

It is hoped the delegation will not only boost student recruitment from India but also bolster research, teaching and business collaborations.



Professor Sir David said: 'The University of Birmingham is extremely proud of its close and longstanding engagement with India. For more than a century, Indian students have enriched our campus community while our office in Delhi enhances research and teaching collaboration. The appointment of Lord Bilimoria as our Chancellor further underlines this commitment.'

The delegation will attend the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Higher Education Summit as well as an event hosted by the Indian Government Minister Smriti Zubin Irani. The University of Birmingham will also hold a number of bilateral meetings, a business engagement event and an event for University of Birmingham alumni.

Lord Bilimoria said: 'The University of Birmingham has been embedded in my life from my earliest memories. My mother, her father and my uncle all graduated from the University of Birmingham. It is a wonderful institution, I have been overwhelmed by the welcome I’ve received. There is enormous potential in continuing to build mutually beneficial links between India and the University of Birmingham.'

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Notes to Editors

  • The University of Birmingham’s connection to India spans more than a century. We welcomed the first Indian students to our campus in 1909 to study for degrees in mining and commerce.
  • Since then we have provided education to more than 1,300 Indian alumni, including the late author Dr U R Ananthamurthy, who was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2013, and Indian Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth and Dr Alwyn Didar Singh, Secretary General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
  • In 2009 we opened a University of Birmingham office in New Delhi. India continues to be an important region for academic engagement and student recruitment for the University. We are committed to continuing to build long-term, mutually beneficial, academic-to-academic engagement, key institutional partnerships and stakeholder relations, which will lead to increased staff and student mobility, education innovation and teaching partnerships, and enhanced research collaboration.

Examples of research and teaching partnerships between the University of Birmingham and India:

1. Birmingham clinicians are studying the salt intake of Indian adults as part of an international research team led by the Public Health Foundation of India. The research will provide vital new data to aid the development of a national salt reduction strategy. India has a diverse dietary culture where salt is used extensively but up-to-date figures on population salt consumption are very limited. Excess salt intake is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

2. Birmingham is working with Yale University and the University of Delhi to support the development of a pioneering global justice programme in India. The Nyaya Global Justice Programme at the University of Delhi will be a major intellectual hub for the study of international ethical questions, which have strong implications for India and neighbouring countries. These include questions around India’s role in the World Trade Organisation, G20 and the United Nations Security Council, fairness in international trade, co-operation in poverty reduction efforts, and ethics in global security issues.

3. Researchers from the School of Biosciences have joined forces with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, in a partnership focused on tackling tuberculosis. Combining the complementary strengths of both institutions in this area, the research is taking a novel approach in studying the Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that bacterium that causes TB, with the aim of developing new treatments and diagnostics. Together, the researchers are involved in deciphering how the ‘bricks’ of the cell wall of the tuberculosis bacillus are made.

4. The Schools of Physics and Astronomy and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune are collaborating in joint curriculum development, computer-based learning and experimental tool design, and knowledge transfer in the area of ultra-cold atoms. The partnership is paving the way for students to acquire the highly developed experimental and theoretical skills and knowledge of cutting-edge technologies required for research in this discipline, and aims to bridge the gap between academia and industry in this field.