India, Canada discuss ways to strengthen collaboration in science and tech

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India and Canada discussed ways to ramp up cooperation in science and technology by strengthening existing international connections, sharing best practices, and initiating new collaborations between governments and institutions, a statement said on Monday.

The statement follows a conference organized virtually by the India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnership to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) on August 6.

In the Round Table following the inauguration of the conference, detailed presentations were made on bilateral activities being pursued under the Department of Science and Technology-Department of Biotechnology (DBT)-IC-IMPACTS program, the statement said.

DST International Cooperation Adviser and Head SK Varshney highlighted joint research in emerging sciences with potential for translating research into marketable applications of social relevance, it said.

Highlighting the importance of Indo-Canadian Science and Technology cooperation, DST Secretary Ashutosh Sharma said it should be explored as to how the cooperation can be taken to a different level.

Best practices in the areas of women in science, technology deployment, diversity in science, and STEM at schools could be shared between them, besides exploring new research in Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Sciences, and Electric Mobility, a statement quoting Sharma said.

IC-IMPACTS scientific director and CEO Nemy Banthia informed that the IC-IMPACT has resulted in 1,129 publications, 63 bilateral research projects, 24 technology deployments, 352 partnerships, and 29 patents and technology disclosures.

He also said that approximately 200 highly qualified Indian students and a large number of Canadian students, most of whom are masters, Ph.D., and post-doctoral fellows were trained under the IC-IMPACT.

Projects implemented under this partnership have directly resulted in seven start-ups and the creation of many jobs for young graduates.

DBT Secretary Renu Swarup emphasised the need to initiate new collaborations and networking with the Canadian government and institutions.

Alejandro Adem, president, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, also showed his enthusiasm for joint collaboration in applications ranging from quantum science, artificial intelligence to health sciences, the statement added.

DST has been working with IC-IMPACTS for research partnerships since 2013. This partnership is aimed towards working hand-in-hand with communities in the two countries to develop community-based solutions for the most urgent needs, the statement said.

The major focus areas of research cooperation under the IC-IMPACT are green buildings and smart cities; occupants survivability in buildings during fires; integrated water management and safe and sustainable infrastructure; and health problems arising from water-borne and infectious diseases, it added.

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