The Natural Environment Research Council of the UK (NERC) and the Earth System Science Organization, Ministry of Earth Sciences of the Republic of India (ESSO-MoES) have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate cooperation between the UK and Indian earth system science and environmental research communities. The UK and India have shared interests and strengths in research on meteorology, climate variability and change, oceanography, hydrology, cryosphere, natural hazards and biodiversity. The new MoU will encourage collaboration in these areas by promoting information sharing and identification of new opportunities for collaborative activities such as networking, exchange of scientific and technical capability, and co-funding new research through joint calls. The MoU will be put to immediate effect. On this occasion Shri S. Jaipal Reddy, Union Minister for Earth Sciences and Science & Technology expressed the hope that the strong bond established between ESSO and NERC will further strengthen by signing of the MoU. He said this kind of bilateral cooperative agreement will help us to improve the forecasting capability of various weather and climate related phenomena and natural hazards through sharing of knowledge, expertise and experience.
The UK delegation head Mr. Phil Newton said this MoU is a sign of our commitment to work strategically in addressing some of the biggest challenges facing us. I am delighted that we are now strengthening our relationship. The MoU agreed today will deepen the NERC- MoES partnership, enabling the two countries to build strategically on current collaborations. It may be noted that the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is mandated to provide the nation with best possible services in forecasting the monsoons and other weather/climate parameters, ocean state, earthquakes, tsunamis and other phenomena related to earth systems through well integrated programmes. The Ministry also deals with science and technology for exploration and exploitation of ocean resources (living and non-living), and play nodal role for Antarctic/Arctic and Southern Ocean research. The Ministry mandate is to look after Atmospheric Sciences, Ocean Science & Technology, cryosphere and geosciences in an integrated manner. The Earth System Science Organization (ESSO) was established in October 2007 to address holistically various aspects relating to earth processes for understanding the variability of earth system. The overall vision of the ESSO is to excel in knowledge and technology enterprise for the earth system science realm towards socio-economic benefit of the Indian sub-continent and in the Indian Ocean region. Further information is available at http://www.moes.gov.in .
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is the UK’s main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. NERC’s work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. NERC coordinate some of the world’s most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public bodyand receives around £370 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). RCUK India is a representative office for NERC in India. They also represent the other six UK Research Councils in India. RCUK India was established in 2008 with an aim to bring about a step change in research partnerships between the two countries and make it easier for the best researchers in the UK and India to develop high-quality, high impact research partnerships. Since its launch RCUK India has facilitated joint research collaboration between the UK, India and third parties to the value of over £100 million compared with £1 million in 2008.
Over the last two years NERC and ESSO-MoES have built a strong partnership to support collaboration between UK and Indian scientists to address environmental change. In 2012 the two establishments jointly funded five collaborative research projects for Changing Water Cycle programme. These projects are providing information to improve to forecasts and management of changes to rainfall, river flows and groundwater in the dynamic and vulnerable South Asian region. The programme is expected to generate and put into practice new knowledge on changing water cycle. NERC and ESSO are also currently collaborating in the Belmont Forum call to support international research on the challenges of Water Security and Coastal Vulnerability.