Institution of Biorefinery Engineers, Scientists and Technologists

The Institution of Biorefinery Engineers, Scientists and Technologists

A successful UK-India collaboration towards sustainable development

Posted by The IBEST on 1 November, 2017 at 18:30

UK-India workshop on Energy for Economic Development and Welfare was held from 23-27 October 2017 at The Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun. The workshop was funded by the British Council and the Royal Society of Chemistry through the Newton-Bhabha Fund, which is aimed at promoting collaboration between the UK and India in scientific research and innovation sectors. The workshop brought together 40 selected early career researchers from top UK and Indian research institutes and industries to share their expertise and explore joint solutions to the challenges of economic development and social welfare in India. The prestigious workshop was jointly organised by the UK-coordinator: Dr Jhuma Sadhukhan, a founding member of The IBEST and reader at the Centre for Sustainability and Environment, University of Surrey, and Dr Thallada Bhaskar of the IIP.

In his welcome address, Dr Anjan Ray, the director of the IIP, underlined critical questions that must be addressed in order to find workable solutions. The questions were as follows: who will benefit and how; who will pay for it; can we get enough of it; is it technically feasible and scalable; is it genuinely novel; and lastly, will it create sustainable economies, societies and ecosystems. These questions thus set the tone for the workshop in terms of the presentations and the ensuing innovative project proposals.

Dr Sadhukhan, in her keynote address, stated that sustainable and renewable energy supply and security is at the heart of the multi-dimensional problems affecting economic development and welfare of poor and vulnerable populations in India. She also emphasised the role of engineers, scientists and technologists, particularly biorefiners, in ensuring that research carried out in the laboratory translate into societal and economic benefits that would influence policymakers to formulate policies towards sustainable development.

A lot of insightful presentations were given at the workshop by delegates from Aston University, The University of Manchester, Cardiff University, Cranfield University, University of Aberdeen, University of Birmingham, Imperial College, Coventry University and Liverpool John Moores University, Green Biologics Ltd., Anaero Technology Ltd., and Phycofeeds Limited in the UK, and CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology, Institute of Bio-resources and Sustainable Development, Institutes of Technology, and The Energy and Resources Institute in India.

Roundtable discussions on prospective proposals were held on the last day of the workshop. The discussions focused on the major challenges affecting the implementation of sustainable energy for economic development and social welfare in India. One major challenge that featured in the various sub-discussions was how agricultural, municipal, human wastes could be utilised efficiently to generate low-cost energy, fuels and chemicals to meet different sustainable development goals, including clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, good health and well-being, and climate action.

The event was indeed successful in promoting the benefits of scientific collaboration between the two countries, having attracted extensive media coverage in India. The workshop goes to show that active collaboration between researchers, academics and industrial practitioners from both countries is indispensable to solving the multi-dimensional challenges facing sustainable development in India.

Categories: Events

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