UK scientists in India focus with Royal Society Yusuf Hamied Visiting Professorships

UK scientists in India focus with Royal Society Yusuf Hamied Visiting Professorships

Five senior scientists based in the UK have been awarded the Royal Society Yusuf Hamied Visiting Professorships to India – named after leading Indian scientist and pharmaceuticals chief Dr Yusuf Hamied.

The Visiting Professorships are part of a Royal Society Yusuf Hamied Programme for India that has been running since 2017. It is funded by the Yusuf and Farida Hamied Foundation, set up by Cipla chairman Dr Hamied with his wife to promote education and healthcare collaborations. Its mission is to enable outstanding Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society from around the world to exchange knowledge and expertise with Indian scientists on topics of shared importance.

Dr Hamied said: “My foundation is thrilled to partner with the Royal Society for the third year of this special project that is continuing to build connections between the Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society and India’s science communities.

“We believe that learning for its own sake is not enough and needs to be put into action for the good of society. Bringing leading scientists together for the benefit of humanity is central to solving the challenges that face the world today.”

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Focus areas

Among the scientists selected for the latest cohort include Sir Tom Blundell from the University of Cambridge, who has conducted research on structures and functions of proteins, including hormones and growth factors, enzymes, and their regulatory systems. He will be visiting multiple Indian universities and institutions in Bengaluru, Vellore, Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chandigarh.

Professor Philip Candelas from the University of Oxford, a leading physicist and mathematician who is renowned for his work on string theory, black holes, and other areas of theoretical physics, will be visiting the International Centre for Theoretical Sciences in Bengaluru and Harish Chandra Research Institute in Allahabad.

Professor Matthew Freeman from the University of Oxford, who investigates how cells communicate with one another, with an emphasis on how this process controls biological functions such as development, will be visiting Ashoka University in Sonipat.

Sir Michael Pepper from University College London is at the forefront of condensed matter physics and his discoveries have been important in the development of semiconductor-based nanoelectronics. He will be visiting the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru, the Central University of Kerala in Kasaragod and Saha Institute in Kolkata.

And, Professor David Rubinsztein from the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research at the University of Cambridge, who is a leader in the field of autophagy, particularly in the context of neurodegenerative diseases like Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and various dementias, will be visiting multiple Indian universities and institutions in Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, Mysuru, Kanpur, and New Delhi.

Global endeavour

Sir Richard Catlow, Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society, said: “Science is a global endeavour and the challenges that we face today remind us that the solutions we seek require international cooperation. The Royal Society has supported the free exchange of ideas and expertise across borders since its foundation in 1660.

“I am delighted that with Dr and Mrs Hamied’s support, the Society continues to provide opportunities for leading scientists to collaborate with their peers in India.”

The Yusuf Hamied Visiting Professorships cover return international flights and a weekly travel grant. It enables chosen Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society to make visits to India of between three to 12 weeks following an application process. Due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Royal Society has said it will be taking a “flexible and accommodating approach” to the travel arrangements.

The London-headquartered Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of the world's most eminent scientists and prides itself as the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.

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