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Queen Mary launches partnership between India and UK to tackle global challenges

Queen Mary University of London launched the new Resilient Futures India Initiative in New Delhi on 1 and 2 February. A variety of experts from India and UK were invited to discuss complex challenges facing vulnerable communities today, in areas such as urbanisation, gender, equality, health, and environmental sustainability. 

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RFII Launch delegates at the Habitat Centre New Delhi
RFII Launch delegates at the Habitat Centre New Delhi

The launch event of the Resilient Futures India Initiative provided a platform for Indian and UK experts to examine the concept of resilience, establish partnerships, and create implementation plans for future research. Eminent Indian academic, corporate and civil society leaders from a range of disciplines and professional backgrounds attended the launch, along with colleagues from Queen Mary University of London and the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development.

Commenting on the successful launch of Resilient Futures India Initiative, Professor Colin Grant, Vice-Principal (International) at Queen Mary, said: “We were delighted to host rich discussions cutting across a range of disciplines, including public health, psychiatry, law, political science, administration and geography. This is the beginning of an exciting partnership between India and UK that will hopefully forge insightful research leading to real world policy solutions.”

Devising research collaborations for social impact

Participants brainstormed ideas through a series of workshops, with an emphasis on co-designing and delivering collaborative research for social impact. As a result of these sessions, participants identified three clear research areas to focus on:

  • Resilience in public health and health systems with respect to mental health and universal health care
  • Education, life skills and family as the unit of resilience
  • Governance gap in service provision and support systems for domestic abuse survivors 

Dr Philippa Williams, of Queen Mary University of London and Academic Lead for the Resilient Futures India Initiative, said: “To design three excellent research concepts is a testament to the expertise and engagement of the multi-sector team that came together in New Delhi. These concepts represent the start of future collaborations on important issues that will have tangible impacts in both India, and in the UK.”

Queen Mary was also honoured by the active participation of Lord Patel of Bradford, former chair of the UK Mental Health Act Commission and member of the Queen Mary Global Policy Institute’s Advisory Council, and Professor Prajapati Trivedi, former Secretary to the Cabinet of the Government of India, who conveyed the full support of the Commonwealth Secretary General.

A formal reception on the evening of 2 February marked the launch of the initiative, gathering policy makers, academics, industry leaders and Delhi-based Queen Mary University of London alumni. Over 100 distinguished guests attended, including: Justice Shri Dipak Misra, Former Chief Justice of India; actress and social activist Shabana Azmi; and Priti Srivastava, Senior Vice President at Reliance Industries.  The event was hosted by Lord Patel, Queen Mary’s Vice-Principal (International) Professor Colin Grant, and Mr Amreesh Chandra.

Harnessing local and global knowledge to tackle critical challenges

The Resilient Futures India Initiative is led by Queen Mary’s Global Policy Institute and supported by the Commonwealth Secretary General and the Oxford India Centre for Sustainable Development. The initiative aims to harness local and global knowledge to tackle critical challenges with policy makers, entrepreneurs, and civil society leaders in both countries. Following these initial discussions, researchers will be reporting on the progress of their work and their moves towards creating resilience during a summer workshop at Queen Mary in London, with the support of the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Queen Mary University of London is a world-leading research-intensive university with over 25,000 students representing more than 160 nationalities. A member of the prestigious Russell Group, we work across the humanities and social sciences, medicine and dentistry, and science and engineering, with inspirational teaching directly informed by our research. Queen Mary has been welcoming students from India for many years, and now has over 1,300 Indian alumni developing their careers across multiple sectors in all corners of the country.

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