By Dr Nafees Meah, Director RCUK India
Over the past few years, UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) along with sister European funding agencies have been busy building up a strong portfolio of collaborative research. For example, NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe) has developed joint research programmes on such topics as the Re-Emergence of Religion as a Social Force in Europe. HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area) recently launched a joint programme on Cultural Encounters.
Both networks are now in a strong position to explore international opportunities. It is in this context that the EU recently funded the EU-India Social Sciences and Humanities Platform (EqUIP) with a grant award of €1.5 million.
India is at the cusp of a rapid social transformation. Over the next 20 years or so, there will be massive urbanisation. New cities will be built and, along with them venerable old cities like Varanasi, will be modernised. As with the industrial revolution in Europe, this rapid change will throw up all sorts of issues. Therefore, it is a really exciting time to research and observe this transition.
What will EqUIP do?
Led by ESRC and the India Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), EqUIP will bring together 12 European research funding organisations with sister organisations in India in order to develop a stronger strategic partnership. The idea is that it will step up EU-India collaboration through sharing best practice, networking and the closer coordination of existing collaborative activities and establishing new relationships. As well as this, it will map existing collaborative activity and identify opportunities and priorities for future research collaboration by holding six major international conferences over the next three years.
It will be formally launched by the EU Ambassador to India on the 14th October 2014 at a high profile event in New Delhi. This brief blog is just to whet your appetite for the exciting research collaboration that is to come between the best in Europe with the best in India.
 UK (ESRC, AHRC), Finland (AKA), France (ANR), Italy (APRE), Germany (DFG, DLR), Portugal (FCT), Slovenia (MIZS), Netherlands (NWO), Norway (RCN) and Austria (ZSI)