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( - India’s Minister for Human Resources Development, Kapil Sibal, visited Imperial College London yesterday to explore university innovation and the process of translating research into new technologies and applications.

The visit formed part of a five-day tour of the UK to strengthen educational ties between the two countries. It comes at a time when India is exploring ways to develop its higher education sector, including plans for ‘innovation universities’, the first tranche of which will centre on health, the environment and new technologies for power plants.

The afternoon of activities at Imperial aimed to provide the minister with an insight into the College’s approach to innovation, from pure research right through to its translation to the market place. Key strategies discussed included the creation of interdisciplinary institutes that draw together researchers with a range of expertise to jointly tackle issues such as sustainable energy, climate change, global health and security science. Mr Sibal also explored Imperial’s creation of the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre, in partnership with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which integrates the administrative structures of the university and the Trust in a way that enables research findings to be turned into new therapies for patients much more quickly than previously possible.

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Author: Abigail Smith