The financial commitment between STFC and the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) which extends over the next five years, gives Indian scientists access to the entire portfolio of instruments at ISIS. It also covers the travel and subsistence costs for new Indian user groups and allows for a number of Indian Post-Doc and PhD researchers to be based at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
The two million pound investment follows a visit by The Indian Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences earlier this year. At the event the Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan, said: “The UK government and the scientists associated with the project deserve the highest applause. It is further heartening to learn that India and her scientists will participate in this great science laboratory to further enhance their research activities in nanotechnology and advanced materials with the help of the neutron beams”.
The commitment builds on a long standing partnership between India and ISIS. India first invested in the ISIS facility back in 1983, and was the facility’s first international partner. Since then work resulting from the co-operation has ranged from collaborations with industrial giant Tata Steel who have used the Engin-X instrument to improve their products, to fundamental research into nanoparticles and superconductivity.
Professor V. Nagaraja, President of JNCASR said he was very pleased that this partnership between two premier institutions and the scientists of both the countries has taken shape. He commented: “This development is a giant leap in our collaboration in frontier areas of science benefitting the larger scientific community. The Indian researchers would be able to address more challenging questions through this neutron scattering facility”.
In particular, work with ISIS supports the Indian government’s Nanomission launched in 2007, which aims to foster, promote and develop all aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology which have the potential to tackle global challenges. As part of the agreement there will be contributions to the development of neutron instrumentation at ISIS.
One ISIS instrument, focused on nanoscience, is Zoom, which will become operational in 2017. The enhanced capabilities of Zoom will provide insights into how drugs interact with the body as well as about important industrial materials, including polymers, emulsions, metals and alloys. Involvement in instrument development will also allow Indian scientists to enhance their skills in the area of neutron scattering.
This in turn is expected to bring forward the development of Zoom, which will allow British and overseas researchers to benefit from the new instrument sooner than originally planned. Zoom is one of four instruments being developed as part of a £21 million project which builds on a previous investment of £145 million to build Target Station Two, a second experimental hall at ISIS.
Professor Robert McGreevy, Director of the ISIS neutron and muon source, said: “We are very pleased to be announcing this partnership today. Together with support from the Newton Bhabha fund it will enable us to build capacity and capability to develop advanced technologies that address global challenges in areas such as energy or food security.”