WASHINGTON: The National Science Foundation has invested nearly USD 150 million in India in the last five years through more than 200 projects and has launched 35 joint projects in the last one year alone, NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan said on Thursday.
Panchanathan travelled to India at the end of August, making stops in three cities: New Delhi, Bengaluru and Gandhinagar.
In New Delhi, he announced a new funding opportunity between NSF and the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and signed a bilateral implementation arrangement with the Indian Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
He also participated in an industry roundtable organised by the US Embassy.
In Bengaluru, he participated in a biotechnology roundtable organised by DBT and in Gandhinagar, his last stop, Panchanathan led the US delegation at the G20 Chief Science Advisers' Roundtable, a media release said.
"In the last five years, NSF has invested nearly USD 150 million in India through over 200 projects. Just this last year, we launched 35 new joint projects with India's Department of Science & Technology in emerging technologies," Panchanathan was quoted as saying by the NSF on his return from India.
"This joint funding opportunity strengthens the foundation of cooperation, collaboration, and joint investment in science and engineering by unlocking fantastic new discoveries, innovations and opportunities across industries like semiconductor research, next-generation communication systems, cyber-security, sustainability and green technologies, and intelligent transportation systems," said Panchanathan.
According to NSF, the new agreement with MeitY provides fresh funding for joint projects in applied research areas and builds on an Implementation Arrangement signed by Panchanathan and MeitY Secretary Alkesh Kumar Sharma, at NSF headquarters in May.
It also advances the mutual interests of India and the US, outlined in a joint statement made by President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June, during the latter's visit to the US which included a stop at NSF's headquarters, the media release said.
On August 22, Panchanathan signed an Implementation Arrangement during a ceremony alongside many notable people, including US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti, India's Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Secretary for DBT and the Department of Science & Technology Rajesh S Gokhale, and Minister of State for Science & Technology Jitendra Singh.
"This is a historic moment for India and the US," said Panchanathan.
This implementation arrangement provides a framework to encourage collaborations between research communities and sets out the principles that will help make joint activities successful and productive, he added.
It has the potential to tackle, societies' most pressing challenges, spur economic growth, and advance technologies and innovations in critical research areas like systems and synthetic biology, protein design, cellular and biochemical engineering, and circular bioeconomy engineering, among others, he said.
NSF said Panchanathan's trip to India reaffirmed both nations' commitment to shared values and aspirations and illustrated the director's belief that teamwork on a global scale among like-minded players powers scalable opportunities, supercharged progress and universal prosperity , a notion which implicitly endorses India's G20 presidency theme: "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam," or "One Earth, One Family, One Future."