Institutional Visit by the University of Liverpool to South India

Professor Hollander and Professor Gangadhar with representatives from both partners following the signing of the Liverpool-NIMHANS Dual PhD programme renewal.

India is a priority country for the University of Liverpool to have significant presence in and developing strategic partnerships is highly important. As part of Liverpool’s engagement strategy with India, a high profile visit to Bangalore and Vellore took place during November 2019.

The visit was led by Anthony Hollander, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Impact who was accompanied by academics from the two main thematic areas of our work in India, Health and Heritage.

The delegation also included, Tom Solomon Professor of Neurology, Helen Sharp, Professor of Perinatal Medicine, Dr Nagesh Kalakonda, Reader and Honorary Consultant in Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine, Prof Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, Head of the School of Architecture and Helen Carlin, International Partnership Manager.

In addition to visiting six higher education institutions, two attached to hospitals, Indian alumni were invited to meet with the delegation at an event held in Bangalore, led by Caroline Mitchell of the Alumni team.

During the visit, Memoranda of Association were signed with the Vellore Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Advanced Studies.

Launch of new Alumni Network in Bangalore

The Development and Alumni Relations team held a reception to launch the new alumni network in Bangalore, hosted by Professor Anthony Hollander.

Professor Hollander provided guests with an update on the latest news from the University, followed by Professor Soumyen Bandyopadhyay and Professor Helen Sharp who shared insights into their research and work in India.

The new alumni network in Bangalore will allow graduates in the area to plan future events and build up a strong network of contacts who also studied at the University of Liverpool. Click here to read more about the event and new alumni network.

National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS)

The University of Liverpool has a long-standing partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience defined as an Institute of National Importance in India. This was initiated as a collaboration on brain infections by Professor Tom Solomon in 2002, and has grown in the last five years to become a major institutional partnership with additional themes of child health and epilepsy.

During the course of a two-day visit, Professor Hollander and Dr Gangadhur, Director of NIMHANS signed a renewal of our dual PhD programme with NIMHANS. This will ensure the continued mobility of students between our two institutions and offers a unique educational experience for both the UK and Indian participants. The signing occurred during the annual Liverpool-NIMHANS symposium, which alternates between the two countries and reviews the recent research progress and future plans.

Child Development in partnership with NIMHANS

The University of Liverpool has two major new research programmes with NIMHANS. The first is an MRC funded research programme, The Bangalore Child Health and Development Study (BCHADS), led at Liverpool by Professor Helen Sharp. This is a continuation of an existing longitudinal study aiming to identify early social emotional and biological risks involved in the development of child mental health problems. This and an earlier programme will involve studying children in Bangalore from birth through to age seven and it is paired with a comparator study in Wirral, UK. The study is unique in developing new tools for measuring mental health development in children across cultures, looking for the similarities and the differences in factors that impact on children’s wellbeing with implications for health and social policy.  As part of its commitment to the study, NIMHANS is extending its Family Wellbeing Centre in the suburbs of Bangalore, to provide purpose built facilities for the research to take place in. The delegation visited the new centre to see the site under construction.

NIMHANS Family Wellbeing Centre, visiting the space where families will be taking part in the BCHADS study.  

Brain Infections in partnership with NIMHANs and The Christian Medical College (CMC)

The second major collaboration, funded by the National Institute of Health Research, is Brain Infections Global – which looks at the Management of Acute Brain Infections, and is a £2m multi-country study in India, Brazil and Malawi. It builds on the work of Dr Lance Turtle who spent three years at NIMHANS for his Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Training Fellowship. CMC based in Vellore is also a partner and a visit was made there to meet with Associate Professor Dr Divya Deodhar and the Principal of the College, Dr Anna Pulimood.

Computational Biology

The Institute of Biotechnology and Bio Informatics (IBAB), supported by the government of India is a premier institution combining Biology and Big Data. Computational Biology is a strength of the University of Liverpool and there are opportunities for mutually beneficial research and education collaboration with IBAB.

Cell Signalling and Cancer Research

The University has a number of collaborations with the Indian Institute of Science, one of India’s top two research and education institutions. Initial discussions held with academics, considered further collaborations in the fields of cell signalling and cancer research, with plans to hold further discussions around joint research opportunities.

The visit highlighted a wealth of collaborative opportunities for University staff with Indian higher education institutions. This includes the possibility of University of Liverpool students having the chance to study at Indian institutions and experience the rich culture the country has to offer, as well as a keen interest amongst Indian Institutions to give their students a chance to study in the UK.

Anthony Hollander, Pro- Vice Chancellor for Research and Impact said, “India is fast becoming a powerhouse for research and innovation. We already have strong links to top Institutions in Bangalore, and we will now be developing new ways of tapping into the energy and opportunities that this vibrant city offers.”

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