A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been entered into between the University of Edinburgh and the University of Delhi to promote joint research and student exchange programmes. Edinburgh University is also opening a new office in Mumbai.

First Minister Alex Salmond and Indian Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal welcomed the moves to strengthen Scotland’s and India’s long established learning links. In addition to Edinburgh other institutions have made similar arrangements:-

* MOU between University of Abertay Dundee and Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Allahabad to promote joint research and student exchange programmes

* A partnership agreement between Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research in New Delhi to deliver programmes which could see thousands of people in India spared unnecessary amputation through diabetes. It has forged partnerships with the MV Diabetes Research Centre in Chennai, Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai and Max Health Care, also in Delhi
* MOU between Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and India’s National Accreditation Board for Education and Training (NABET) to develop skills and training

The new agreements build on the MOU signed by Universities Scotland and the Association of Indian Universities in October 2009.

The bilateral agreement seeks to share knowledge and best practice, promote student and faculty exchange, drive collaboration in research and development, encourage joint degree development and identify funding opportunities.

The FM said:-“Scotland is renowned for its world class education system and I warmly welcome these new commitments to share knowledge, expertise and skills with India which build on the MOU signed in 2009.

“We have global strengths in key industries such as life sciences, energy, financial and business services, the digital gaming industry and information technology and we are keen to learn from the dynamic growth and specialism in Indian Universities. Scottish Development International is working to increase this collaboration in education between Scotland and India.

“India is one of our key countries of interest for educational collaboration and over 4,000 students from India already study at Scottish colleges and universities. These new partnerships will benefit both Scotland and India, enhancing research and development opportunities, promoting student exchange and paving the way for further co-operation in the future.”

Mr Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India, said:-“The agreement with Scotland advances our sweeping reform agenda for higher education. We intend to empower our students by providing access to the finest university education the world has on offer. And in Scotland, with its higher learning tradition that goes back to the Renaissance, we have found a worthy partner.”

Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea, Principal of the University of Edinburgh said:-“The University of Edinburgh is committed to strengthening collaboration with India and our alumni. Our links in India are extremely important to Edinburgh. We are very proud of our connections with institutions such as the University of Delhi and of the hundreds of Indian students who choose to study in Edinburgh each year.”

Pamela Gillies, Glasgow Caledonian University Principal and Vice-Chancellor said:

“Our partners in India are very important to us and we are very privileged indeed to be working with our esteemed Indian colleagues on this groundbreaking initiative to help prevent unnecessary suffering through diabetes-related limb amputations. The support of the Scottish Government and SDI will allow us to share our podiatric expertise with doctors around India, building capacity in a sustainable way that will transform lives.”

Dr Janet Brown, SQA chief executive, said:

“SQA International is working on a worldwide basis to support and develop education and training across the globe and as a significant part of these initiatives I’m delighted to be signing this MOU.

“This partnership will allow SQA to strengthen further its links with the education sector in the sub-continent. We’re delighted also that this agreement will provide a significant level of ongoing support to NABET as they drive forward their ambitious plans to implement quality systems in schools and vocational education and training institutions.”