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Swati Saxena

Senior Science and Innovation Adviser

Part of Global Science and Innovation Network

4th June 2015 New Delhi, India

Tale of an enticing beehive – UK in Milan

UK in MilanThe UK is one of 145 nations participating in the World Exposition 2015 which is taking place in Milan from 1 May till 31 October. The UK Pavilion takes the shape of a bee-hive and represents the crucial role played by pollination in providing the food that we eat. Visitors to the hive experience the journey of a honeybee to understand their integral role in providing a secure food-chain. This is aligned to the UK’s participation theme ‘Grown in Britain & Northern Ireland’ and core theme of the expo, ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.

UK in MilanThe metaphor of a beehive describing the UK’s place in the global business and knowledge ecosystem is indeed an apt thought. The exchange of ideas, skills and knowledge is an essential part of human activity and the UK, as a gateway of global connections, is the ideal place for such cross-pollination to happen. UK is a hive of activity where solutions to some of today’s greatest challenges are developed and shared with the world.

UK in MilanThis complex environment of a beehive encapsulates some of the qualities the UK brings to the global food challenge. UK is home to world-class agricultural research in areas such as plant and animal breeding, remote sensing, meteorological prediction and the exploitation of data. These qualities when coupled with India’s ‘agri’ research strengths have resulted in initiation of several joint collaborative research projects which deal with challenging critical issues of increasing crop productivity, improving livestock health, exploiting ‘omics’ for crop improvement, sustainable management of aquaculture systems.

Last month a joint research call was launched which will fund research activities in the form of Virtual Joint Centres in Agricultural Nitrogen. The scope of this call covers research that can effectively manage nitrogen use within the farming systems. You might also be interested to note that as part of UK’s presence in the Milan Expo, UK Trade and Investment is holding three thought leadership events on animal health, aquaculture and precision agriculture in Milan in the week of 6 July 2015.

There is a real buzz about the current state of relationship between UK and India in the agri-tech sector. Some current activities include an active Indian participation in the recently held international workshop on ‘Big Data and Agriculture’ held in UK, our existing work in exploring joint activities in the area of ‘post farm-gate technologies’.

I certainly look forward to lot of innovative solutions emerging from cross pollinating ideas between India and this particular beehive in the growing partnership.

1 comment on “Tale of an enticing beehive – UK in Milan

  1. Truly inspirational!!!

    Would love to see more Indians contributing to the field…

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About Swati Saxena

Swati is a Senior Science and Innovation Adviser, based in New Delhi. She provides a dedicated support to the UK stakeholders in establishing R&D linkages with India, particularly in research…

Swati is a Senior Science and Innovation Adviser, based in New Delhi. She provides a dedicated support to the UK stakeholders in establishing R&D linkages with India, particularly in research related to food production. She brings strong expertise in agricultural research to the role. Prior to joining the Science and Innovation India team, Swati actively engaged with Indian Government agencies and academics involved in agri-research while working as a regulatory officer for Monsanto, a US-based agricultural multinational firm. She was part of the core group that enabled commercialisation of India’s first genetically modified crop. By building long-term relationships across the government and academics with contacts ranging from the senior policymakers to high calibre scientists with a strong track record in their fields, Swati is well-placed to act as a facilitator to build the technology linkages. Swati has an academic background in genetics.

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