News

Cash boost for joint Scottish-Asian research

Published: 11 Sep 2020 12:20

New Fund to focus on economic, social recovery from COVID-19.

Scottish universities are being invited to bid for funds under a new Government grant scheme to improve and grow existing joint research projects within three major Asian countries: India, Japan and Pakistan.

Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said the new £45,000 Scotland Asia Partnerships Higher Education Research (SAPHIRE) Fund will have a strong focus on economic and social recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and on global transition to net zero carbon.

The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) will manage the fund on behalf of the Government, with the money available to support research related to recovery from COVID-19 under five core subjects: clean and sustainable water supply; renewable energy; life sciences; data-driven innovation such as artificial intelligence; and innovative technology, including sustainable industrialisation.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Now more than ever, it is vital to recognise the pivotal role international research collaboration plays in facing up to the current global challenges.

“By further supporting existing university partnerships in these three hugely important markets, our new SAPHIRE Fund recognises that research underpins so many of the wider aims and ambitions of the Scottish Government’s global strategies, including its vision for strong relationships within Asia.

“This fund’s creation signals how the Government will continue to be open to working with others and extending the hand of friendship to partner countries around the world, particularly in meeting some of the most-pressing global issues - including climate change - as economies and societies recover, post-COVID.”

RSE Chief Executive Dr Rebekah Widdowfield said:

“As Scotland’s National Academy, the RSE has a long history of supporting international research collaborations on issues of national importance. We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with the Scottish Government to facilitate the SAPHIRE scheme which will bring a welcome boost to existing research partnerships as Scotland and the world continue to deal with COVID.”

RSE Vice-President International Professor Marcel Jaspars said:

“The scheme offers Scottish researchers the opportunity to amplify links with India, Japan and Pakistan in the areas of water, renewables, life sciences, data and innovation and technology. Scotland has significant strengths in these fields and enabling closer relationships with researchers in these countries will help advance mutual research efforts.”

Background:

Call for Applications: Scotland Asia Partnerships Higher Education Research (SAPHIRE) Fund