Oxford University has broadened the purview of its relationship with India over the years, moving beyond education and publishing to collaborate on important scientific and health research projects, its vice chancellor, Andrew Hamilton, says.
“We have strong and substantial research collaboration beyond academic projects. Yesterday, I visited the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research where a group of physicists are collaborating with physicists in Oxford, Jawaharlal Nehru University and at the Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics (in Kolkata) on neutrinono – an elementary sub-atomic particle,” Hamilton told IANS here.
“It is a very exciting study and the scientists plan to fire neutrinos through the core of the earth from Oxford to India to test its strength,” Hamilton said.
The vice chancellor, who is in India to celebrate 100 years of Oxford University Press in the country, said much collaborative research was taking place between Oxford and India “and he was trying to meet the collaborators to strengthen them”.
The Oxford University is also collaborating with 12 research centres across India, including the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, about the “causes and development of therapies for cancer,” Hamilton said.
“It is a significant and growing problem in India. Our purpose is to properly strengthen and expand the research to find out if there is genetic disposition in certain population groups in India towards certain cancers – and study the origin,” Hamilton said.
“The Oxford University Press in India was committed to ensure that the publishing output was relevant to the 21st century India tailored for local, regional and national readership across cultures.”
“The relationship between Oxford and India has been strong for more than 400 years in 1579, when the first recorded evidence of an Englishman to arrive on the Indian shore was that of Father Thomas Stephens. He was an Oxford man,” Hamilton said.
In 1832, Oxford University set up the first chair in Sanskrit and in 1871, the first Indian student came to study in Oxford, he said.
“Over the years Oxford has educated several Indian leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” he said.
“Three hundred and fifty Indian students are studying in Oxford today, Hamilton added