India-UK Joint Centre on Water Security officially launched

27 September 2016

A water security initiative between major India and UK research funding bodies is announced today.

India-UK Water Centre logo

The virtual India-UK Water Centre (IUKWC) will stimulate collaboration between the two countries and address significant water availability and sustainable water management issues in both the UK and India.

The World Economic Forum identified water crises as the third highest global risk in terms of impact in 2016. In 2015, India topped a global list, published by the Global Water Partnership and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development, of countries assessed in term of the number of people at risk of flooding, and was third in an assessment of the population at risk of frequent water shortages.

Funded by NERC and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) for an anticipated three years, this virtual centre builds on recent and ongoing collaborative water research programmes between India and the UK, jointly funded by NERC and MoES including, including 'Changing Water Cycle', 'Drivers of Variability in the South Asian Monsoon' and the 'Newton Bhabha-funded Sustaining Water Resources for Food, Energy & Ecosystem Services in India'.

The centre will be hosted by one of NERC's research centres, the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), and the MoES Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), with a joint secretariat split between the two organisations who will work on behalf of the wider research community.

The centre will provide a platform for joint hydrological research and greater dialogue, engagement and knowledge transfer between researchers, policymakers and business. The centre will fund and coordinate a diverse programme of workshops and exchange visits, as well as promote online collaboration through social media and the centre's IUKWC website - external link.

Water researchers and stakeholders are invited to register on the IUKWC website to join the new open network of India-UK Water scientists. This will ensure they are kept up-to-date with activities, funding calls, joint stakeholder workshops and are able to help shape and participate in the centre's activities.

NERC's director for science & innovation, Professor Tim Wheeler, said:

This investment aims to stimulate scientific advances that move us towards workable solutions that offer more reliable access to water and improve quality of life.

UK coordinator, Dr Harry Dixon of CEH, said:

The launch of the new India-UK Water Centre provides a wide range of new opportunities for water scientists in both countries to build new and enhanced collaborations. We look forward to welcoming scientists and stakeholders from across India and the UK to join the centre's activities.

The Indian coordinator, Dr Atul Kumar Sahai of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, said:

The new centre is a very timely initiative and the joint effort of scientific communities from India and the UK will definitely help our country in capacity building for hydrological services.

Dr M Rajeevan, Ministry of Earth Sciences secretary, said:

The launching of this joint centre is an important step forward in the ongoing collaboration between MoES and NERC.

Further information

Tamera Jones
NERC media office
01793 411561


1. NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We coordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £330 million of annual funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

2. CEH is the UK's centre of excellence for integrated research in the land and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the atmosphere. CEH is part of NERC, employs more than 450 people at four major sites in England, Scotland and Wales, hosts over 150 PhD students, and has an overall budget of about £35 million.

3. IITM is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. It is a premier research institute to generate scientific knowledge in the field of meteorology and atmospheric sciences that has potential application in various fields such as agriculture, economics, health, water resources, transportation, communications, etc. It functions as a national centre for basic and applied research in monsoon meteorology.

4. Earth System Science Organization, Ministry of Earth Sciences (ESSO-MoES) is mandated to provide the nation with the best possible services in forecasting the monsoons and other weather / climate parameters, ocean state, earthquakes, tsunamis and other phenomena related to Earth systems through well integrated programmes. The ministry also deals with science and technology for exploration and exploitation of ocean resources (living and non-living), and plays a nodal role for Antarctic / Arctic and Southern Ocean research. The ministry's mandate is to look after atmospheric sciences, ocean science and technology, and seismology in an integrated manner.

5. The Newton Bhabha Fund aims to bring together the UK and Indian scientific research and innovation sectors to find joint solutions to the challenges facing India in economic development and social welfare. The scheme is part of the UK's £375 million Newton Fund to support science and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging powers. In India, the fund is worth £50 million over five years and is supported by the UK and Indian governments through a ministerial agreement. The Newton Bhabha Fund will use the UK's strengths in research and innovation to support greater scientific research capacity in India and build research partnerships between British and India research institutions.