DWIH will enhance India-Germany cooperation in academics and research

The German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH), established by a 14-member consortium of German organisations, was inaugurated here on Saturday at a function held at the German House. The DWIH-New Delhi is intended to serve, in the words of Matthias Kleiner, president of the German Research Foundation (DFG), who spoke on the occasion, “as a ‘one-stop shop’ for Indian researchers, providing information on Germany and its research community, showcasing its strengths and opportunities.”

The aim is to enhance the cooperation between the two countries in academics and research. It is expected to bring more synergy and joint initiatives between Indian and German institutions and organisations and will form one of the major pillars of the Research and Academic Relations Initiative in India by the German government. It is being jointly sponsored by the German Federal Foreign Office and the German Federal Ministry of Education Research.

Karan Singh, Member of Parliament and president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, inaugurated DWIH-ND along with Emily Haber, State Secretary in the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. DWIH-ND is the fifth focal point for enhanced German academic and research cooperation. The other four are at São Paulo, Moscow, New York and Tokyo.

It will serve as the provisional office of the consortium, whose senior representatives were in India to attend the inauguration. According to Prof. Kleiner, amongst all the five German Houses in the world, the New Delhi endeavour had attracted the highest number of German research organisations to be an integral part of it.

According to him, Germany was the most productive collaborative research partner with India in science and technology after the U.S. and nearly 13 per cent of all Indian publications in international collaborations have been shared with authors from Germany.

Remarkable growth

A recent analysis published by DFG, in collaboration with an Indian biometrics researcher B.M. Gupta, showed that the overall Indo-German scientific collaboration during 2004-2009 had grown at a remarkable annual average growth of 6.8 per cent.

Emphasising the importance of humanities and social sciences in scientific research, Prof. Kleiner added that German organisations were now funding more and more Indo-German research in history, sociology, and even in law and education. DFG was committed to making funds available to increase joint projects that cross disciplinary boundaries. In two weeks, DFG would organise a joint workshop of Indian and German historians. Soon, DFG would sign an MoU with the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) for joint funding of projects.

“With initiatives such as the ‘Internationalisation Strategy’, the ‘High-Tech Strategy 2020’ and the ‘Excellence Initiative,’ Germany was investing more in globalising R&D than ever before,” said Torsten Fischer, the official coordinator of DWIH-ND, and director of the Indian office of DFG. “On the other hand, India has some of the finest research talent in the world. With the inauguration of DWIH-ND, we are going to celebrate another milestone in Indo-German research collaboration,” he added.

The inauguration was followed by the ‘Indo-German Grand Science Slam’ where Frank Allgöwer of the University of Stuttgart, who is also the Vice-President of DFG, N.K. Gupta of IIT-Delhi and Sandeep Verma of IIT-Kanpur presented scientific talks.