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U.K. delegation visits ICFOSS

Special Correspondent
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Focus on innovation:ICFOSS Director Satish Babu holds talks with British delegates Ian Thornton (left) and Tom Wells in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.
Focus on innovation:ICFOSS Director Satish Babu holds talks with British delegates Ian Thornton (left) and Tom Wells in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday.

A two-member team from the U.K. visited the International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) on the Technopark campus on Saturday.

The team, comprising Ian Thornton, Research Associate, National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA); and Tom Wells of the British High Commission, held discussions with ICFOSS Director Satish Babu on the application of Open Source approaches to innovation.

The discussions centred on collaboration in the academic, research and industrial sectors in areas like open hardware, open research, drug discovery, open access publishing, and open innovation.

The visit was part of a U.K.-India international research programme on innovation. NESTA is an independent organisation currently working on a project mapping research and innovation in India. The project will provide recommendations on how the U.K. and India could engage more closely in the domain of innovation for the benefits of both countries. “Over the last two decades, the FOSS movement has had considerable impact in enhancing innovation in software by ensuring access of code to communities, and through transparent and publicly-accountable development methodologies. In our discussions today with the visiting delegates, we see a great opportunity for collaboration with organisations in the U.K. in several areas,” Mr. Babu said.

Great potential

Dr. Wells said, “The depth of engagement between India and the U.K. on research and innovation is demonstrated by the announcement of over GBP80 million of joint research funding over the past three years. The excellent organisations and institutions we have seen today in Thiruvananthapuram serve to show the potential for a deeper relationship between the U.K. and India."

Mr. Thornton said, “As part of our study, we are examining the possibilities of looking at Kerala as a hub for innovation. We are here to understand the innovation landscape in the State, and to identify special factors that have spurred innovation here, leading to initiatives as such ICFOSS. We are hopeful that our study will lead to strategic programmes that promote research and innovation in the two countries.”

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