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Australia India ‘Unnati’ Research Collaboration Grants recipients announced

The prestigious Australia India ‘Unnati’ Research Collaboration Grants have been awarded to 12 Australian researchers for a range of projects, including a digital map designed for women’s safety, research tackling fluoride pollution in groundwater, and a test to support gut health.

The Unnati Grants, administered by the Australia India Institute and funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, are anchored on the principle of the Hindi word ‘unnati’, striving to advance the impact and outcomes of research collaborations

Twelve Australian researchers across nine universities have been awarded grants of up to $30,000. They will be supported by Indian partners from more than 20 higher education institutions, research centres, and industry.

CEO of the Australia India Institute, The Hon Lisa Singh said the selection process was highly competitive, with more than 180 applications via the Australian Researcher Cooperation Hub-India.

“The Selection Panels were impressed by the high quality and diversity of the research proposals received, demonstrating the immense interest and enthusiasm for fostering research collaboration between Australia and India,” Ms Singh said.

“We are delighted to support these outstanding researchers and their innovative projects through the Unnati Grants. The selected projects have the potential to make significant contributions to their respective fields, advancing knowledge globally and strengthening bilateral research links.”

The grants have been awarded across four priority areas of mutual importance between Australia and India: food and water security, the future of healthcare, environmental change and energy frontiers, and digital humanities and intelligent futures.

The funding will be used to progress existing research collaborations and support new partnerships across a range of impactful topics, including:

  • University of New South Wales’ collaboration with the Manipal Academy of Higher Education to develop an interactive map of potential danger zones identified by women in Udupi and Manipal, India, with the aim of promoting public safety improvements.
  • University of Melbourne’s collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur to produce a roadmap addressing groundwater fluoride pollution in rural areas of West Bengal, India, prioritising affordable and energy-efficient solutions for safe water supply.
  • Australian National University’s collaboration with the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology to develop specialised tests to measure a compromised gut barrier, a valuable clinical tool that could aid in the assessment of patients with diseases like pancreatitis and diabetes.
  • Curtin University’s collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi to investigate heat stress among vulnerable populations in Perth and Delhi, with the aim of generating insights to inform heat action plans responsive to the needs of high-risk groups.

Research and innovation partnerships are instrumental in education’s role as the flagship sector of the Australia-India relationship.

“We look forward to witnessing the progress of the Unnati Grant projects and the long-lasting impact they will leave on the research landscape of both countries,” Ms Singh said.

“Through collaboration, we can harness the expertise and resources of both nations to achieve greater progress in key areas of priority, leading to lasting social and economic outcomes for Australia, India and the planet.”

Grant activities will be completed by 8 December 2023. 

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