ACTIVITIES - Science and technology

Grant funding - Australian studies - Commerce - Education - Indian studies - Institutional and professional links - International relations - Performing and visual arts - Print and electronic media and film - Public awareness - Science and technology - Sport

The objectives of the Council's science and technology program are to demonstrate in India the high quality, sophistication and diversity of Australian science and technology products and services and to promote professional and institutional links between Australia and India in these fields.The science and technology program includes several areas of particular Council focus, including medicine and public health, agribusiness, mining and energy, environmental management, and heritage conservation.

Medicine and public health

The Council supported a wide range of projects in medicine and public health during 1997-98, with the overall aims of developing further collaboration between Australia and India in this field and promoting Australian health and medical services in India.Projects in this area were designed to follow on from initiatives developed during the 1996 Australia India - New Horizons promotion and during subsequent Council-supported health sector initiatives, and included:

  • funding to the Australian Academy of Science for a program of research exchanges between Australia and India in medical science, to commence in 1998
  • funding to the Australia India Health Industry Network for a program of seminars in India during December 1998 to promote Australian health care products and services, and for an Australian keynote speaker at the seminars
  • funding of $23 500 to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research for a collaborative research project with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh in vaccine development for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease
  • funding to enable Dr John Loy of the Australian Department of Health and Family services to participate in a pharmaceutical symposium in New Delhi during November 1997, with the objective of demonstrating Australian expertise in pharmaceutical services to India
  • funding for a visit to India in August 1997 by Dr Robin Anders, Professor

AJ Saul, Dr Qin Cheng and Dr Christine Rzepzyck of the Cooperative Research Centre for Vaccine Technology to participate in the Second Global Meet on Parasitic Diseases in Hyderabad in August 1997, and to initiate collaboration with Indian researchers into malaria eradication and prevention

  • funding to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne to assist the participation of Professor Padmanabhan, Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, as a keynote speaker in the Fifth Asian DNA Transcription Conference, held in Lorne, Victoria, in February 1998
  • funding to assist Sir Gustav Nossal, Emeritus Professor at the University of Melbourne, to participate as opening keynote speaker at the Tenth International Congress of Immunology in New Delhi in November 1998 and to hold further discussions on Australia-India collaboration in immunology and vaccinology

A project for the Red Cross Blood Service of Victoria to assist in the establishment of a model blood transfusion and quality control system through the Department of Transfusion Medicine at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, for which Council funding had been agreed during 1996-97, was implemented during 1997-98.The project was carried out by Dr Gordon Whyte and Mr Jim Mackenzie of the Red Cross Blood Service of Victoria, and resulted in the Bombay Red Cross Blood Bank regaining operational effectiveness.The project also assisted the Tata Memorial Hospital to develop a generic quality system for improved blood banks, to serve as a model for such facilities in India.

The Council sought an assessment from the Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Vaccine Technology of the prospects for long-term collaboration between the two countries in malaria vaccine research on a commercial basis, noting the seriousness of the malaria problem in India and elsewhere.An early outcome was the visit of Dr Ashima Bharadwaj of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi, with Council support, to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research in Melbourne from May to July 1998 to undertake collaborative research in malaria vaccines.The Council also provided funding for Dr Robin Anders of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute to hold discussions on further collaborative projects in malaria research with the Centre and the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow in July 1998.

A two-way exchange on public health promotion and education in India, for which Council funding had been agreed during 1996-97, resulted in visits to Australia during the latter half of 1997 by Mr Alok Mukhopadhyay, Executive Director of the Voluntary Health Association of India, and Professor Gouri Pada Dutta, Chairman of the Subject Committee, Health, West Bengal Planning Board to study the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) health promotion model.Subsequently, Dr Abby Bloom and Mr Mark Blackburn of VicHealth visited New Delhi and West Bengal to examine Indian health promotion needs.The project was organised by Ms Rhonda Galbally, Chief Executive Officer of VicHealth.

Agribusiness

The Council provided funding to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation to conduct a study visit to India in May 1998 to identify suitable areas for collaboration between Australian and Indian public sector agencies and business organisations in areas of agribusiness including food packaging, grain storage and handling, refrigerated transport and cold chain linkage, dairy product processing, wool processing, and quality retention of imported food.

Mining and energy

The Council agreed in principle to provide funding to Professor Chem Nayar of the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology Australia for a feasibility study on the potential application of various forms of renewable energy to Indian rural health schemes.

The Council also explored possible bilateral projects in mining technology, including a proposed visit to Australia by a delegation of Indian mining and environmental management representatives to examine Australian expertise and regulatory frameworks in sustainable mining practice and mine rehabilitation.

Environmental management

The Council provided funding to the Environment Protection Authority of Victoria to carry out a feasibility study for a training facility for Indian industry in environmental monitoring and regulation, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry.Council support for the feasibility study was first proposed during the Australia India - New Horizons promotion in 1996.It also followed a visit to New Delhi in March 1997 by the Chairman of the Authority, Dr Brian Robinson, facilitated by the Council, to present Australian viewpoints on environmental issues and to discuss potential areas of bilateral collaboration in the environmental field.

The Authority nominated Mr Dennis Monahan to carry out the feasibility study, involving visits to India in November 1997 and April 1998.After considering Mr Monahan's report on his visits to India, the Council agreed in principle to allocate funding for an Australian academic partner for the proposed training facility, on the understanding that the Confederation of Indian Industry would make a matching contribution and that the project would be self-funded within two to three years.

Heritage conservation

The Council provided funding to AusHeritage Ltd, the peak body for Australian cultural heritage conservation organisations, for a series of workshops to promote Australian expertise in cultural heritage conservation in India in December 1998.The Council also indicated its interest in possible support for follow-up activities to the project to promote long-term bilateral linkages in cultural heritage conservation.

 

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Introduction - Chairman's message - Board members - Mission statement, aim and objectives - Activities - Administrative overview - Appendix: Australia-India Council Trust Account Financial Statements 1997-98


 

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