IISc visit of UK VVIP delegation

IISc visit of the UK Foreign Secretary on December 17, 2020: An Overview

During the visit of The Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP, First Secretary of the State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom and a delegation to the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Office of International Relations (OIR) of IISc coordinated the “Sustainability Showcase Event” and “Roundtable on Emerging Tech, Ethics and Governance” in association with the British Deputy High Commissioner’s office in Bangalore. The visit began with the “tree plantation” ceremony by the VVIP, in the presence of the Director of IISc, Prof. Govindan Rangarajan and Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan (Chairman of Axilor Ventures and one of the founders of Infosys), at the proposed site of demonstrator in the campus as part of SolarOASIS, a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project (£13m).

After the formal reception of the delegation, the VVIP announced the winner of the Bangalore Tech Partnership Challenge and £70k AI Upskilling course, delivered by AI Core. Prof. Satish Patil from IISc’s Solid State and Structural Chemistry Unit provided a brief overview of SolarOASIS, which aspires to deploy sustainable buildings to rural areas to enhance farmer livelihoods.

The Sustainability Showcase displayed 6 different businesses with innovations ranging from drones to mobility solutions. It included Blue Planet, Chakr Innovation, Aerologiks, Euprime, Openwater.in (founded by Dr. Sanjiv Sambandan & Dr. Karthik Raghunandan at IISc), Nutan Labs (a spinoff company from the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering at IISc), Transvahan e-rickshaw (developed by Professor Ashish Verma from IISc’s Department of Civil Engineering). Here, representatives from each exhibit outlined the development and application of each innovation.

The idea of the round table was to convene the UK and Indian business leaders and academia, to discuss the twin challenges of ensuring that policy frameworks covering new and emerging tech are appropriate to enable growth, and address issues of ethics and inclusion. The discussion covered topics on cyber space, quantum, AI and 5G technologies, where the objective was to identify the opportunities for stronger UK-India collaboration in new and emerging technologies, particularly around sound governance structures to address equity and inclusion. The session commenced with the welcome remarks of Director Prof. Rangarajan, followed by an introduction from the VVIP. Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan acted as the Chair for the proceedings, where the key attendees were: Prof. KVS Hari (Registrar and Chief Project Executive of British Telecom India Research Center at IISc), Ms. Vidya Laxman (CTO, TESCO, Bangalore), Prof. B Gurumoorthy (Chief Executive, Society for Innovation and development at IISc) Prof. Arindam Ghosh (Department of Physics at IISc), Prof. Dame Wendy Hall (Regius Professor of Computer Science at University of Southampton) Dr. Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh (Co-director, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence & Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at University of Cambridge), Prof. Amaresh Chakrabarti (Chair, Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing at IISc), Mr. Ramakrishna Puranam (Head of Emerging Technologies, Wipro Enterprises), Mr. Kamesh Gupta (Sr. Vice President, Tata Sons), Mr. Deepak Padaki (Executive Vice President, Strategy & Chief Risk Officer, Infosys Limited) Ms. Poornima Shenoy (Founder of Hummingbirds Advisors and serial entrepreneur), Prof. Y Narahari (Dean, Division of Electrical Electronics and Computer Science) and Prof. Phaneendra K Yalavarthy (Chair, Office of International Relations at IISc).

The video recording of the entire event is available at the link below: