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Top Commonwealth scientists to gather in India

24 November 2014

Some of the world’s most outstanding and influential scientists will meet in Bangalore from 25 to 28 November 2014 at the Commonwealth Science Conference.

Organised by the Royal Society and supported by the Government of India and The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, this will be the first Commonwealth Science Conference (CSC) for nearly 50 years. The local arrangements are made by Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR).

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate the conference at the J.N. TATA Auditorium, IISc on November 25, 2014.

The CSC aims to celebrate excellence in Commonwealth science, to provide opportunities for cooperation between researchers in different Commonwealth countries, to inspire young people, and to build scientific capacity in the developing nations within the Commonwealth.

The Commonwealth forms a significant part of the global scientific community. It is home to 12 percent of the world’s researchers and accounts for around 10 percent of global research and development expenditure. The Commonwealth represents nearly a third of the world’s population, in 53 countries across the globe. Science is uniquely placed to contribute to the Commonwealth’s shared goals of democracy and development. With an estimated 60 percent of its population under the age of 30, the Commonwealth is set to play an ever more important role in the world’s future.

Key note lectures will be given by Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society and Professor CNR Rao, former Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. Delegates from across the Commonwealth will participate in a very broad programme of events across the 4 days of the conference. Topics covered will include physical sciences, life sciences, mathematics and engineering, as well as science policy. The Conference will be attended by more than 300 specially invited scientists and 70 PhD students from across the Commonwealth, together with local delegates from Bangalore. It is anticipated that representatives from over 30 countries will attend.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, Head of the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Town
  • Professor Raghavendra Gadagkar, President, Indian National Science Academy (INSA)
  • Professor Paul Teelucksingh, Professor, Adult Medicine, The University of the West Indies
  • Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Professor Linda Nazar, Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo
  • Professor Suzanne Cory FRS, Past President, Australian Academy of Science
  • Lord Rees FRS, Past President, Royal Society      
  • Sir Richard Friend FRS, Cavendish Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Low Teck Seng, Chief Executive Officer, National Research Foundation, Singapore

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon Limited (India); N. R. Narayana Murthy, Catamaran Ventures, President-Infosys Science Foundation and K. Kasturirangan, Trustee, Raman Research Institute Trust will speak in the Entrepreneurship and innovation in India session on November 26, 2014.

Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said:

“The next few days will be a celebration of scientific excellence across the Commonwealth. We will hear from speakers in fields as diverse as dinosaur palaeontology and cosmology.  We will debate the state of scientific advice across the Commonwealth with the chief scientific advisors of Malaysia, Australia and the UK. We will hear a series of regional perspectives relating to science across the Commonwealth. The Royal Society is the science academy of the Commonwealth and our links with the Commonwealth are increasing. I am delighted to be in India on this auspicious occasion.”

Professor CNR Rao FRS, co-chair of the steering committee for the conference, said:

“It is truly wonderful that science in the Commonwealth is getting the importance it deserves through the Commonwealth Science Conference. I feel that this will not only provide a forum for discussion and for exchange of views but also for closer collaboration and cooperation in science amongst the Commonwealth countries.”

Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, said:

“The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is delighted to be able to support the Commonwealth Science Conference. Its aims dovetail with the Trust's. Our programmes, the prevention of avoidable blindness and development of youth leadership across the Commonwealth, rely on scientific collaboration, capacity building and the nurturing of young talent. This exciting meeting of exceptional minds is sure to inspire and create new connections for the future.”

The full programme, together with abstracts and biographical information on speakers, is available here: commonwealth.royalsociety.org/