UK businesses and universities look to bolster ties with India

Following Brexit, UK businesses and universities are looking to strengthen ties beyond Europe, and have set their eyes on India.

In collaboration with Middlesex University London, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) recently released a set of reports entitled Bridges to the Future, showcasing how British businesses, universities, and their Indian counterparts can form successful partnerships together.

CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn said following the EU referendum, “strong global links and being open to the brightest and best are vital”.

“Universities encapsulate these endeavours. Built on shared opportunity and a need for openness the higher education links between India and the UK include some of the strongest and fastest-growing partnerships between our two countries,” she wrote in the foreword.

The UK is currently India’s largest G20 investor and employer, with more British universities partnering up with Indian institutions to “provide new and innovative study opportunities” for India’s students.

Another CBI report found that 535 UK companies currently employ around 691,000 people across India, totalling 5.5 percent of all organised private sector jobs in the country.

The UK also gains from trade relations between the two nations: around 800 Indian businesses collectively invest more in the UK than in the rest of Europe.

As for universities, India has long-recognised the quality of UK higher education, and more than 2,000 academics with Indian nationality work in British institutions.

Commenting on the report, David Williams, Middlesex University’s Director of Corporate Development said that India has a growing middle class with “an appetite for higher education”, as well as institutions that have a desire for links with world-renowned UK universities.

“Our work with the CBI has come at a critical time for British universities who need more than ever to be global, to form partnerships, and to keep pace with the ever-changing skills needs in the business world,” he said.

The report names various collaborations between companies and universities in the UK and India, using them as case studies supporting the benefits of further partnerships.

It also suggests several areas which show the most potential, such as research in science, technology, and innovation; improving teaching and learning quality; digital learning technologies; and internationalisation.

Image via Reuters

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