Wednesday, 5 November 2014

India-UK collaborate to study non-communicable diseases....

LONDON: Indians who have moved from India to the UK will soon form base of the first of its kind collaboration between UK and India to study non communicable diseases like diabetes, cancer and gain insights into their genomics. 

The UK's Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday made a joint announcement inviting proposals for collaborative research projects, primarily for the development of longitudinal and clinical studies of substance misuse and associated consequences. 

The call aims to promote research collaboration between the UK and Indian investigators in the area of substance misuse and mental health for exploiting the mutual strengths of the two communities. 

The MRC will allocate up to £2 million for this programme through the Newton Fund. 

ICMR will fund the Indian component under this programme. It is anticipated that 2-4 research projects will be funded, subjected to quality for a duration of 2-3 years. 

MRC said "There is a high burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including mental health in the Indian population. Recognising the timeliness of scaling up research on substance misuse and its associated problems, the ICMR and MRC identified it as an immediate area of mutual cooperation at the last joint working group meeting held in London in June 2013. 

Proposals will be invited to address two key areas: comparative studies between India and the UK, for example including families who have moved from India to the UK. The pilot work to establish a new cohort to cover brain imaging, epigenetics, environmental influences on neural function, bioinformatics, genomics, stress reactivity paradigms, blood related assessments and eye movement studies". 

Research Councils UK India (RCUK) brings together the best researchers in the UK and India through high-quality, high-impact research partnerships. RCUK India, based at the British High Commission in New Delhi, has facilitated co-funded initiatives between the UK, India and third parties that have grown close to £150 million. The research collaborations are often closely linked with UK and Indian industry partners, with more than 90 partners involved in the research.

Indian-origin entrepreneur launches unique remittance service...
LONDON: A London-based Indian-origin entrepreneur has launched a unique "pay-what-you-want" money remittance service that abolishes compulsory fees. 

India-born Rajesh Agrawal believes his Xendpay online platform will save customers in the developing world 60 pounds million over the next five years. 

India is the largest recipient of remittances in the world, with USD 71 billion sent last year. World Bank figures show global migrants last year sent home 250 billion pounds in remittances to developing countries - with an eight per cent increase predicted for 2014. 

"It is a social imperative that the cost of sending money abroad is significantly reduced," said Agrawal, who announced the launch here this week. 

"The remittance industry takes far more than it needs to in profit and in doing so drains away a lot of money that would otherwise reach those in developing nations. By launching a no fees, best rate transfer service I hope to challenge and change this," he added. 

Under the Xendpay model, customers can send anything from 1 to 100,000 pounds and will be asked to "tip" what they want for the service - even if it's nothing - and will also be given the best exchange rates usually reserved for multinational corporations. 

"I set up Xendpay not to be the biggest or to make money but to make money transfer better and cheaper. I believe people will recognise the value in what we are doing both financially and socially and that as a result the discretionary 'tips' model will work," explains Agrawal. 

The Xendpay model has been accepted as a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action, with an objective to save people sending money through the platform. Established by Bill Clinton in 2005, the CGI convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. 

Xendpay is part of the Rational Group of companies, which offers low-cost money transfer services which has made transfers worth over USD 5 billion of transfers since inception in 2005.