UK – India Innovation for Net Zero: Exploring place-based bilateral partnerships

International collaboration can boost the power of places to deliver on net zero goals. A new partnership between the UK and India which involves Connected Places Catapult is hoping to achieve just that.

Specialists in the fields of science and technology from both the UK and India are coming together to make concerted progress in working towards net zero. Policymakers, research and development companies, start-up firms, investors and place leaders are all involved and have important roles to play.

The imperative to decarbonise is becoming ever more urgent. However the path to net zero will not be trodden alone, nation-by-nation, sector-by-sector, city-by-city. It will increasingly rely on innovation and the efforts of communities in districts, quarters, zones, clusters and hubs to share their learnings.

Connected Places Catapult is a partner in the UK-India Net Zero Centre Programme – a coalition of specialists from the two countries, along with Energy Systems Catapult and the Centre for Process Innovation. Together, they are working to harness the UK-India science and technology superpower partnership to accelerate the path to net zero.

As part of this, Connected Places Catapult investigated the scale of potential and the appetite for collaboration between UK and Indian cities. It identified potential pairings of innovative places with complimentary challenges and ambitions for decarbonisation.

Bilateral innovation to unlock opportunity

Primary challenges shared by the UK and India include industries that need to decarbonise, and built environment, transport and energy systems that must become greener and more efficient. Aligned to this, demand for more integrated approaches to planning infrastructure and land use is growing rapidly.

The UK and India share world-class expertise in science and technology, bold business leadership and ambitious cities seeking to drive action towards net zero. Both nations are committed to partner on investment, technology and joint leadership on climate and clean energy, set to grow in line with the India-UK Future Relations Roadmap 2030.

Building on this relationship, innovation partnerships between India and the UK offer huge promise to accelerate collaboration to meet net zero goals. We’ve explored a range of case studies that showcase best practice, including the West Midlands’ MIRA technology park which collaborated with the Hyderabad T-hub on battery and EV expertise.

Shared interests, challenges and opportunities are what fuels these kinds of international partnership projects, and the work between the UK and India serves as a leading example. Bringing both nations’ academic prowess on board is an important aspect of the initiative, with strong university links created to drive research and discovery on the topic of net zero.

Learning from Greater Manchester Region and Bengaluru

A Greater Manchester Region delegation visit to Bengaluru in March 2023 and a series of workshops represent another great example of the partnerships delivering benefit. This coalition was led by Connected Places Catapult in collaboration with The Business of Cities, Manchester India Partnership, and Global Business Inroads.

Through this engagement, several exciting opportunities were identified ranging from knowledge sharing on harnessing the power of hydrogen to innovation district partnerships.

Combining these learnings, a partnership model was designed to outline how place-based innovation collaborations can become both mutually beneficial and self-sustaining for city innovation ecosystems going forward.

The ambition is to build on these findings and unlock the scale of potential identified in a future phase of work. Through developing the Greater Manchester Region and Bengaluru partnership and engaging other high-potential pairings of innovation places, the programme hopes to demonstrate and scale the impact that can be achieved through international partnerships for net zero.

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Innovation Twins Places driving a Net Zero Future
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UK-India Partnership Design Report
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UK-India Executive Summary Report
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