The Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB), represented by Sudhanshu Vrati, Executive Director, and the European Synchrotron (ESRF), represented by Francesco Sette, Director General, under the auspices of the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT) of Government of India and of the ESRF Council, signed a three-year Arrangement for the medium-term scientific use of synchrotron radiation for non-proprietary research, with focus in structural biology, in order to provide access to the ESRF for Indian scientists.
With this agreement, India is the twenty-second country joining the ESRF, with a level of participation of 0.66%.
Collaboration between the ESRF and the Indian scientific community in the field of synchrotron radiation has been increasing steadily over recent years. An important milestone in this respect was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ESRF and the National Institute of Immunology (NII) in December 2009. This MoU allowed for closer collaboration between the ESRF and the Indian macromolecular crystallography community interested in the use of synchrotron light, notably via a contribution to the management and operation of the ESRF beamline BM14 by the NII in collaboration with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) since January 2010.
Prof. Sudhanshu Vrati, stated that RCB represents DBT in this agreement with great pride. He is confident that this new agreement will lead to exciting new discoveries and nucleate other scientific collaborations between India and Europe.
Prof. Dinakar Salunke, long-time supporter of the collaboration in Structural Biology between the ESRF and India, and presently Director of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of New Delhi, expressed his satisfaction for this important step and underlined the new scientific opportunities in Biology that the ESRF will offer in the future.
India joins the ESRF at a critical time, in which a new and revolutionary EBS synchrotron source will become operational in 2020. The EBS source will enable, with its unprecedented performances, discoveries in living matter and material research to the benefit of human knowledge, and progress in health, environment and innovative technology challenges.
Dr. Francesco Sette, ESRF Director General, very pleased and honoured by the decision of India to join the ESRF, and in particular, its forefront structural biology programme, commented that the ESRF community will greatly benefit from the collaboration with the vibrant Indian scientific community.