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The University of Southampton
The India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development

The UK's future in India is bright

Sir David Payne talks about his close links with India and how the University of Southampton's relationship with the country is a bright light for the future.

Sir David Payne
Sir David Payne

Sir David Payne, a leading Professor of photonics at the University of Southampton and Director of the Optoelectronics Research Centre and Zepler Institute, is a world class pioneer of technology. His work has dramatically impacted the advance of telecommunications and laser technology over the last forty years.

During these four decades, Sir David has made numerous trips to India, building an invaluable network of friendships and working partnerships in photonics research and education.

His contribution to the country was recently acknowledged when he was awarded two prestigious foreign fellowships – one from the Indian Academy of Engineering and one from the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) for his ‘pioneering contributions to the world of science and relationship with scientific activities in India’.

The President of INSA, Ajay Kumar Sood, acknowledged Sir David as a ‘person of distinction’ and looked forward to the fellowship ‘bringing a closer relationship of the scientific communities of both our countries.’

Sir David talked about the key to his success in India, and his thoughts on what the future holds for the special relationship he, and the University of Southampton, has with the country.

"I have seen a vast amount of change in the years I’ve worked with colleagues and contacts in India. Not just in the country itself, and its development, but also in the approach and motivation behind the great working relationship we have with people there.

"India has one of the fastest growing economies amongst developing nations, with world-renowned universities and engineering schools, and a new educational infrastructure which is benefiting its vast youth population who have a huge thirst for learning.

"On so many levels when it comes to research, technology and business India is now equal to, or better than, the UK, such that our relationship has blossomed into one of true reciprocity; there is much we can learn from each other at this stage and my experience is that both countries are very keen to do so.

"India is emerging as a world leader on many frontiers, particularly in space technology, where work in the country has progressed to a point where we can feel comfortable sending our best talent to gain new access to technology and scientific data, otherwise not available to the UK."


3 people receiving an award
Photonics 2018 Conference

Sir David is currently working closely with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, to form a formal relationship with the University of Southampton.

"I have found IIT Madras to be a particularly outgoing and entrepreneurial university with distinct strengths in photonics and telecoms – much like Southampton. 

"I have high hopes for what 2019 will bring in terms of working with India. We are already discussing future collaborations, exchange of people, opening access to new technology and looking at common challenges such as manufacturing, healthcare and smart cities."

For futher information visit the Optoelectronics Research Centre
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