NEW YORK, United States — An Indian-born filmmaker who has made a career from films like “The Queen” and “Ajay Bhaskar’s Bollywood,” will lead a new UK research institute that aims to foster scientific collaboration and create jobs for young Indians.
The new Institute for Indian Science and Technology, or ISIT, will focus on a number of Indian science and technology subjects, including “the role of Indian media in promoting the cultural values of Indianness and Indian science,” ISIT founder Shashank Kapoor said.
The institute, which is expected to be formally launched in June, is part of the “new India” initiative launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the wake of a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament that killed four people and wounded more than 200.
The attack on Parliament on May 11 that killed five people, including a parliamentarian and a lawmaker, left India reeling and triggered a global outpouring of support for India’s embattled prime minister, Narendra Modi, who has struggled to win over a sceptical public.
The attacks and subsequent violence against Indian politicians have also fueled an anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment in India.
Modi has vowed to bring more Indians into science and innovation, while his government has proposed to increase the number of scientists in its ranks from 10,000 to 15,000.
He has also called for the creation of a government science academy and for a national research institute for science.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the institute would be “a hub for research on Indian science, technology, engineering and science education” and that it would “reward those who work on these topics”.
It’s the first such institute in the United States and will include at least 25 scientists and a graduate school, the government said.
Indian-born Kapoor, whose films include “The Prince of Egypt” and the upcoming “The Lion King,” has also starred in “The Princess Bride” and directed “Cinematic.”
The announcement comes as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been touring India and the U.S. to urge Indian companies to invest in the U-shaped world that the country is building.