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					            Bridging the Urban and Rural Divide
                       Call type: Call for UK participants
            Closing date: Wednesday 01 September 2010, 16:00
                   Date of workshop: 18-21 October 2010
                            Location: Nagpur, India

This is a ‘Call for UK Participants’ to take part in a four-day consortium-building
workshop held in collaboration between the Research Councils UK Digital
Economy and Energy Programmes, and the Department of Science and
Technology of India to explore research challenges in ‘Bridging the Urban and
Rural Divide’ in preparation for a joint call for proposals.

The Research Councils’ Digital Economy (DE) and Energy programmes invite
expressions of interest from eligible individuals to attend a workshop to be held
in collaboration with The Department of Science and Technology of India (DST)
in Nagpur and Wardha, India from 18-21 October 2010.

The aim of the workshop is to stimulate collaborative thinking around the
research challenges of making rural living a sustainable option in both countries
in preparation for a joint UK-India call for research proposals. The DE and Energy
programmes have allocated up to £6 million, matched by DST (£12 million total)
to fund research arising from the call.

The nature of the challenges in this area demands an innovative,
multidisciplinary and international approach. Consequently, the aim of this
workshop is to bring together researchers from the UK and India from a range of
disciplines. Participants will be expected to engage constructively in dialogue with
each other through a series of workshop activities and site visits in India.

This activity builds on the success of previous joint activities between RCUK and

Applicants should note that travel to India 17-22 October 2010 will be
necessary and should note the guidance in the Special Considerations
section of this call document.

This call for participants applies to UK participants only. DST will run a
separate process to select India participants.

The Research Challenges
Following consultation of research communities in the UK and India, the following
research challenges have emerged to be addressed by ‘Bridging the Urban and

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rural Divide’, framed by the underpinning aim of making rural living an
economically, societal and technologically sustainable option.

Research projects should encompass at least one cross-cutting theme, may
address more than one key challenge, and must be highly cross-disciplinary and
collaborative in nature.

Cross Cutting Themes
   Robust Digital infrastructure for All
   This theme builds on UK and India research strengths and a healthy portfolio
   of small-scale projects in both countries. Focus may be on new and emerging
   technologies such as cognitive radio and decentralised control, or effective
   integration of existing technologies (including mobile phones) and sustainable
   management of the resulting diverse infrastructure. Low technology
   approaches should be complimented by high technology security.

   Sustainable Energy for All
   This theme focuses on local, renewable energy generation and intelligent
   energy infrastructure management. Research challenges include finding
   solutions for distributed and small-scale energy generation, the role of
   automation and control to manage off-grid generation and ensuring security
   of supply and interoperability.

Key Challenges
Using robust digital infrastructure and sustainable energy as enabling factors:

   Research under this theme may focus on community ownership of healthcare
   service delivery, low-cost point-of-care diagnostics and information flows and
   information management.

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   This theme focuses on the enterprise that can be enabled by this joint
   activity. Developing rural-specific business models, involving communities in
   design and empowering communities to take ownership of solutions is key, as
   is connecting rural production to urban consumption and connecting rural and
   urban economies in the third sector. Research challenges include the inclusion
   of local businesses and local business coordination, local processing of food
   and/or production of branded goods and wealth and microfinance.

   The ability to move people and resources effectively and efficiently is key to
   making rural living a sustainable option and enabling rural enterprise.
   Research may address challenges in asset location services, management,
   resource and delivery of food and water and the challenges of building and
   sustaining rural transport infrastructure.

Underpinning the headline themes of this joint activity is research into the
enabling technologies that will form a technological basis for the projects. As well
as the human capital empowerment that will be essential for successful adoption
of new technologies and approaches in rural communities, including involving
communities in design from the outset, supporting people to understand
technologies and approaches and developing culturally sustainable solutions.

Furthermore, research supported in ‘Bridging the Urban and Rural Divide’ should
be accessible, affordable and sustainable. Solutions should have the
potential to be owned, modified and evolved by users, enhance and promote
better quality of life and recognise, support and enable diversity.

Societal Implications and Ethical Issues
It is recognised that some areas of Bridging the Urban and Rural Divide have the
potential to raise societal, ethical, philosophical and legal issues, and
opportunities also exist for research in areas outside the natural sciences and
engineering, for example philosophy, sociology and history. The involvement of
researchers from these other fields is essential to ensure that scientific research
develops in a societal framework and that any ethical, legal and societal issues
that are raised are fully explored as the area develops.

How will the Workshop be run?
The workshop will be an intensive, interactive environment, where a diverse
group of participants from a range of disciplines and backgrounds get together
for four days – away from their everyday worlds – to immerse themselves in real
challenges and collaborative thinking processes in order to understand the
research challenges and collaborative approaches required to address them.

The programme will involve: scoping of current state of the art and perceived
challenges; field visits to rural projects in the Nagpur region; networking and
consortium building; input to the RCUK-DST joint call that will follow.

The workshop will be an intensive event. For the well-being of participants, the
venues offer opportunities for relaxation, and the timetable will include

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networking and other activities as a break from the detailed technical

Applicants should note that travel to India will be required and that visa
and medical preparations will need to be made as detailed in the Special
Considerations section of this call document.

Following the workshop, a call for joint proposals will be published by RCUK and
DST. This will be an open call, but proposals must include at least one
investigator who was present at the workshop. A full list of workshop participant
contact details will be published with the call.

Who Should Attend?
Having the right mix of participants influences the success or failure of such an
event. Attendees will be selected to ensure a suitable multidisciplinary mix of
expertise to cover the research challenges highlighted. Applications are
encouraged from across all disciplines relevant to the research challenges
articulated in this document.

Attendees will be expected to engage in international networking and consortium
building activities as well as field visits to rural projects in India.

Location and Date
This workshop will take place in Wardha, India on 18-21 October 2010. Hotel
accommodation for participants will be located in the city of Nagpur, with daily
travel to Wardha by organised transport.

We would recommend that participants aim to arrive in Nagpur on Sunday 17
October, and depart on Friday 22 October.

An application to attend will be taken to mean you are available to travel
to India for these dates, and will attend if selected.

The environment will encourage free and open-minded thinking, vital for the
purposes of this event. Full details of the venue, how to get there and the
accommodation arrangements will be sent to participants.

It should be noted that flight and India transfer, workshop travel,
accommodation, refreshments, breakfast, lunch and dinner costs on workshop
and travel dates will be met by RCUK and DST. RCUK appreciates that as the
workshop is an interactive, residential event, requiring participants to be away
from home for the whole duration, then this may cause complications with
regards to childcare. RCUK expects that any additional costs relating to childcare
should be met by your employer. All other incidental costs occurred while at the
event must be met by the participant.

If you need any adjustments made at the venue then please let us know by
including details in your covering email.

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Special Considerations

Applicants will be required to hold valid visas for entry to India for business
purposes for the dates of the workshop. Applications take at least one month to
process and we recommend that successful applicants begin applying as soon as
they are invited to the workshop.

Further information is available at:

If you have experienced, or anticipate any difficulties in obtaining a visa
please provide details in a covering e-mail to your application.

Applicants should note the NHS advice for precautions when travelling to India as
detailed at the following link:
(east)/india.aspx. In particular, it should be noted at Nagpur and Wardha fall
within the ‘variable risk’ region of India for Malaria and antimalarials are usually

An application to attend will be taken to mean you are eligible to apply
for an India business visa and would be able to complete this application
in time for the event. It will also be assumed that in applying, you are
aware of the medical implications of travelling to the Nagpur region of
India and are willing and able to take the necessary precautions.

Applying to Participate in the Workshop
Applications are invited from individual academic researchers who can contribute
to the workshop and resulting research projects. Anyone eligible to apply for
funding from EPSRC, ESRC, AHRC or MRC is eligible to apply to attend the
workshop. Approximately 15 UK participants will be identified to take part in the
workshop, with equivalent numbers from India being selected by DST in a
separate process.

In order to participate, the person applying must be available to travel to India
and attend for the full duration of the workshop.

Applicants should complete the short Expression of Interest (EoI) form
(maximum two sides). Your answers to these questions will be used to assess
your application and convince us that you have the suitable skills and attitude to
participate in this workshop. No further documentation will be accepted.

The deadline for applications is Wednesday 01 September 2010 at 16:00.
Applications should be submitted electronically to Please
include “BURD India Workshop EoI” and your surname in the subject field. Please
note that late submissions will not be considered further.

Applicants will be informed of their selection for the workshop event by the 03
September 2010 to allow time for visa applications and medical measures to be
taken. If selected as a participant your business contact details will be published
with the call for proposals that will follow this workshop.

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Assessing Applications
Applications to attend will be considered by an Internal RCUK Selection Panel in
order to ensure a mix of disciplines and experience. Overall, the Selection Panel
will seek to ensure that a balance of expertise is present at the workshop; their
assessment will be based on the specific criteria outlined below.

Participant selection criteria will be:

     Evidence of links to research challenges.

     Experience of international collaboration.

     Complementary to other participants to ensure a spread across disciplines
      (science, technology, and social/community elements).

     Experience of or potential to lead a multidisciplinary team.

     Experience of or desire to conduct user-focused research.

Please ensure you fully complete the EoI form and do not exceed the two page
limit, as this is the only information on which potential workshop attendees will
be selected. It is therefore important to give evidence of your experience against
the criteria in your application.

Applicants should show an appreciation of the challenges, the latest research and
the current and future issues in making living rurally a sustainable option when
completing their Expression of Interest.

Please note that because of the large number of applications expected, we will
not be able to give individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

Post Workshop joint call for proposals
Following the workshop, a joint call for proposals will be launched by RCUK and
DST to foster UK-India collaborative projects in ‘Bridging the Urban and rural

The call will be open to all applicants eligible for RCUK/DST funding, but
proposals must include at least one investigator who was present at the

It is anticipated that this call will open in early November 2010.

For Further Information
For further information, advice or queries regarding the format of the event or
application procedure please contact:

Dr Hannah Foreman,
Portfolio Manager, Digital Economy and energy Programmes
EPSRC, Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1ET
01793 444428

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