On February 22, a Letter of Intent was signed between UCL’s president and provost Michael Arthur, and AIIMS’ director, Professor Randeep Guleria.
“We believe this collaborative initiative will enable a step change in genomic medicine”
“We are delighted to have signed a ‘Letter of Intent’ with AIIMS, agreeing to explore further how we might build on our strong relationship,” said Arthur.
“Through closer collaboration and sharing of our complementary expertise, UCL and AIIMS will gain a deeper insight into ground-breaking research and seek to fulfil our joint ambition to address some of the biggest challenges facing society today.
“Jointly seeking to further academic and student opportunities to work together more closely will also enrich both UCL’s and AIIMS’ communities, enabling them to develop and grow intellectually, culturally and socially.”
Arthur added that the partnership sits well with UCL’s approach to global engagement.
As part of the commitment, AIIMS has joined the International Centre for Genomic Medicine in Neuromuscular Diseases, a £5m initiative led by UCL that brings together skills and resources from five countries.
The aim of the centre is to develop an international fellowship program in genomic medicine, to increase the number of neuromuscular disease patients with an accurate genetic diagnosis, and to build “trial ready” cohorts and ultimately improve outcomes for patients.
Staff and resources from international centres in India, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa and Zambia are central to the partnership.
Professor of neurology at AIIMS, Padma Srivastava, said: “The AIIMS neurology team is delighted to be part of this major new MRC funded international genomics initiative with UCL.
“We believe this collaborative initiative will enable a step change in genomic medicine in neuromuscular diseases and will be a template for genomic understanding other neurological diseases in India.”
In 2018, UCL academics specialising in medical research and healthcare technologies welcomed AIIMS colleagues to London to discuss potential collaboration.
UCL vice provost-International Nicola Brewer said: “This initiative connects experts in the UK, India, Turkey, South Africa and Zambia in a significant global partnership.
“[It] will help to train a new generation of clinical academics who we hope will become leaders of genomic medicine and specialist care delivery in each of the partner countries,” she added.