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[NEW DELHI] Nine top research and development institutions from rich and poor countries have launched a Global Research Alliance aimed at using their collective skills in science and technology for the "global good".

The alliance will promote scientific collaboration to address the world's most pressing problems, especially in the areas of water, health, energy, transport and the digital divide.

Ragunath Mashelkar, head of India's Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who launched the initiative in New Delhi earlier this month, said that the alliance was uniquely placed to combine not only skills, but also experience from both the developed and the developing worlds.

"We are joined by our dedication to serving the greater good through innovation and research," he said. "Alone, we can each have tremendous impact in the countries we serve. Now, together, we can serve the greater sphere of mankind."

Other countries involved in the alliance are Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Malaysia, The Netherlands, South Africa and the United States. The alliance's secretariat will open in Pretoria, South Africa, in three to four months. It will then start bidding for research and development 'megaprojects' floated by national or international agencies.

It is expected that the alliance will forge close ties with institutions such as the World Bank, the European Union and other international funding agencies.

The idea to set up the alliance was proposed at a meeting in Pretoria, South Africa in April 2002. Participants signed a declaration to undertake large impact studies for the benefit of society, create synergies by pooling skills and resources, promote highly innovative projects, and develop global knowledge networks to enhance the competitiveness of industry.

See also:

Global Research Alliance

Members of the Global Research Alliance:

Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Battelle Memorial Institute
Danish Technological Institute
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft
Indian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
South Africa Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research
Sirim Berhad
Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)