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Prime Minister Theresa May has hosted over 100 female Indian scholars — all studying science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects — at No. 10 Downing Street in London. 

May had the scholars over for tea, according to the British Council, before the scholars then met parliamentarians at the House of Lords last week. 

All the scholars are currently completing their masters in STEM subjects at 43 universities the UK, as part of a scholarship programme designed to boost women-led development. 

The women also met business and university leaders to explore potential work placements. 

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The scholarship programme is run by the British Council, Britain’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.  

“Meeting the prime minister at her home in 10 Downing Street is an unforgettable day for our scholars,” said Alan Gemmell, India director at the British Council.

“The scholars’ visit is a reminder of the critical importance of the educational relationship between Britain and India and that the UK welcomed 18,000 students from across India last year,” he added. 

He said that the scholars are “ambassadors for the future relationship between the UK and India,” describing it as a relationship focused on “creativity, innovation, and life-changing opportunities,” according to the Times of India

One of the scholars, Sheryl Paul from Maharashtra, who is studying for her MSc in computer science from the University of Oxford, said the past year “has been one of the most fulfilling years of my life.” 

“From finding out about the British Council STEM scholarships to meeting some of the most influential people across the world as a result of the scholarship, and pursuing a world-class Masters degree in the UK, it has all been great,” she told Times of India

“I aim to make the most of this opportunity and am very excited to learn that this opportunity has been extended to more Indian researchers,” she said. 

Shivangi Srivastava is another of the scholars, studying for a masters in genetics of human disease at University College London. 

“Coming from a middle-class family, studying in the UK looked like a dream too far-fetched,” she told the British Council. “The 70th Anniversary Scholarship by British Council has been an unanticipated surprise which has made my dream of studying genetics of human disease at University College London come true.” 

“I hope that I will be able to use this opportunity to become a successful scientist,” she added.

The British Council also used the event to announce the second edition of its 70th Anniversary Scholarship programme — for which it will fund full tuition scholarships worth £1 million for 70 more Indian women to study in the UK in the year 2019-20. 

Female candidates with an offer from a UK university by Jan. 30 2019 will be eligible to apply for the new round of scholarships, according to reports. 

The British Council said in a statement that its investment in women scholars “supports Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s shift to women-led development,” as well as supporting the UN’s Global Goal. 5 for gender equality. 


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Over 100 Female STEM Scholars From India Just Met UK PM Theresa May for Tea

By Imogen Calderwood