The Ministry of Human Resources Development embarked upon an ambitious program, “The Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration” (SPARC) aimed at further improving the academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best of institutions in the world to jointly solve problems of national and/or international relevance. IIT Kharagpur has been given the responsibility of being the national coordinator with other nodal Institutes of India and has invited a lot of proposal from all IIT’s. The scheme plans to support about 600 such joint collaborations across 100 Indian Institutions over a period of two years with a total budget of Rs 418 Crores.
The salient features of SPARC initiative are visits and long-term stay of top international faculty/researchers in Indian institutions to pursue teaching and research and visits by Indian students for training and experimentation in premier laboratories worldwide. IIT Bhubaneswar currently got the approval of as many as eleven research proposals out of the twenty-five submitted. While the review process is currently on for the other projects, these approved projects got a technical approval and sanction of Rs. 6, 18, 37,534.
Prof. R.V Raja Kumar, Director, IIT Bhubaneswar said that, “The objective of the SPARC program is very noble, it will certainly enable us in forging new relationships with reputed research groups across the globe and I compliment the Ministry for providing this kind of an opportunity to the Institutions. As you may be aware, MHRD has been constantly encouraging the IIT’s to further progress to find a place in the top global class of Institutes. We at IIT, Bhubaneswar have been encouraging our faculty to forge such relationships and hence there has been very enthusiastic response in submitting proposals and achieved good success in this direction. IIT Bhubaneswar with its quest for being well respected amongst the global class of Institutes has been trying to recruit foreign faculties in regular courses for longer periods with the objective of providing a related flavour of education and has been successful for the last three years. SPARC will, in turn, give a further boost to enhance the vigour of this endeavour. Some of the very notable universities with which IIT Bhubaneswar through SPARC will partner are University of Dundee, Brunel University, U.K., University of Illinois, Chicago, University of Minnesota, University of California, New York University, U.S.A, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and the University of Auckland, New Zealand.”
The eleven approved proposals are in the key areas such as Earth, Green and Renewable Technologies, Affordable Health Care, Energy and Water Sustainability, Advanced Sensors and Electronics Communications, Advanced Interdisciplinary Sciences and Technologies for Forensics, Security and Safety. The SPARC grants will help IIT Bhubaneswar to collaborate with international universities from U. K., U.S.A, Singapore, and New Zealand along with world-class faculties and researchers from across the globe to undertake joint research work and to offer short term courses to the students. The expected outcomes include tangible results in terms of large quantity of high quality research publications, solution to key national and international problems, development of niche courses that can be converted to scalable on-line offerings, development of internationally used text-books and widely read research monographs, creation of next generation manpower trained in sophisticated instrumentation, imbibing of best practices from top international academicians and researchers, strong bilateral and international cooperation and improved world reputation and ranking of Indian Institutions.