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President Mukherjee launches ‘IMPRINT India’, a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative

President Mukherjee launches ‘IMPRINT India’, a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative

President Mukherjee launches ‘IMPRINT India’, a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative

The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee launched ‘IMPRINT India’, a Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges in ten technology domains relevant to India today (November 5, 2015) at Rashtrapati Bhavan on the second day of the Visitor’s Conference.

The idea of launching ‘IMPRINT India’ originated during the conference of Chairmen, Board of Governors and Directors of Indian Institutes of Technology convened by the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan on August 22, 2014. It is based on the Prime Minister’s suggestion that research done by institutions of national importance must be linked with immediate requirements of the society at large.

The objectives of this initiative is to (1) identify areas of immediate relevance to society requiring innovation, (2) direct scientific research into identified areas, (3) ensure higher funding support for research into these areas and (4) measure outcomes of the research effort with reference to impact on the standard of living in the rural/urban areas.

isro GSLV_Mark_III_IMPRINT India will focus on ten themes with each to be coordinated by one IIT/IISc, namely

(a) Health Care – IIT Kharagpur,

(b) Computer Science and ICT – IIT Kharagpur,

(c) Advance Materials – IIT Kanpur,

(d) Water Resources and River systems – IIT Kanpur,

(e) Sustainable Urban Design – IIT Roorkee,

(f) Defence – IIT Madras,

(g) Manufacturing – IIT Madras,

(h) Nano-technology Hardware- IIT Bombay,

(i) Environmental Science and Climate Change – IISc, Bangalore and

(j) Energy Security – IIT Bombay.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said the outcomes of the previous conferences have given us the confidence that the institutes of higher learning, if they come together, can make a difference in a short span of time to higher education sector in our country. He called upon the academic leaders of institutes in social sector and humanities’ domain to formulate a similar joint initiative like ‘IMPRINT India’ for conducting research on themes of relevance to public policy-making.

The President saidit is necessary to develop in our students a scientific temper, which allows the flight of imagination beyond the realm of grades and classrooms. Promotion of research at the under-graduate level would assist such an objective. The link between progress and innovation is direct. History is witness to many nations low on resources emerging as advanced economies only on the strength of rapid technological development. India today stands within a striking distance of realizing the dreams of the founding fathers of our nation. Indian youth are second to none in entrepreneurship. India serves as the fastest growing start-up base worldwide and stands third with 4,200 start-ups, next only to US and UK. The government has initiated the ‘Start-up India, Stand-up India’ campaign to incentivize entrepreneurial ventures. Heads of institutes of higher learning must work towards creating an innovation and research network that will produce entrepreneurs and nurture innovations. The setting up of Innovation Clubs in over 60 Central institutions in the last two years is a good beginning for a platform where novel ideas can be nurtured and innovators mentored to develop new products.

The President said in response to the decision taken in the conference of vice chancellors of central universities in 2014, industry interface cells have been set up in many institutions. These cells are now lending vigour to activities like joint research, faculty exchange, and setting up of chairs and endowments. These cells can also interact closely with innovation incubators for monetizing ideas and research. The 45 MoUs signed with the industry yesterday takes to next level the partnership between industry and academia.

The President saidacademic institutions are an important stakeholder for the socio-economic development of the nation. He had earlier asked central universities and NITs to adopt at least five villages and transform them into model villages. He said he now extends his call to all the 114 central institutions. After identifying problems in the adopted villages, they must pool all academic and technical resources at their disposal to provide solutions that will enhance the quality of life of our countrymen. Some encouraging developments in the recent past are intensified exchange of faculty through formal arrangements with foreign institutions; removal of bottlenecks and simplification of procedures for filling up faculty positions and engagement of adjunct faculty and hiring of foreign experts through the Global Initiative for Academic Networks.

The President said the National Institutional Ranking Framework launched by the Ministry of HRD with an India-centric approach is a step in the right direction. This initiative should enable Indian institutes of higher learning to realize their potential and emerge as world-class institutions.

The President said the new education policy must alter the dynamics of the education sector and help us achieve the GER target of 30 percent by 2020, a goal we cannot afford to miss.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi released the IMPRINT India brochure and hand over the first copy to the President of India on the occasion. The Prime Minister and Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani also addressed the gathering.

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