Single-window funding makes its Imprint on campus R&D
NEW DELHI: Nearly a year after its launch, Modi government’s single window funding mechanism for boosting India-specific research, Imprint, has begun to yield results. 31 ministries and government departments have proposed to co-fund 229 research projects worth Rs 59,589 lakh at IITs and other premier Indian research institutes.
The apex committee on Imprint will meet today for final approval to these projects.
Health, Defence, IT departments have taken the lead with maximum projects proposed. Some of the proposals on the table are to develop autonomous drones for crop water management, wireless covered sensor nodes for a hostile environment, improved communications and surveillance systems in border areas and so on.
While the health ministry has proposed to co-fund as many as 62 projects worth Rs 13,325 lakh across India’s research institutes, pitching in with Rs 6,662 lakh, the Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has offered to support 43 projects of its interest area contributing Rs 5,103 lakh towards the total project cost of Rs 10,206 lakh. The Department of Science & Technology wants to help fund 24 projects while the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (MEITY) has proposed 21 projects. ISRO has pitched 7 projects while Power ministry and Urban Development and Renewable Energy ministries have associated themselves with 11 projects each.
The Imprint is riding currently on a corpus of Rs 50 crore and plans are afoot to move the finance ministry to increase funding over the next three years. Most of the projects proposed are of a three-year duration.
The move to set up a one-stop funding system had been made after a number of scientists and researchers conveyed how the current bureaucratic systems were coming in the way and delaying projects as well as discouraging institutes from taking them up. The drill of getting clearances and approvals through various ministries was another dampener.
The idea is also to encourage a research environment and also drive institutes to take up research that is socially and technically relevant to India’s needs across sectors.
Imprint—a brainchild of the HRD ministry under Smriti Irani—was launched jointly by PM Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee last year. A largely pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a roadmap for research to solve major engineering and technology challenges in 10 technology domains relevant to India and where the country is heavily dependent on foreign technology.