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Funded by MHRD’s SPARC scheme, the projects focus on research and development partnerships

Four scholarships with 100% fee waiver are being offered to Indian students for research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); sports; creative arts; undergraduate and postgraduate studies by Australia’s Deakin University in partnership with Indian companies.

One of India’s newer Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), having being founded in 2009, IT Mandi has added a feather to its cap. Seven of its projects, including those on energy and water sustainability; advanced sensors, electronics and communications; and infectious diseases and clinical research; have been selected under a Central Government initiative to boost collaborations with international universities.

IIT-Mandi’s research proposals have been accepted by the human resource development (HRD) ministry under its Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC).

Other faculty-led research projects are in the areas of humanities and social sciences; nano, biotechnology and applications; advanced functional and meta materials and basic sciences.

“These projects will boost our efforts to establish partnerships with leading universities across the globe. Additionally, IIT Mandi is contributing to the SPARC scheme as the nodal institution for developing collaborations with academic institutions in Germany,” said Dr. Prem Felix Siril, dean (sponsored research and industrial consultancy), IIT Mandi. The HRD ministry grant will help IIT Mandi collaborate with international universities in the US, France, Germany, UK and Taiwan (Republic of China), world-class faculties and researchers from across the globe for joint research work and to offer short term courses to students.

WHAT ARE IIT-MANDI’S SEVEN PROJECTS ALL ABOUT?

  1. Biophysics of Zika virus Envelope protein, membrane fusion and inhibitor discovery: To understand the basic biology of ‘how the Zika virus membrane fuses with the host membrane.’ This collaboration will allow IIT Mandi researchers to access the Zika Virus Culture Laboratory at Washington University, St Louis. They are already collaborating with the Washington University and have successfully identified the target of FDA approved drug, Hydroxychloroquine, against Zika virus.
  2. Developing conducting polymer nanostructures and their nanocomposites as visible light photo catalysts for environmental remediation using flow chemistry: For research on developing conducting polymer based photocatalysts using the principles of flow chemistry. The flow chemistry based approach will be used to develop environmental remediation of industrial effluents. Various workshops, conferences will also be organised with the help of the SPARC grants.
  3. Area deprivation and prevalence of non-communicable diseases: Analysis at the block level of Punjab: The primary focus of this research is to help policy makers of Punjab by providing them a detailed summary on various factors responsible for non- communicable diseases such as cancer, heart attack and diabetes, among others.
    Among other research activities, the grant will also be used for primary data collection in Punjab region to develop a deprivation index to find out which non communicable disease occur more in different parts of the targeted area.
  4. Developing novel strategies to capture phytopathogen-agricultural host metabolic crosstalk by cell type specific 13C metabolic phenotyping: To develop strategies to provide comprehensive insights into the metabolic crosstalk between the selected phytopathogen (an organism parasitic on a plant host) and agricultural host (Ralstonia Solanacearum - tomato) by employing cell type specific reporter proteins and tracer (13C) analysis. With this researchers hope for more insights into the fundamental aspects of plant-microbial metabolic interactions with relevance to agriculture.
  5. Computational modelling of polydisperse multiphase bioreactor systems for wastewater treatment: To invite foreign experts to IIT Mandi for research work and to conduct a short course on multiphase flow modelling. Developed framework to be proposed for improvement in operating conditions and design improvement of existing wastewater treatment equipment.
  6. Advancing the fundamentals of electrocatalysis with the use of earth abundant materials for future of energy and transportation: Focus on development, characterisation and electrochemical testing of single atom catalyst (SAC) of non-platinum based catalyst like iron, cobalt and nickel. In situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy and full cell testing will be undertaken by the foreign researchers at the research facility of Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, US.
  7. Technology development of compound semiconductor devices for optoelectronic and electronic applications: Research to focus on developing a low cost Gallium Nitride based transistor which can replace the conventional Silicon transistor in high voltage applications such as electric vehicles. Another aim of this research is to use Gallium Nitride based technology in making Ultra-violet LEDs which can be further used significantly in water disinfection.