Government to spend Rs 400 cr on 600 projects under SPARC

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New Delhi : Under its scheme to forge international research partnerships, the Human Research Development (HRD) Ministry will fund 600 projects in top-ranked institutes with a total of about Rs 400 crore, according to the IIT-Kharagpur, the coordinating centre for the scheme.

Announcing the scheme earlier, the HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar had said the government will be spending Rs 418 crore for these projects but had not given the break-up, nor the number of projects funded.

"Funding up to Rs 50 lakh will be given to 300 projects, up to Rs 75 lakh to 200 projects and up to Rs 1 crore to 100 projects," the office of Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur Director Partha Pratim Chakrborty told IANS.

The projects for the scheme -- named "Scheme for promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration" (SPARC) -- will be selected from top 100 National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF)-ranked institutes, to collaborate with reputed foreign institutions of 25 target countries which are either in top 500 in overall education and research or top 200 in specific domains.

The partnerships for each project jointly undertaken will last two years and each such group will consist of at least two international faculty, two Indian faculty and two Ph.D or Post-doctoral researchers.

The foreign faculty will be required to undertake two visits to Indian institutions totalling 2-8 months. They will also be required to teach the course topic here for up to 12-36 hours and must also engage in work on journal publications, text books, patents, etc.

"There are other components such as support to Indian research students for long term visits to partner institution, holding at most two workshops in India on proposal topic and support to foreign students to spend time in Indian institutes," the office said.

The target countries for collaboration, it said, will include the USA, the UK, Germany, Australia, France, Canada, Italy, China and Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore Russia, Israel, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Norway, Portugal, Austria, Taiwan, Belgium, Spain, Brazil and Finland.

"The countries have been identified based on global quality research standards."

While announcing the scheme earlier in the month, the HRD Minister had stressed that the scheme will improve perception of Indian universities in the world.

"SPARC will focus on joint research projects in focus areas, including technology, science and also social sciences, which are of relevance to India... The scheme will be operationalised by October 1, 2018," Javadekar had said.

(Vishal Narayan can be contacted at