• भारत सरकार Government of India
  • शिक्षा मंत्रालय Ministry of Education
  • भारतीय प्रौद्योगिकी संस्थान खड़गपुर Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
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In order to facilitate fundamental and socially relevant research in India, lot of emphasis is being laid to strengthen collaboration between Indian Research groups with Top research groups in the world, so that Indian scientists and students can interact with the finest minds in the world. With this objective in mind, MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India) in 2015 launched GIAN (Global Initiative of Academic Networks), under which an International academician can visit an Indian Institute for two weeks to offer a course. The response was overwhelming, as apart from the course the Indian students and academicians got a chance to interact with the International Faculty. In the meantime, DST (Department of Science & Technology, Government of India) came up with another unique program in 2017, VAJRA (Visiting Advanced Joint Research), under which an International Scientist of Repute can spend longer duration in the country. However, it was realized that maximum benefit of a collaboration can be harvested only when the Indian Research group, particularly the students can be physically exposed to the world class research facilities and equipment available with Top international groups in their respective Institutes. As of now, such travel opportunities are limited, as there are no formal program that generously support student visit for longer periods.

SPARC proposed to fill up this void in the collaboration eco system, as it not only funds for long term visit by the International Faculty (2 to 8 months) but would also fund the travel and sustenance of Indian students at the University/ Institute of the International collaborator. The program aims at exposing large number of young students, the torch bearers of the future generation, to state of art developments in science, thereby increasing the number of highly trained scientific manpower in the country, as well as significantly enhance the visibility of Indian Science and Scientists in the world map of highly competitive cutting edge science. It is expected that some of the joint ideas would not only lead to breakthrough in science, but would also result in sustainable technological products that will be beneficial to mankind at large, in addition to fulfilling the need of India.

So far, 658 proposals have been approved under SPARC in two phases.

During India’s G20 Presidency, “Strengthening research and promoting innovation through richer collaboration in education and training” was one of the four priority areas under the Education Working Group. The Leaders Declaration has “Reaffirm our commitment to promote open, equitable and secure scientific collaboration and encourage mobility of students, scholars, researchers, and scientists across research and higher education institutions.” Digital transformation, AI and other critical and emerging technologies, sustainability and green transitions are some of the areas that have been prioritized under the G20 deliberations and the outcomes documents including the reports, since these are sectors which require the world to work together and come up with sustainable solutions.

It is therefore proposed that the third phase of research under SPARC may be focused on these areas and the research can be done bilaterally by identifying countries that specialize in specific fields, particularly champions in research areas that are oriented with the national priorities of our country to make the SPARC program more impactful than having it spread across wide- ranging areas.