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Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati Inaugurates Nanotechnology Knowledge Centres

Image credit: dpradhanbjp; Twitter

The Union Education Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, recently inaugurated the Centre for Nanotechnology (CNT) and the Centre for Indian Knowledge System (CIKS) at the Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati (IIT-Guwahati). The CNT aims to solve challenges and augment academic partnerships with industries in the field of nanotechnology.

The Union Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) provided the majority of funding for the centre, which included IN₹370 million (US$4.9 million) to construct the building, apart from equipment. The CNT will host 25 laboratories that will focus on advancements in multi-disciplinary and scientific and translational research. It is equipped with Class-100 cleanroom facilities integrated with state-of-the-art fabrication, characterisation, and testing laboratories.

The CNT presently hosts two centres-for-excellence sponsored by MeitY and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) along with an Incubator BioNEST sponsored by the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), under the Department of Biotechnology.

The key outcomes expected from the CNT include nano-enabled healthcare, energy harvesting, LED prototypes, devices, and technologies, start-ups/ incubation ecosystem, high-end research and development outputs, and the capacity building of highly skilled manpower in the area of nanofabrication and nanoelectronics.

According to a news report, at the inaugurating event, Pradhan congratulated IIT-Guwahati for “securing excellent positions in various international and national ranking systems” and appreciated its ability to create an ecosystem for research and education with a focus on the overall development of the North-East region. He stated that the rich biodiversity of the region provides a lot of scope for research and there are several policy directions in the new National Education Policy (NEP) that can modernise the country’s education system. Under the NEP, the government plans to establish a hub in Guwahati by creating a cluster of institutions in the region.

The CIKS will focus on preserving, documenting, and sustaining the knowledge that is unique in the country. Top priorities include Indian classical music, yoga, Sanskrit, traditional medicines, temple architecture, ceramic traditions, and special agricultural practices and herbal plants of the North-East region. Scholars from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to participate in the new CIKS’s interdisciplinary research and education programmes, enabling them to evolve practices and technologies in varied areas for sustainable growth and development.

An official noted that institutes like IIT-Guwahati should also focus on developing new agricultural technologies to help double farmers’ income. The institute was urged to mentor other educational institutions in the region and create modules for the training of teachers.

Earlier this month, IIT-Guwahati and government-owned hydrocarbon exploration and production corporation, Oil India, announced they will develop and introduce modern technologies in energy and related sectors. As OpenGov Asia reported, the partnership will also focus on cooperation in the transfer of existing technologies, knowledge up-gradation and innovation partnerships, training and skill development, and other areas of mutual agreement.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to seal the agreement. The MoU will facilitate a new path to explore numerous opportunities in applied and translational research for the sustainable energy sector. IIT-Guwahati is among the few top institutions in India that are dedicated to developing state-of-the-art technologies and a skilled workforce in the field of petroleum and its allied industries, an official from IIT-Guwahati claimed. He said oil and gas industries would benefit as the partnership will lead to the development of indigenous technologies.

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