SPARC (Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration) will be coordinated by the IIT Kharagpur as the National Coordinator. SPARC is an integral part of the Ministry of Human Resource Department. The program is here to seek and increase ‘improve the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by promoting academic and research collaboration between Indian institutions and best-in-class faculty and renowned research groups in foreign institutions’.
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As the national coordinator, IIT Kharagpur will be routing SPARC funds, managing the online portal, coordinating with the other nodal institutes of India, organising two annual SPARC conferences, liaising with MHRD and managing the intellectual output of SPARC. As many as 28 foreign countries are being targeted in the first phase of the scheme. The partner foreign institutes will be those that hold top QS World University Rankings, said a press statement issued by IIT Kharagpur Monday.
“The scheme proposes to support components considered critical to the production of impact-making research. It will fund visits and long-term stay of top international faculty or researchers in Indian institutions to pursue teaching and research. Not merely that, it will also fund visits of Indian students for training and experimentation in premier laboratories worldwide,’’ said the statement.
Professor Partha Pratim Chakrabarti, director of IIT-Kharagpur, said, “SPARC funding will be primarily used for fundamental research areas, emerging areas of interest, convergence areas, action-oriented research and innovation-driven research. Areas of collaboration will include science and technology, humanities, social sciences and so on.”
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Apart from “providing international expertise to solve major national problems”, SPARC is expected to lead to the production of jointly authored publications, research monographs, patents, demonstrable technologies and products, several workshops and two national conferences each year. Last Friday, a web portal for the SPARC was launched by the MHRD. The proposal portal (www.sparc.iitkgp.ac.in) will open on October 4 and remain open till November 15.
Each Indian institution can submit proposals with any of the 28 foreign countries. Evaluation will be done first by a sectional committee and the final evaluation will be done by an apex committee. Professor Adrijit Goswami, joint coordinator of SPARC for IIT-Kharagpur said, “We are expecting to approve around 600 proposals.”
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