The Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar on October 25, 2018 launched the web portal of the scheme - “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)” in New Delhi.
The SPARC scheme aims at improving the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world.
The scheme was sanctioned by the Indian Government in August 2018 at a total cost of Rs 418 crore.
It will be implemented up to March 31, 2020 and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur has been chosen as the National Coordinating Institute to implement the programme.
Under the scheme, 600 joint research proposals will be awarded for 2 years to facilitate strong research collaboration between Indian research groups with the best in class faculty and renowned research groups in the leading universities of the world, in areas that are at the cutting edge of science or with direct social relevance to the mankind, specifically India.
• The scheme will help in improving the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions from 28 selected nations to jointly solve problems of national and international relevance.
• As per the criteria mentioned above, 254 top Indian Institutes and 478 top ranked global Institutes have been already identified.
• The 28 selected nations include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK and the US.
• The following 5 thrust areas and sub-theme areas in each thrust area have been identified for collaboration under SPARC based on emergent relevance and importance for the nation:
- Fundamental Research
- Emergent Areas of Impact
- Action-Oriented Research
• Each thrust area will have a section chair and the main role of the chair would be to review shortlist and recommend the potential joint-proposals submitted under the SPARC scheme.
• The nodal institutions for each participating foreign country have been already been identified. The role of the institutions mainly include to help, handhold and coordinate with willing Participating Indian (PI) Institutions to forge an alliance with the Institutions of concerned participating foreign country, for academic and research collaboration. India’s 25 such reputed Institutions have been notified as Nodal Institutions.
1. All Indian Institutions ranked in the overall top-100 or category-wise top-100 in the India Rankings (NIRF) are eligible to apply.
2. Only such private institutions that are falling in the above category, and also recognised under Section 12(8) of the UGC Act are eligible.
3. The partner institution shall be in the top-500 of Q5 World University Rankings or in the top-200 of Q5 World University Rankings by subject.
The SPARC scheme proposes to enable productive academic cooperation by supporting the following critical components that can catalyse impact making research:
i) Visits and long-term stay of top international faculty/researchers in Indian institutions to pursue teaching and research.
ii) Visits by Indian students for training and experimentation in premier laboratories worldwide.
iii) Joint development of niche courses, world-class books and monographs, translatable patents, demonstrable technologies or action-oriented research outcomes and products.
iv) Publication, dissemination and visibility through a high profile annual international conference in India.
The scheme is expected to have a major impact in providing the best international expertise to address major national problems, expose Indian academicians to the best collaborators abroad, enable international faculty to stay in India for a longer duration, provide Indian students an opportunity to work in the world-class laboratories, to develop strong bilateral relationships in research and improve the international ranking of Indian Institutes.
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