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IIT-K plans research park in Calcutta

New Delhi, Nov. 22: IIT Kharagpur is planning to set up a dedicated research park in Calcutta for projects on technology development for industry and to incubate ideas to form small companies.

The Kharagpur school and IIT Bombay have sent proposals to the Union human resource development ministry to set up a research park each at a cost of Rs 100 crore each, official sources said.

The proposals will be forwarded to the finance ministry soon and are likely to be approved, sources said. They will then be sent to the cabinet for final approval.

Sunando Dasgupta, the dean of sponsored research at IIT Kharagpur, told The Telegraph the proposed park will provide researchers a platform to come up with innovative ideas and incubate the ideas to form small companies. Established companies can have their centres in the park to take up research projects.

“This will be the only research park in eastern India. It will promote research and development for industry of this region in particular and the country in general,” Dasgupta said.

He said MTech and PhD students would have the choice to work on research projects at the park. The alumni can involve themselves too.

“Companies will be benefited as they can have their research centres where faculty members of IIT Kharagpur will work on their projects. The research centres will promote new ideas for new products,” he said.

The Bengal government has allotted 10 acres in Rajarhat for the park.

At present, IIT Madras is the only institution that has a research park. This park creates a collaborative environment between industry and academia through joint research projects.

Amar Nath Samanta, the dean of post-graduate studies and research at IIT Kharagpur, said the research parks were significant in view of the need for economic growth.

“The institutions have to collaborate with industry and cater to their technological requirement. Industry- academia linkage has remained a neglected area. Dedicated research parks would change the scenario,” Samanta said.

A Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) official said a recent study had found that engineering institutions in the country, particularly in the east, had poor industry linkage. Although IITs were not covered by the study, it found that engineering colleges produce graduates and post-graduates who are not industry-ready.

The survey on industry-linked technical institutions was done by the All India Council of Technical Education and the CII. About 1,050 technical institutions were assessed.

The survey found that institutions from south India had better industry linkage. Of a total score of 95, the average score obtained by an institute from the south was 30.73 while it was 13.84 in the central region, 16.16 in the south-central region and 18.60 in the east.

According to the proposal, the research park would get Rs 100 crore as seed money. Once it is started, it will seek sponsored research projects from companies and different government departments.

Samanta said IIT Kharagpur has a small centre at Salt Lake in Calcutta where short-term training programmes are conducted. The new facility will be the tech school’s second address in Calcutta.

IIT Bombay’s research park will be situated on campus.