Jadavpur University in run for Rs 125cr central research aid
Jadavpur University is in the reckoning for a Rs 125-crore investment by the Centre.
The university has been identified by the Centre’s department of science and technology as one of the four new centres across India for Sophisticated Analytical Instrumentation Facilities.
“If selected, the university will receive a Rs 125-crore investment,” Jadavpur University (JU) vice-chancellor Suranjan Das said. “The fact that we have been identified as one of the four centres is a recognition of our pursuit for excellence. I believe the quality of our proposal will make us eligible for the grant.”
A letter from the department of science and technology addressed to Das says that JU made the cut based on the recommendation of an “expert committee on expansion of the scheme”.
Eighteen such centres, including IIT Chennai, IIT Mumbai and Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) Shibpur, are already functioning.
The university has been asked to send a proposal to the department by January 15, 2019, with details of what it intends to do at the proposed centre. The department will then decide if the university deserves the new status.
Researchers at the centres enjoy access to sophisticated analytical instruments such as FT-Raman Spectrometer and thermal analysis system.
The centres also allow students and researchers from nearby campuses access to the facilities for a small service fee.
“The idea is to create a nodal point of research for institutes that do not have such facilities. The revenue model also stems from the earnings to be made from the service cost,” said a JU official.
Shyamal Kumar Chatterjee, the project coordinator for the centre at IIEST, said the proposed funding for JU is much more than what the Shibpur institute had received. “We were selected in 2013 and received Rs 6.5 crore for installing three machines. But the new scheme has greater scope of investment,” Chatterjee said.
The letter sent to JU states that each centre will receive an approximate investment of Rs 125 crore over three years, of which about six to eight per cent will be for manpower, infrastructure development and maintenance. “…each centre shall be striving for achieving self-reliance so that the recurring expenditure to run the centre would be met from the earned revenue beyond this period,” the letter states.
VC Das said JU would specify where it would like to develop the centre. “It could be either on the Salt Lake campus of the university or the 4.5 acres of land that the state government has provided at Rajarhat,” he said.
Chiranjeeb Bhattacharya, the dean of Faculty Council for Engineering and Technology, said JU is the only institute from Bengal to have been identified for the new centre.
The university received Rs 41 crore as the first tranche of a Rs 100-crore central grant under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan, a blue-riband central scheme that provides financial impetus to select state universities to upgrade infrastructure and research capabilities, last month.
JU is also a contender for the UGC’s Institution of Eminence tag, which could fetch it Rs 1,000 crore in five years.