HRD Ministry launches schemes to promote science, social science research

The Centre announced the formal launch of two schemes to promote higher education research in India: IMPRESS, dealing with social science research projects and coordinated by the ICSSR, and SPARC, involving foreign collaboration mainly in science research, coordinated by IIT Kharagpur.

Asked whether proposals critical of government policies would also be accepted after perusal, the Minister answered in the affirmative.

Asserting that selection would be merit-based from present and retired faculty from quality public and private institutions, the Minister said the shortlisted areas for research include state and democracy, urban transformation, media, culture and society, employment, skills, rural transformation, governance, innovation, and public policy, agriculture, science, social media, politics, law, and government, etc.

SPARC — Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration — he said, would entail a spending of ₹418 crore on 600 research proposals. There categories of projects — worth below ₹50 lakh, ₹75 lakh, and ₹1 crore — would be cleared on a merit-based basis.

Those universities that are in the top 500 in QS or top 100 in NIRF — and departments in the top 200 in QS — are eligible to participate, Mr. Javadekar said.

The research areas — where the selected teams of eight, a mix of top Indian and foreign institutions, would undertake research — include fundamental research, advanced electronics, communication, structural genomics, and affordable health care, among others, he said.

SPARC will see India collaborate with 28 countries.

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