Why in news?

  • The Govt. in August 2018 had sanctioned the SPARC scheme with IIT Kharagpur as the National Coordinating Institute to implement the SPARC programme.

SPARC Portal:

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.

  • Under this 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.
  • The collaboration will conduct research in areas that are at the cutting edge of science or with direct social relevance to the mankind, specifically India.

Salient Features of SPARC Scheme:

  • This scheme will improve research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations/
  • The Indian institutions will include those from top-100 or category-wise top-100 in NIRF (including such Private Institutions which are recognized under 12(B) of UGC Act)].
  • The foreign institutions will be from top-500 overall and top-200 subject-wise institutions listed in QS World University Ranking) from 28 selected nations.
  • As per the criteria mentioned above, 254 top Indian Institutes and 478 top ranked global Institutes have been already identified.

Areas of the Research:

  • A set of 5 Thrust Areas has been identified for collaboration under SPARC.
  • They are Fundamental Research, Emergent Areas of Impact, Convergence, Action-Oriented Research and Innovation-Driven. Each Thrust Area will have a Section Chair. The role of Section Chair of each Thrust Area is to review shortlist and recommend the potential joint-proposals submitted under SPARC scheme.
  • The role of a Nodal Institutions will be to help, handhold and coordinate with willing Participating Indian (PI) Institutions to forge alliance with the Institutions of concerned participating foreign country.

Academic Activities under SPARC:

  • SPARC proposes to enable productive academic cooperation by supporting the following critical components that can catalyse impact making research:
    • Visits and long-term stay of top international faculty/researchers in Indian institutions to pursue teaching and research,
    • Visits by Indian students for training and experimentation in premier laboratories worldwide
    • Joint development of niche courses, world-class books and monographs, translatable patents, demonstrable technologies or action-oriented research outcomes and products
    • Publication, Dissemination and Visibility through a high profile annual international conference in India.
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