Kolkata: 'Imprint India', an initiative started in November by the central government to encourage socially relevant scientific research, has already attracted "some good proposals" for improving air and water quality, a co-ordinator said on Thursday.
"Currently we are collecting concept notes from the institutes. Some good proposals have come on how to get clean air, water and how to test these resources," Govindasamy Bala, Imprint India's lead coordinator for the environmental sciences and climate change theme, told IANS.
In fact, the maximum proposals had come in the area of air and water quality, said Bala, who is a professor at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Divecha Centre for Climate Change.
The number of proposals on improving air and water quality reflected the research being done in the IITs, as also how different engineering branches cut into others, he said.
"For example, the civil engineering departments of the IITs are doing multiple things, including in the field of water resources. Also, the new IITs have environmental sciences also and they are working on these issues," Bala explained, adding the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) was "facilitating dialogue between various institutes" to brainstorm on major issues.
Launching Imprint India in November, Minister of Human Resource Development Smriti Irani had announced an initial funding of Rs 7.5 crore for the year 2016-17 for research in 10 domains - healthcare, information and communication technology, energy, sustainable habitat, nanotechnology hardware, water resources and river systems, advanced materials, manufacturing, security and defence, and environmental science and climate change.
The projects would be funded jointly by MHRD and India's Department of Science and Technology (DST).
Bala said "things are moving fast" and already the MHRD had sought proposals related to the 10 domains for funding of interdisciplinary research beginning early next financial year.
Interdisciplinary centres already exist at IITs and IISc. Now the centres are loosely connected but with Imprint some of these centres will be solidly funded and more active. Scientists can also form virtual groups under Imprint. Right now the process is on," he said.
'Imprint' is an acronym of 'IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology'.