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Mar 13, 2020 (New Delhi)
CSIR announces innovation awards for school children
Now students may give any novel and utilitarian solution for any existing societal problem, it may be new method, device or utility and for this they would be awarded. Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced Innovation Awards for School Children (CIASC) to support their scientific temperament and to encourage innovative spirit among them.
Students may send their original creative technological and design ideas in the form of proposal for the competition. Proposals can be submitted by a student or a group of students of any Indian school. Students of up to Class XII and below 18 years of age as on 31st January 2020 are eligible to apply. They can apply through the Principal or Head of the School. The proposal would be categorized in groups such as Biotechnology, Biology, Chemistry, Electronics and Engineering device or design. However, design-based applications would be encouraged. The concept of the innovation should have been proved through a model, a prototype or an experimental data.
The proposal for CIASC Award 2020 should relate to innovations developed or published or exhibited during the period from January 1, 2019 to 31st December, 2019. The applications for the award not exceeding 5000 words in English or Hindi with requisite drawings or photographs will be considered. The write-up sent by the student must describe the subject matter in a problem-solution mode, highlighting the novel features of the innovation and its advantages. The awardees will be selected by a high-level Award Selection Committee of CSIR. The decision of the Committee will be final. Award would be announced on or before 26th September, 2020.
There are fifteen awards for the winners. Besides certificates, there are cash prizes also to be won. The first prize carries a cash award of Rs. 1,00,000 for one, two second prizes of Rs. 50,000 each, three third prizes of Rs. 30,000 each, four prizes for fourth rankers of Rs. 20,000 each, and five fifth prizes of Rs. 10,000 each.
CIASC award was initiated in the year 2002 on the occasion of the World Intellectual Property Day, which is celebrated throughout the world on 26th April. CIASC is an annual national competition to harness the creative and innovative spirit of school children.
Mar 11, 2020 (Bengaluru)
DST, Intel India, SINE-IIT Bombay come together to launch Plugin
The Department of Science & Technology (DST) - Government of India, Intel India, and Society for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SINE)-IIT Bombay has announced the third edition of Plugin. This is a one-year collaborative accelerator program for hardware and systems software startups.
Eleven startups have been selected from across the country in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), security and platform to receive mentoring, access to labs for tools and platforms, technical and financial support, local and international ecosystem connect and visibility.
Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India and VP - Data Platforms Group, Intel Corp, in a statement, said, "Our Intel India Maker Lab incubation program has so far supported over 70 startups in accelerating their innovation journey and scaling their businesses. In its third year, Plugin is supporting startups that are using data-centric technologies to drive innovation in the healthcare, manufacturing, industrial, retail, automotive and banking domains."
A total of 20 startups were shortlisted from over 200 entries from across India for an initial four-day bootcamp.
Mar 09, 2020 (Bengaluru)
ISRO: Harnessing space tech for public good
With an emphasis on 'frugal innovation', the space agency, which has written its name in the stars, touches hundreds of millions of lives every day.
Think of Indians in various walks of life: a fisherman setting out to sea hoping for a good catch; a soldier in remote Siachen in urgent need of medical assistance; a farmer for whom accurate monsoon forecasts are the difference between a bountiful crop and a dismal one; and students in rural India, with lessons beamed into their classroom.
All these disparate characters are connected by the cosmic thread of an Indian scientific organisation that is reaching for the stars, quite literally, and touches the lives of hundreds of millions of Indians every single day.
That agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the BusinessLine Changemaker of the Year - 2020, has burst into the exclusive club of international space research organisations, on the strength of its frugal innovation and indigenous science capability.
Indicatively, fisherfolk benefit from bulletins on Prospective Fishing Zones (PFZs), put out by the Indian National Coastal Information System (INCOS), which harnesses space technology to identify fish-rich zones where fishermen stand the best chance of netting a good catch. People in areas under-served by medical infrastructure - including rural areas (and Siachen!) - benefit from ISRO's Tele-medicine programme, which started in 2001. Farmers profit from ISRO's remote sensing satellite data on monsoon prospects and water availability. And students in rural areas expand their academic horizons through ISRO's Tele-education networks, which facilitate TV broadcasts, video conferencing, and web-based instruction.
That's not all. Even ATM and stock market operations derive benefits from ISRO's space tech. Without risk of exaggeration, it is hard to visualise any area of activity that ISRO does not touch.
Then and now
India's tryst with space began in the 1960s. An iconic image from 1966 of a rocket cone being carted on a bicycle at the Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in Thiruvananthapuram - and an equally striking one of a satellite payload being carried on a bullock cart in 1981 - bear testimony to ISRO's austere origins.
Fast forward to 2017, when ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launched a record 104 satellites in one go, and the space agency's giant leap in just half a century becomes self-evident.
From Aryabhatta, the experimental satellite launched in 1975, to Project Gaganyaan, which is gearing up to send Indians to space in 2022 to mark the 75th year of India's independence, the hallmark of India's space programme has been its low cost, frugal innovation, industry participation, and very high societal benefits.
Along the way, ISRO, which drives the programmes, has reached the moon, through Mission Chandrayaan; Mars via the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM); put a cluster of navigational satellites in orbit; built launch vehicles such as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), which can place over 4.5 tonnes of payload into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit. It is now aiming for the sun.
It has not always been an easy ride, though. Failures have been the stepping stones to success for the untiring and motivated ISRO scientists. Right from Aryabhatta to SLV-3 and from GSLV to the latest Chandrayaan-2, the agency has faced many setbacks. But each time, it has bounced back.
Frugal innovation is the key
A defining characteristic of ISRO's success is that all of its technology and materials are uniquely indigenous. "Our USP is our cost-effectiveness," says ISRO Chairperson Kailasavadivoo Sivan.
Over 50 years, ISRO has realised the vision of Vikram Sarabhai and the founding leaders by improving the safety, security and quality of life of every Indian. "Our job now is to sustain this momentum in technology development, applications and achieve greater heights," says Sivan.
The coming decade promises to be an intense one for ISRO. In addition to the Gaganyaan project, it is looking to dramatically improve its launch capabilities through the GSLV; build and place into orbit advanced satellites; and move into interplanetary missions, says Sivan.
ISRO's budget runs to barely $1 billion a year, which is a shoestring compared to developed nations, but it has maximised value from this with a variety of societal applications of its technology.
In 1983, ISRO took the help of European commercial launch service provider ArianeSpace to launch INSAT (Indian National Satellite) from France's Kourou Island. It opened up a world of communication options for India.
In the late 1980s, ISRO again depended on Arianespace to launch the Indian National Remote Sensing Satellite (INRSS). Remote sensing paved the way for mapping out large areas of the country and generation of data that can be harnessed in various spheres.
Decades later, in 2013, it surprised the world with its Rs450-crore Mangalyaan project, sending the MOM at a fraction of the cost that international agencies command for the service. That probe had a life expectancy of just over a year, but it is still orbiting the Red Planet.
Into the 2020s, the space agency is gearing up for more big missions: Chandrayaan-3 in early 2021; the Aditya mission to the sun, also by early 2021; and Mangalyaan-2 by 2023, says Sivan. It is also firming up a mission to Venus.
At the application level, ISRO has a hectic satellite launch schedule - its own and on contract - from the Satish Dhawan space port in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Cartosat, Risat, and GSAT will expand coverage of the earth and the oceans.
Catalysing space entrepreneurship
While developing cutting-edge technologies and harnessing 'frugal innovation', ISRO has given a platform for entrepreneurs and private partnerships, and has built networks with institutions through technology transfer or as suppliers of crucial systems in the programmes. In this way, it has helped develop sound infrastructure, capabilities and a reliable ecosystem.
More than 500 industries are involved in the development of launch vehicles and satellites. Over 90 per cent of the launch vehicle cost is accounted for by indigenised technology and materials. The PSLV is highly cost-competitive in the lucrative commercial launch market. So much so that the domestic industry has matured and is now venturing into building satellites.
Space and society
The Indian space programme had its grounding in applications to society right from the beginning. Among the first of these was the Indo-US Satellite Instrumental Television Experiment (SITE) programme of 1975-76.
The PFZ bulletins for fisherfolk, developed in the early 1990s, offer arguably the most visible impact of space technology on communities. The information on fish-rich shoals helps fishermen save Rs15,000-20,000 crore a year as they do not have to spend on fuel in search of a catch.
In recent years, fishing boats have even been fitted with a gadget that transmits messages about PFZs in the local languages. Videos on the mobile phone app additionally help the fishermen navigate to the fishing zones.
India's space technology has focussed on making rapid development in communication, broadcasting, tele-medicine and education, says former ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar.
The real fillip for large-scale applications began in 1983, with the launch of the INSAT series of geostationary satellites. The INSAT series' purpose was to boost telecommunications, meteorology, broadcasting and search-and-rescue operations.
To get a measure of the impact, remember that in the 1980s, TV broadcasting was confined to just Doordarshan; the service was only in black and white. Colour transmission began in 1982, with the Asian Games in New Delhi. INSAT, with the availability of more transponders of the Ku and S band, increased the range of television offerings - and triggered the birth of the television entertainment industry. Direct to home (DTH) television became real. With the availability of high bandwidth and satellite links, television programmes reached remote corners, including the North-Eastern States and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Three decades on, television has virtually reached every home, with channels in all languages.
Accurate weather forecasts
Thanks to ISRO, weather reporting, cyclone warning and disaster mitigation have undergone a sea change. Given the impetus provided by INSAT and earth observation satellites, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has refined its monsoon forecast and daily weather bulletins to a high degree of accuracy.
In 1977, in the absence of a warning, more than 10,000 people died, in the cyclone that hit Diviseema in Andhra Pradesh. In 2014, by contrast, when Cyclone Hudhud blew into Andhra Pradesh, fewer than 100 lives were lost, thanks to to the early warning, and the precision with which the cyclone path was tracked in real time.
Perhaps the best examples of impactful grassroots application of space technologies relate to the Remote Sensing Satellite programme. Launched in 1988, the INRSS group of earth and resources imaging satellites has generated a wealth of visual data about the country's resources.
Various ministries use these data sets: Project Bhuvan, ISRO's web-based utility portal launched in 2009, gives thematic maps and data on agriculture, water resources, land cover, and so on. It provides a platform for the government to host geospatial data for public consumption. A citizen can get data on everything from cultural sites to highways to disaster management.
The FASAL project (Forecasting Agricultural Output using Space, Afro-Meteorology and Land-based Observation) plays an important contributory role in agriculture operations. Space technology helps authorities get fast and accurate data about the crop situation. It provides digital data, which can be analysed in real time for crop type, area estimates, conditions, damage and growth. The Mahalonobis National Crop Forecast Centre was also established in 2012.
ISRO also plays an active role in popularising science - and in helping students conjure up audacious dreams of using science for social good. When the Chandrayaan-2 mission got under way, ISRO ran a popular campaign to familiarise students and others with the mission objectives and other interesting insights. It used social media platforms to reach out to larger audiences. That millions of people sat through the night to watch the live launch on July 22 and followed its journey is testimony to the public interest it generated.
In this way, ISRO has rekindled interest in the moon among the youth and has engaged young minds creatively.
At another level, it has catalysed a number of start-ups contributing to various aspects of space technology. Small enterprises are building micro satellites and are even contributing mission-critical technology; they have now set their eyes on bigger satellites and even space travel.
From Elon Musk's SpaceX to Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, with entrepreneurial energy increasingly being channelled in exciting space ventures, ISRO is poised to expand the horizons of human knowledge by flying into newer and unknown spaces of the universe, in order to harness technology to serve humanity.
Mar 06, 2020 (New Delhi)
'GenomeIndia: Cataloguing the Genetic Variation in Indians' project
'GenomeIndia: Cataloguing the Genetic Variation in Indians' project has been sanctioned by Department of Biotechnology (DBT) on January16, 2020 for a period of 3 years to 20 institutions from varied disciplines across the country. The whole genome sequencing under GenomeIndia has just started.
The proposed target of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) is to do it for total 10,000 individuals representing the country's diverse population in 3 years. The information generated from whole genome sequencing can facilitate future human genetics research in the country with greater precision, and to design a genome wide association array for the Indian population to develop precision healthcare and diagnostics for major diseases at affordable costs.
The data security and sharing measures for this project will be governed by the rules and regulations formulated by Government of India. The personal information of all individuals consenting to participate in the study is stripped off from any further records in this project. This process of de-identification ensures that the personal information of the participants is not compromised. Additionally, ethical measures are strictly adhered to in order to maintain data security and protection.
This was stated by Dr.Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
Mar 05, 2020 (New Delhi)
Nano-science should translate benefits for society: experts at ICONSAT
The International Conference on Nano Science and Nano Technology (ICONSAT) under the aegis of Nano Mission, Department of Science and Technology (DST), started at Biswa Bangla Conventional Centre, Kolkata focusing on the recent advances in this frontier research field.
In his inaugural address, Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST outlined the genesis of Nano India and said that in last 20 years infrastructure and human resources have been built in the field of nano science and technology.
Prof Sharma emphasized on the need to create a network of experts in nano-science so that each can learn from the other and integrate the knowledge across sectors like energy, agriculture, transport, health and so on.
Prof Sharma empasised that 5Ms - mechanical, material, machines, manufacturing and manpower, are the need of the hour and we should orient all these to focus on how nano-science and technology can contribute to the challenges like sustainable development and new technology (machine learning, artificial intelligence and so on).
Prof Sharma stressed that science should be related to the larger section of our society and invited young scientists to participate with AWSAR, a DST new initiative through which young scholars can submit popular science stories related to their work while connecting them with societal benefits.
ICONSAT 2020 is being organized during 5 -7 March at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre by the S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata. The three day event deliberates on several thematic topics in the field, bringing out cutting-edge developments in the domain of physical, chemical, materials as well as biological sciences. In addition to existing research on nano-materials, several emerging areas such as quantum materials, energy materials and nanotechnology for agriculture have been included in cognizance of the identified thrust areas of DST Nano mission.
In his special lecture through video conference, Bharat Ratna Prof. C. N. R. Rao, the Patron of ICONSAT 2020 said that nano science has a tremendous application in various areas and highlighted the success stories in fields like nano-medicine, agriculture, environment and energy.
Prof Rao said that nano science is an extraordinary sector to work in and have lot of opportunities for translation of benefits for the society. He urged the young scientists to think differently, out of box and encouraged them to do something unique in India so that in next five years India would be at the top of the world not in only nano science but in all sciences.
Professor A K Sood from Indian Institute of Science who is the Chairman of the organizing committee of ICONSAT informed the audience about the conference and said that the three-day conference would include nine plenary lectures and 36 invited talks by eminent scientists from India as well as from abroad; along with nine oral presentations, 350 posters presentation. The conference is being attended by around 450 participants.
During the inaugural function, Prof. Sabu Thomas, Vice Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam was conferred with National Research Award in Nano Science & Technology for his extraordinary contribution in the field of nano science. Dr. Saurabh Lodha, IIT Bombay and Dr Vivek Polshettowar, TIFR, Mumbai was conferred with Young Research Awards in Nano Science & Technology.
Mar 03, 2020 (New Delhi)
NMDC, IIT Hyderabad sign pact to support deep-tech start-ups
State-owned NMDC Ltd and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad have signed an agreement to support start-ups through a collaborative joint incubation programme and set up an innovation and incubation centre.
State-owned NMDC Ltd and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad have signed an agreement to support start-ups through a collaborative joint incubation programme and set up an innovation and incubation centre. This is consistent with the government's Start-up India initiative intended to build a strong ecosystem that is conducive for the growth of start-up businesses to drive sustainable economic growth and generate employment opportunities.
NMDC will contribute Rs 10 crore for the five-year joint incubation programme and intends to support at least 15 start-ups. "The programme aims to promote innovation and entrepreneurship pan-India by converting and translating technology ideas and innovation in various disciplines of science and engineering into products, processes and services for commercial exploitation and the benefit of society," said Chairman and Managing Director N Baijendra Kumar.
B S Murty, Director of IIT Hyderabad and President of i-TIC Foundation, said deep technology start-up companies are based on substantial scientific advances and tangible engineering innovation. "They have profound enabling power and potential to catalyse change. The innovation and incubation centre will offer working space, facilitate networking with professional resources like mentors and experts apart from offering financial support to start-ups," he said. (ANI)
Mar 04, 2020 (Pune)
MANAV: In six months, 3,000 city college students skilled in disease info curation
Close TO 3,000 students from various city-based colleges have completed training in annotation and curation of human disease information from available scientific literature.
This ongoing activity is part of MANAV - Human Atlas programme - launched by Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in May last year. Under this initiative, the training is being jointly spearheaded by Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), National Centre for Cell Sciences (NCCS) and Persistent Systems in Pune and many other cities across India.
Under this initiative, the training is being jointly spearheaded by Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), National Centre for Cell Sciences (NCCS) and Persistent Systems in Pune and many other cities across India. (File)
"Numerous outreach programmes have been conducted and five workshops have organised under this programme. We have trained close to 3,000 students, who have curated information on acne and wound healing. Some curations were completed using limited number of research articles or published papers," said Jyotsna Jotshi from NCCS.
In case of information gathered for acne, 16 published works were referred to and the MANAV team managed to erect a map of cell-level behaviour of the disease.
"This map is a network that was created using the curated information. This will be readily available at the time of creating visualisations and imaging, which is planned in the near future," said another NCCS-based associate.
The beta version of the software was recently developed and will soon be available on the public domain for students and participating colleges.
"For students who have completed their training, data too will be made available, which can be accessed from remote locations, soon," Jotshi said. The Rs 13-crore project is being shared by IISER and NCCS and within the first six months, a total of 78 faculty members and 44 reviewers from across India have taken part in the programme.https://indianexpress.com/
Feb 27, 2020 (New Delhi)
India-US Space Cooperation: ISRO-NASA to join hand in Robots development
The world has come to understand that the Artificial Intelligence-embedded humanoid shall be the key feature of any future space exploration. Towards this, all efforts are being made to evolve technologies for bots handling the Navigation, pre-programmed experiments and other regular tasks onboard spacecraft or planetary landing or research. This robot shall complement the efforts of an astronaut, and provide essential crew support, leaving the astronauts the time to focus on other crucial tasks. This shall help send spacecraft deeper into space with Cobot to assist and provide company during interplanetary travel.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is well aware that it lacks a rich experience with crewed flights, and intends sending Vyommitra (Sanskrit for 'space friend'), a Humanoid prototype, for the Gaganyaan missions.
According to the ISRO Chairman K Sivan, "The humanoid which is almost ready will be like a human and will be able to do whatever a human can do."
The US Space Agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has invested huge resources in the development of Robots and Rovers for Space exploration. And these robots shall be used to aid, augment or substitute an astronaut so that difficult or mundane tasks such as repairs in hazardous environments procedures.
In fact, for exploration on Mars, NASA is launching a rover to search for signs of existence of habitable conditions in the past. And it also has multiple programs like 'Robonaut' as a joint project with US Defence research institution DARPA to create a humanoid robot for equivalent to human actions.
The US space agency runs a dedicated programme for testing various space robots in different areas in the desert in an effort to get new ideas for rovers, spacewalks and ground support.
According to Milind Kulshreshtha, C4I expert, "NASA has recently manufactured a Mars Helicopter, which will be the first aircraft to fly on another planet. It is considered to be a high-risk but high-reward technology. It is a twin-rotor, solar-powered helicopter. The helicopter will remain encapsulated after landing but shall deploy on command. In case the helicopter works as designed, future Mars missions shall include an advanced version of such helicopters for an aerial dimension to their explorations."
"NASA is focusing on a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers to achieve scientific and exploration goals on the surface of the moon and other inhabitable celestial bodies. Transactions on space robots between NASA and ISRO will help in reducing risks in the developmental phases itself," the C4I expert explains.
India-US Space Cooperation
According to a joint statement issued at the end of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Donald Trump, both ISRO and NASA are working towards launching in 2022 a joint mission with the world's first dual-frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite.
Both agencies are working together in the field of Earth observation, Mars and planetary exploration, helio-physics, human spaceflight, and commercial space cooperation.
Feb 26, 2020 (New Delhi)
Union HRD Minister launches UKIERI-UGC Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrators in New Delhi
The Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' launched 'Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrator'- a joint initiative of UGC and British Council under the auspices of UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), which aims to deliver a leadership development programme for middle and senior level administrative functionaries in Indian Universities. Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, MHRD; Prof. D.P. Singh, Chairman, UGC; Ms. Barbara Wickham OBE, Director, British Council India and other officials from the Ministry of Human Resource Development, University Grants Commission and British Council were present during the launch of the programme.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Pokhriyal said that this is a unique programme which will address the critical aspect of enhancing leadership capacity in the mid and senior level functionaries of Indian Universities. He said that the programme will be a step towards institutional development in line with our Governments' commitment to improve the quality of education being imparted in our Universities. He added that the programme will lead to developing a more global outlook and promote learning for inclusive and internationally connected higher education systems that support the economic and social growth in UK and India. The Minister also said that the programme will serve as a stimulant for the functionaries to improve their performance and capabilities which consequently shall enhance institutional profile and reputation of Universities in India.
The main objective of the programme is to train the senior and middle level academic administrators to enable them to bring about systemic changes with renewed approaches, capacity, tools and skill in Universities in India. This "Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrators" ensures effectiveness on the part of the administrative functionaries of the Universities. This programme includes two workshops conducted by UK trainers, which will train about 300 academic administrators in the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar to enable them to bring about professional transformation in the higher education institutions. Further to make the programme sustainable 30 potential future leadership development programme trainers from among the 300 participants will be chosen and will be given additional training to train others.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) will conduct this programme in collaboration with Advance HE as the training partner with globally recognized institutional expertise and leadership excellence from the UK, which is being enabled by the British Council in India.