In a first of a kind initiative, Delhi University and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have entered into a mutually complimentary collaboration for undertaking scientific projects as well as exchange of know-how between DRDO scientists and the faculty.

“The DRDO will set up a centre of excellence in the university through which our faculty’s research projects will be routed. The faculty will also have the option of collaborating with the DRDO scientists for their projects,” said Vice-Chancellor Dinesh Singh, speaking exclusively to The Hindu. He added that the Memorandum of Understanding with the DRDO was signed a few months back and that it was now being operationalised.

Innovation centres

“The centre of excellence which the DRDO will set up will be housed at our cluster innovation centre which is already functioning,” he said.

The DRDO laboratories across the country will also be made accessible to the university’s students. “They have also agreed to provide internships for our students in their defence laboratories across the country,” said Professor Singh, adding that this option will be open for both post-graduate as well as under-graduate students.

“The collaboration stands to benefit both sides immensely. On our part, we feel that funding for our research projects will come through more easily,” he added.

An overhaul

The MOU is quite comprehensive and has covered many technical aspects according to Prof. Singh, who said that this MOU was part of his plans in making the university’s learning process more hands-on and research-based. “Learning beyond the blackboard” is a concept that Prof. Singh has been advocating for sometime now, with the university’s under-graduate courses all set to go under a complete overhaul come June 2013.

This past May, the university had also introduced,” innovation projects from colleges” which sought to encourage research at the under-graduate level by providing the necessary funding. This had prompted several proposals and a total of 113 projects had been chosen with each project receiving funding upto five lakhs each.