There is enough money for research and technology activities, he says

The Ministry of Human Resource Development has plans to provide performance-based funding for universities and colleges, including self-financed ones, in the XII Plan period, said H. Devaraj, Vice-Chairman, University Grants Commission, New Delhi, here on Wednesday.

There was enough money for funding research and technology activities; institutions need to create the right mindset for cross-discipline research, Dr. Devaraj said, addressing the valedictory session of FUTURA, the national-level students’ symposium at Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Sathyamangalam.

Connotation of excellence changes with passage of time, he said, observing that the Indian research scenario was not healthy. There was no use in replicating research carried out already in America, which, in fact, outsources Indian brain for their R&D achievements.

To identify new front line areas, researchers ought to be strong in fundamentals.

The research activities in India ought to be customised to suit our requirements, Dr. Devaraj said, advocating funding with accountability. The researcher must be mandated with the responsibility of giving back something to society.

Scaling up gross enrolment ratio in higher education was important. Of higher importance was need for Indian colleges and universities to be ranked among the best institutions at global level. Alongside horizontal growth, Indian institutions need to grow vertically to be ranked high.

The guest of honour Ashok Saxena, Vice-Chancellor, Galgotias University, Uttar Pradesh, advised the student community to overcome obsolescence by continuing with their creative outlook, which, he explained, comes with lifelong learning.

The solutions that they offer for problems confronting the society must be in sync with time, Dr. Saxena said.

Earlier, in his opening address, chairman of Bannari Amman Institute of Technology S.V. Balasubramaniam called upon the University Grants Commission to introduce some guidelines whereby colleges would be able to share resources. Only through science and technology can the problems of hunger and poverty be addressed effectively.

The UGC must seriously consider providing adequate funding to self-financed institutions to encourage research and development activities, Mr. Balasubramaniam requested.

A team from the host institution secured the first prize in the Project Design Contest, winning prize money of Rs. 1 lakh for their model titled ‘The Mind Voice.’

Students of Saintgits College of Engineering, Kottayam, Kerala, won the second prize of Rs. 50,000 for their project: Lever-driven Multipurpose Roll Chair. The model on ‘Multipurpose eco-friendly ship’ devised by a team representing Indus College of Engineering won for it the third prize money of Rs. 25,000. Two of the three teams that won consolation prizes were also from the host institution. The other institution was Nehru Institute of Technology.

In Futura Inspire, the project design contest for school students, Bharathi Vidya Bhavan Matriculation Higher Secondary School won the first prize for creating a home-made battery cell using banana peel. The second best was a model on ‘prevention of industrial pollution’ devised by students of Shri Vijay Vidyalaya, Dharmapuri. The third-prize winning team was from TEA Public School, Erode, for coming up with a model on ‘Geo Thermal Energy.’

According to the organisers, the three-day technofest witnessed participation of about 3,500 college students and nearly 4,000 school students.