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Universities urged to find frugal innovations to social problems

Special Correspondent
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DRDO is looking for academic partners for research, says its Chief Controller

Governor and Chancellor K. Rosaiah handing over degree certificate to a student at the convocation of Thiruvalluvar University in Vellore on Monday.— Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan
Governor and Chancellor K. Rosaiah handing over degree certificate to a student at the convocation of Thiruvalluvar University in Vellore on Monday.— Photo: D. Gopalakrishnan

Universities should come up with frugal innovations to find cost-effective technological solutions to social problems, said W. Selvamurthy, Distinguished Scientist and Chief Controller, R & D, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), New Delhi.

Delivering the convocation address at the 8th convocation of Thiruvalluvar University on the Auxilium College campus here on Monday, Dr. Selvamurthy said universities should encourage innovation in socially relevant areas such as water, food and health securities.

“The age up to 40 years is a productive age for innovation. Universities have a large and talented pool of human resource that is quite young and creative. They should therefore harness the energy of youth to bring about low-cost, effective technological solutions to the problems besetting the society.

“We need to orient ourselves and move from traditional approaches of education to those that focus on stimulating creativity and innovation among youngsters,” he said.

Pointing out that universities received very little technological support for research and were therefore starved of research infrastructure including basic infrastructure, the DRDO official asked the universities to harness all funding resources available from various sources. There should be public - private partnership to further research, he noted.

“The need of the hour is for the private engineering colleges to meet the rising needs of the population. Industries should invest in education as part of their corporate social responsibility. In foreign countries, industries are establishing Centres of Excellence. This should happen in India too,” he said.

Dr. Selvamurthy said the DRDO spent Rs. 300 crore annually – 10 per cent of its annual budget - for academic funding. “The DRDO is planning to increase it to at least Rs. 1000 crore.” The DRDO was looking for academic partners to do research. It would be too happy to partner with the Thiruvalluvar University for inclusive growth and sustainable development, he said, congratulating the Tamil Nadu government for playing an important role in developing a knowledge-based economy by allowing many deemed universities.

K. Rosaiah, Governor and Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University presided over the convocation and presented the diplomas and prizes to 56 candidates comprising 33 undergraduate and 23 postgraduates. He also awarded Ph.D. degrees to 22 candidates.

P. Gunasekaran, Vice-Chancellor of Thiruvalluvar University who welcomed the gathering said the university has been identified as one of the nine universities in the State for receiving financial support from Tamil Nadu government to establish incubation and technology transfer centres at an estimated cost of Rs. 29.88 lakh. The university is also one of the five universities in the State to receive financial support from the Tamil Nadu government to establish soft skill development centres in its five affiliated colleges, viz., Arignar Anna Government Arts College, Cheyyar, Muthurangam Government Arts College, Vellore, Government Thirumagal Mills College, Gudiyatham, Thiru A. Govindaswami Government Arts College, Tindivanam and Thiru Kolanjiappar Government Arts College, Virudhachalam.

The vice chancellor said the Departments of Zoology and Chemistry of the university have received project grants worth Rs. 50.39 lakh from the Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi, while the Department of Mathematics has received Rs. 13 lakh.

The DRDO, New Delhi, has extended research support to the tune of Rs. 16.35 lakh to the faculty in the Department of Chemistry.

The State government has identified the university for setting up a research centre in Mathematics to ensure quality research, and has made provision for the same, he said.

Apurva Varma, Principal Secretary, Department of Higher Education and G. Jayachandran, Secretary, Law Department of the Tamil Nadu Government participated in the convocation.

A total of 80,651 candidates, comprising 26,735 UG, 3229 PG, 665 M. Phil and 22 Ph.D. candidates were awarded degrees in person and in absentia at the convocation.

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