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Annual Report 2007-2008

Joint Research Projects

Over 500 ongoing joint research projects between India (DST) and Bilateral partner countries including new projects supported during 2007-08 were continued to be supported. Bilateral partner countries include USA, Russia, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Japan, Israel, Australia, Croatia, Slovenia, Belarus, Portugal, Argentina, Bulgaria, Mexico, UK, Hungary, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Thailand. Break-up of ongoing bilateral projects is given below:-

  • 104 on-going Indo-US projects under DST-NSF Program of Cooperation.
  • 110 on-going Indo-Russian projects under ILTP framework
  • 35 on-going projects under Indo-German S&T cooperation
  • 40 on-going Indo-Italian projects under DST-MAE framework
  • 22 on-going Indo-Ukraine projects under DST-MES framework
  • 40 on-going Indo -Japan projects under DST-JSPS framework
  • 14 on-going Indo-Israel projects under DST-MST Framework
  • 12 on-going Indo-Australian projects
  • 14 new Indo-Croatian projects under DST-MES framework
  • 12 new Indo- Slovenian projects under DST-MES framework
  • 12 Indo-Belarus projects under DST-State Committee on S&T framework
  • 11 on-going Indo-Portuguese projects under DST- GRICES (Wing of Ministry of Science & Technology)
  • 7 on going Indo-Argentine joints under DST-SECYt Cooperation.
  • 7 on going Indo Mexican joint projects under DST-CONACYT cooperation. In addition, support was
    also provided to 8 on going projects which were started during 2006.
  • 7 new Indo-Bulgaria projects besides on- going projects under DST-Ministry of Education & Science
    Bulgaria framework
  • 6 new Indo-Mexican projects under DST-CONACYT framework
  • India-China 1 new project

A gist of some salient projects is given below:

Indo-Japanese projects: Under DST-Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) S&T Programme of Cooperation, 22 new projects have been initiated during the year in the areas of Material Science, Manufacturing Science, Modern Biology & Biotechnology, Astronomical and Space Science, Molecular Sciences and Surface & Interface Sciences. The new projects include “Molecular pathology in Lafor’s disease: defining the cellular functions of laforin phosphatase” and “Creative Design System based on Physical Law Knowledge and Biomimetic Database”.

Under Indo-Russian Cooperation 110 project are under implementation in 11 thrust areas related to frontiers of Science & Technology namely: Biotechnology and Immunology; Materials Science & Technology; Laser Science & Technology; Catalysis; Space Science & Technology; Accelerators & their Applications; Hydrology; Computer & Electronics; Biomedical Science & Technology; Oceanology & Oceanic Resources and Engineering Sciences; and seven select areas of basic research in science, namely: Mathematics; Applied Mechanics; Earth Sciences; Physics & Astrophysics; Ecology and Environmental Protection; Chemical Sciences and Life Sciences.

Indo-Israel projects: 14 Indo-Israeli joint projects were implemented in the areas of Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology, Advanced Materials, Nanotechnology, Communication Information Technology, Lasers & Electro-optics during the year.

Indo-Portuguese Projects: 7 new projects have been initiated under the Indo-Portuguese S&T Cooperation Programme and cover areas like Life Sciences, Biotechnology, Chemical Sciences, & IT. The Autonomous Under Water Vehicle (AUV), Maya, developed by NIO, Goa under the programme was successfully completed. The Maya AUV has many applications in oceanography as it can collect standard oceanographic data in confined areas, do shallow water bathymetry in coastal waters and can act as platform for testing marine sensor technologies. The AUV is being evaluated for further development under the Phase II activity involving: Development of an Autonomous Vertical Profiler (AVP)-electronics, software, propulsion, simulation of controllers with model, sensors and digital camera, implementation of obstacle avoidance systems, pingers and radio beacons, etc. Launch and recovery will also be tested at sea.

DST-NSF Program of Cooperation: More than 100 Joint R&D Projects are currently being supported under DST-NSF Program of Cooperation. In addition, 4 new Joint R&D projects and 2 Planning Visits were supported.

Indo-US Materials World Network: Under this activity of NSF, USA, India became a partner country in 2005. During 2007, one joint project was supported and 8 new joint project proposals were received which are being assesses by the two sides.

Under India-Israel Industrial R&D Cooperation, 2 projects namely, “Platform for enhanced bioavailability and smart delivery of biologically active ingredients and “Development of a heat resistant commercial broiler through DNA marker assisted introgression” have been agreed by both sides provide support under this programme.

Under India-UK Science Networking Programme-Phase II, 10 proposals of one to one meeting aiming to develop scientific networking between the scientists of both sides, in the areas of Life Science, Mathematical Science, Chemical Science, Material & Engineering Science and Earth Science has been agreed by both sides.

Under Indo-German cooperation a major project for underlining research and development on lean manufacturing concepts in product design, manufacturing processes and manufacturing systems was sanctioned to IIT, Delhi. The research work planned in lean manufacturing addresses following new issues like Bringing lean concepts to product design process apart from manufacturing; Addressing lean manufacturing not just for automobile or auto-components manufacturing but for machine tools and machining processes used for auto-component manufacturing; Studying country specific issues in development of lean concepts etc. Another project on Microsystem based E-Nose and E-Vision Assisted Quality Monitoring for Black Tea Manufacturing (ENOVITION) at CDAC Kolkata; Phase Change Material based Thermal Storage System for Solar Air Heating Applications at Anna University, Chennai; Formability and coating behaviour of TRIP aided steels at IIT, Kharagpur and also on areas/ topics like Development of novel cavitation based treatment schemes for water and wastewater treatment; Delineation of the cellular and molecular basis of trophoblast invasion: Implication in infertility and preeclampsia; Liver gene therapy by foamy virus vectors; Design of novel nano carrier architecture for drug and gene delivery; Electron transport along mono-atomic electrochemical wires and chains, Stress response of rice roots towards salt; Variability of indoor radon and thoron: exposure to humans and earthquake prediction; Studies on micro-structure and creep properties of Fe-based nanostructured oxide dispersion strengthened (ODS) alloys etc.

Under Indo-Italian S&T cooperation, collaboration in the field of accelerator physics, technology and application between Sincrotrone Trieste SCpA and Indian institutions allows inter-alia utilization of Elettra beamlines by Indian researchers giving better resolution data on research experiments and strengthening of on-going research and facility INDUS-II commissioning at CAT Indore. This collaboration with Synchrotron Trieste witnessed significant allocation of beam time on Italian synchrotron machine, Elettra for Indian scientific experiments during 2007-2008: 16 Indian research experiments, jointly selected by DST and Sincrotrone Trieste, received 222 shifts on Elettra beamlines at Trieste and has allowed 45 Indian scientists to be co-funded by DST from India and Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Italy to visit Trieste for conducting the scientific experiments. These 45 Indian users were drawn from Universities (IISc Bangalore, UGC-DAE-CSR Indore, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur) & Research Laboratories (BARC Mumbai; SINP, Kolkata; IOP Bhubaneswar; CGCRI, Kolkata; IACS Kolkatta). Illustrative examples of different investigations performed on Italian synchrotron machine are given below:

  • Origin of unusual ferromagnetism and dielectric properties in the solid solution of two antiferromagnets, alpha-Fe2O3 and FeLiO3 an EXAFS Study (XAFS Beamline): These experiments were designed to understand valence state of iron and titanium thereby providing insight into origin of magnetism and dielectric properties as well as interesting coupling of magnetism-dielectric properties (IISc, Bangalore).
  • High Pressure Study on lightly doped non-stochiometric alkali bronzes (X-Ray Diffraction Beamline): This experiment aimed at investigating structural distortions in sodium-ungsten-bronze under high pressure. This input will help in further investigation of transport behavior of these materials theoretically (BARC, Mumbai).
  • Search for compressibility anomaly in Ni2MnGa and COFeSi (XRD Beamline): Mixed valence rare earth manganese oxides with perovskite type structure are extremely sensitive to external stimuli like doping, temperature, pressure, radiation, magnetic field, etc. GaCMn3, with the cubic antiperovskite type structure belongs to an intermediate class of materials between the rare earth manganites and the normal metallic alloys and is expected to show different, but interesting behaviour under compression. The investigation of the structural evolution under pressure on GaCMn3 revealed that its pressure– volume data can be fitted to two straight line segments in different pressure regions; one from 0 to 5 GPa and another from 5 to 30 GPa respectively. (BARC, Mumbai)

India-Trento Program for Advanced Research (ITPAR): Consequent to successful completion of ITPAR Phase - I during 2003-2006, the Agreement on ITPAR Phase II for 2007-2009 was signed on January 18, 2007 amongst its co-sponsors from India (DST) and Italy (Autonomous Province of Trento, University of Trento, Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and will be implemented out of Italian annual budget of Euros 300,000 and matching grant by Indian side. ITPAR Phase II is retaining the cardinal feature of supporting joint research and technology development project based two way mobility of researchers and shared investments by co-sponsors to strengthen incremental research facilities at Indian project sites to be at par with Italian counterpart sites.

ITPAR Phase II Workplan has been firmed up during the year and comprises of five joint projects, namely:

  • Theme Telecommunications: Development of advanced software technologies to analyse an understand high spatial resolution remote sensed images involving IIT, Bombay; ISI, Kolkata; Jadavpur University, Kolkata; and University of Trento.
  • Theme Microsystems: Immobilization of nucleic acid probes and bio-molecules on silicon based substrates for biosensor applications involving IIT, Kharagpur and FBK, Trento; Development of Ion Sensitive Field Effect Transistors –ISFET based biosensor and its characterization involving CEERI, Pilani; IIT, Kharagpur; and FBK Trento; Preparation of thin films of ferroelectric BTS, BST , semiconductor Zn Te and superconductor YBCO and study their merit in use for terahertz radiation detection involving University of Hyderabad and FBK Trento.
  • Theme Physics and Materials Science: Production and structural, optical characterization of nanocrystalline glass ceramics in bulk and waveguide format involving University of Hyderabad and University of Trento .
  • Theme Computer Science: Distributed software engineering devoted to development of metadata extraction tools, semantic browsing, distributed systems-web service protocols and geospatial information service over mobile environments involving TIFR, Bombay; IIT, Madras, Kanpur and Delhi ;IIIT, Hyderabad; University of Hyderabad and University of Trento.
  • Theme Nano-photonics: Fabrication (by e-beam lithography and etching, self assembly processes) and characterization (of linear, non-linear and optical properties) of polystyrene, polystyrene-silica and Si/ Ge quantum dots for photonic applications involving University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad; IIT, Kharagpur; University of Trento and CNR-Institute for Photonics an Nanotechnologies.

Joint Centres of Excellence

An MOU was concluded for establishment of Indo-Russian Centres on Technology Transfer, Laser & Accelerators, Non-ferrous, Biomedical Technology in Moscow in October 2007. The Indo-Russian Centre for Biomedical technology at Thiruvananthapuram was inaugurated on January 10, 2008 by Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, DST.

Already functional Centres:

i. Seven Joint Indo-Russian Centres of Excellence are continuous promoting bilateral scientific cooperation in their respective thematic area. These centres are pursuing high end science, working out new technologies and interacting with user community for possible technology transfer. These joint centres are:

  • International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials, Hyderabad
  • Russian - Indian Centre for Advanced Computing Research, Moscow
  • Indo-Russian Centre for Gas Hydrates, Chennai
  • Indo-Russian Centre for Biotechnology, Allahabad
  • Russian – Indian Centre for Ayurvedic Research, Moscow
  • Indo-Russian Centre for Earthquake Research, New Delhi Bharat Immunologicals & Biological Corporation Ltd, Bulandshahr

(ii) Under Indo-German cooperation Three Partner Groups in the area of (i) Wafer bonding and layer transfer for novel engineered substrates; (ii) Electronic structure of low dimensional and nanoscale systems; and Developmental Biology were sanctioned under Indo-German (DST-MPG) Programme. Two new Partner Groups in the areas of Polymer synthesis; Algorithms and Complexity etc. have also been recommended for implementation during 2008.

Joint Workshops

Some of the noteworthy joint workshops supported during the year were:

  • Indo-Japanese workshop on “Recent Trends in Molecular Materials Research at Trivandrum (January 2008).
  • Indo-Japanese workshop on “New Directions in ferroics and multiferroics”, at Kolkata (February 2008).
  • Indo-Japanese workshop on “Materials to Save Humankind: The Dream, Creativity and Working Towards its Realization”, held at Tokyo, Japan (September 2007).
  • Indo-Japanese workshop on “Neutrino Factories and Super beam” held at Okayama University, Japan (August 2007).
  • Indo-Japanese workshop on “Micro/Nano Manufacturing and Production Management & Control” held at Heisei University, Tokyo, Japan (March 2008).
  • Under DST-JST Collaboration, A joint workshop was organized on “ICT applications”.
  • Indo-Russian workshop on Non-ferrous Metallurgy at Moscow (July 2007)
  • Indo-Russian workshop on electro-magnetism at Troitsk (June 2007)
  • Indo-Australian workshop on Galaxies in the local volume, Marsfield (July 2007)
  • Indo-Australian workshop on Nanotechnology, Delhi (December 2007)
  • Indo-German Workshop on “Modeling Chemical and Biological reactivity at IICT, Hyderabad
  • DST-MPG Workshop on “Modern Science Management at New Delhi
  • Indo-German Workshop on “Radio Therapy for the Future: Charged particles beams of protons, Carbon ions, and anti-protons: world scenario and needs in India
  • Indo-Croatian workshop on Commercialization and Social Implementation of Science, Zagreb (October 2007).
  • Indo-Australian Workshop on Research opportunities on effective technologies to increase the performance and adoption of conversation tillage, Coimbatore (August 2007
  • Indo-Hungarian workshop on Ecology and mechanisms of desiccation-tolerant plants and vegetation in tropical inselbergs”Indian-Hungarian scientific workshop with indoor lecture sessions and field courses at Bareilli (April 2007)
  • DST-NSF Advanced Training Institute in Nano Scale Science, Engineering and Technology: A first ever, DST-NSF Advanced Training Institute in the area of Nano scale Science, engineering and technology was organized at Chennai in January, 2008. 20 students from each side at pre Ph. D, post Ph. D and junior faculty level attended the institute. Similarly, 7 faculty from each side acted as resource person for the institute.
  • Indo - Mexican Joint Workshop in the area of Seismicity and Earthquakes at UNAM, Mexico (April 2007)
  • First Indo - Brazil Joint Workshop on Molecular Materials including Nano Materials at Pune (October 2007).
  • First Indo - Brazil Joint workshop in the area of Infectious diseases at JNCASR, Bangalore (January 2008). The areas of infectious diseases included HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Leishmaniasis.
  • Indo-Israel workshop on “Computer Vision” was organized at IIIT, Hyderabad

Participation In International Mega-Science Projects/Utilization of International Advanced Research Facilities

India has signed its intention to participate in the construction, operation and maintenance of FAIR project at Darmstadt Germany. India is to contribute in kind 3% of total construction cost of 1.8 billion euros for the PROTON-LINAC project of the FAIR project.

S&T Initiatives With Indian Diaspora: 2007-2008 STIO Program

  • Under the 29 projects funded against CP-STIO Program (2006-07), visit of 15 STIOs to Indian institutions were supported.
  • Under 2007-2008 CP-STIO Program, 50 collaborative project proposals in response to CP-STIO Program Call for Proposal: 2007-2008 were received. These proposals aim at sourcing Scientists & Technologists of Indian Origin Abroad (STIOs) participation and leveraging STIO’s expertise (ideas/ best practices / resources) of relevance and importance to S&T actions in the domestic context and for enhancing international presence of India.

These collaborative project proposals are predominantly related to: (i) Advanced Research in emerging frontier areas of science; (ii) Technology Development in cutting edge and critical technologies and Technology Acquisition & Customization especially in areas of societal interest; and (iii) Institutional Capacity Building for research in frontier areas of S&T. The project proposals are being evaluated and upto 20 proposals are proposed to be supported.

Indo-US S&T Forum

The Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) was established in 2000 through an intergovernmental agreement between India and the United States of America. IUSSTF is mandated to promote, catalyze and seed bilateral collaborations in science, technology, engineering and biomedical research through substantive interaction amongst stake holders in government, academia and industry in both the countries.

During the year under report, IUSSTF has launched several new bilateral programs some of which are in partnership with government agencies, industries and professional societies. These include:

  • Indo-US Centers of Research Excellence with SERC, DST
  • Indo-US Research Fellowships with SERC, DST
  • Technology Entrepreneurship Program with DST & INTEL

-DST-Intel India Innovation Pioneer Challenge

Global Faculty Colloquium at UC- Berkeley
- Regional Training Program & National Curriculum workshop
o Stanford-India Biodesign (SIB) Fellowships with DBT
o American Physics Society-IUSSTF Visiting Professorship & Student Visitation
o American Society for Microbilogy-IUSSTF Professorships
o MIT-IUSSTF Student Internships
o HP Innovate 2008
o Agilent Technologies Clean Air Challenge for Schools

In addition, several large collaborative activities drawn from the inter-governmental strategic declarations were seeded by IUSSTF through a top down intervention by identifying and bringing together focused scientific groups from both countries. Some of these special initiatives include:
(i) Biogeochemical Flux Monitoring Network in India (Indo Flux)
(ii) Instrumented Aircraft for Land Falling Tropical Cyclones
(iii) Stanford – India Biodesign Program
(iv) Health Science and Technology Initiative
(v) Linear Collider Technology
(vi) Indo US Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE)

Besides, the large canvas of activities supported by IUSSTF through three award making cycles during the year under report has created several new opportunities and dimensions in collaborations through holding of nearly thirty bilateral symposium and workshops covering a wide spectrum of thematic and application areas. Indo-US Frontiers of Science Symposium (FOS-2007) and the planned Indo-US Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (FOE-2008), both at Irvine, California has provided a unique platform to the best and brightest young minds from India and US to interact and show case cutting edge scientific pursuits across disciplines through a designed interactive format.

Indo-French Centre For The Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR/CEFIPRA)

Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research was established jointly by Government of India and the Government of France in 1987 under Indian Societies Registration Act, 1860. The Centre since then has been undertaking a variety of activities for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR) between the two countries on a equal cost sharing basis. The activities undertaken by IFCPAR during 2007-908 are described in following paragraphs:-

  • Collaborative Research Projects

    The Centre provides funding for collaborative research projects in Science & Technology which are jointly implemented in Indian and French Institutions. Several areas of research in basic as well as applied topics of mutual interest such as, Pure and Applied Mathematics, Computer and Information Sciences, Life and Health Science, Pure and Applied Physics, Pure and Applied Chemistry, Instrumentation, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Material Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Water, Biotechnology, Information & communication Technology have been identified. Seventy projects are ongoing at present.

  • Workshop/Seminars/Symposia

    Joint seminars, workshops and symposia are organised each year on topics of mutual interest. During the period under report, five workshops were held.

  • Industrial Research Committee

    With a view to putting science to the service of the society by linking research institutions and industry, a second line of activity was launched a few years back. The Industrial Research Committee of CEFIPRA has continued its efforts towards nourishing the programme with encouraging and delightful results.

  • Exchange Visits

    The Centre provided travel support, arranged visa, foreign exchange, etc. to about 150 Indian and French scientists for project related activities during the reporting period.

  • Research Papers

    On an average about 100 research papers published jointly in international scientific journals with a good impact factor result from the collaborative effort each year.

  • Second India France Quiz

    The “India-France Quiz” for school going children of the two countries has been revitalised. The idea is to promote awareness among the youngsters of the two countries about each other’s culture. Conduct of an “On Line Quiz” had been implemented with highly encouraging response. Nearly 3000 students participated in an online quiz organized for the second time in India on 15th October 2006. Of these, 8 students were finally selected who later visited France for a period of two weeks during May 2007.

Centre For Science and Technology of The Non-Aligned and other Developing Countries (NAM S&T CENTRE)

During the last one year (April 2007 – March 2008) the Centre for Science and Technology of the Non- Aligned and Other Developing Countries (NAM S&T Centre) implemented a range of scientific programmes and activities. These included (i) 6th International Workshop–cum-Training Course on ‘Microelectronics: Micro- and Nano-Electronics and Photonics’ at COMSATS, Islamabad, Pakistan in April 2007; (ii) International Roundtable on ‘Lightning Protection’ at Colombo, Sri Lanka in May 2007; (iii) International Workshop on ‘Herbal Medicinal Plants and Traditional Herbal Remedies’ at Hanoi, Vietnam in September 2007; and (iv) 5th International Workshop on ‘Enhancing Change through Science Centres’ at Johannesburg, South Africa in February 2008. Twenty two scientists and professionals from India participated in these programmes out of 380 participants from 33 countries. The Centre also brought out 5 scientific publications during the period, viz. (i) ‘Understanding and Forecasting of Monsoons’, edited by Prof. P. N. Vinayachandran; (ii) ‘The Enhanced Role of Science Centres and Museums in Developing Strategies’ - Proceedings of African Regional Conference on the same subject held at Lusaka, Zambia in January 2006, edited by Dr. Vinay B. Kamble iii) ‘Plant Tissue Culture & Transformation Techniques’, edited by Dr. Balram Sharma; (iv) ‘Advances in Natural Products: Importance in Health and Economy’, edited by Dr. Zaheer Ahmed and Prof. Ashana Dar; and (v) ‘Crop and Forage Production Using Saline Waters’, edited by Prof. Mohammad Kafi and Prof. M. Ajmal Khan. Besides these publications, the quarterly Newsletter of the Centre was continued to be brought out for wide dissemination of the S&T news from the developing world.

The Government of Cambodia conveyed its decision to join the NAM S&T Centre as a member bringing the total membership of the Centre to 41. Besides this, the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) University, Vellore joined the NAM S&T-industry Network of the Centre as its 11th member.

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