Coming soon: Online national network to help researchers

Country would soon have an online national network of scientific equipment and facilities enabling researchers from across India to reserve use of high-end equipment for their research in different institutions on a reservation basis and help bring down the cost of doing research.

“In a letter sent to vice-chancellors of all universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has shared that the Government of India has planned to establish the network that would list all the scientific, technical, analytical and research equipment and facilities procured with funds provided by the government agencies and installed in academic research and development organisations and institutions around the country,” said dean student welfare (DSW) and PRO of Allahabad University Harsh Kumar.

The homepage of the website on which higher educational institutions have to furnish information about existing facilities.

He said in the letter dated April 9, UGC secretary Rajnish Jain has conveyed that through this network, it is proposed to require the ‘custodians’ of such equipment or facilities to provide access to researchers and other legitimate users so that they are enabled to utilise the facilities for their academic or non-academic research and development work through an online reservation system.

“The thought behind that move is that sharing of facilities through online portal will speed up researches and also bring down the cost of the exercise across the country,” he said.

Accordingly, all higher educational institutions have been asked to furnish information about the existing facilities at different centres (including instruments funded under extra mural projects by funding agencies) on the website:

“The VCs have been requested to take appropriate action for compliance in the matter and also bring this to the notice of the colleges and other institutions affiliated to their respective universities,” Kumar added.

The UGC letter also asks the stakeholders to send any query or information in this regard to Dr Sanjeev Kumar Shrivastava, Technology Manager and Coordinator (INUP) at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Navakanta Bhat, professor and chairperson, Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE).

Noted researcher SI Rizvi of Allahabad University’s biochemistry department said the online portal was a great initiative as it would cut the cost incurred by the candidates while doing the research and save time too.

“The number of researchers is growing each passing day. Hence, this platform will serve as a great help to the students planning to pursue research as well as scientists lacking requisite equipment in their own institute for a particular study. It would specially benefit AU’s researchers as often many research works are left incomplete for lack of proper infrastructure and which later impacts the very standing of the institutions in national and international rankings,” he added.