IMPRINT: An MHRD initiative to solve India’s Engineering challenges

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is trying to transform India, and to eliminate
the technological constraints in achieving this goal, IMPRINT was launched on
November 5, 2015. IMPACTING RESEARCH INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
(IMPRINT) is a pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative led by the Ministry of Human
Resource Development (MHRD). IMPRINT’s main focus is sharpening India’s competitive
edge by empowering human resources, enhancing India’s international standing in
science and technology, and boosting the country’s economy.

IMPRINT is a first of its kind
initiative to solve challenges and problems faced by the engineering sector in
India. To start with, ten technological domains have been chosen by IMPRINT
members, in terms of priority and urgency. They include Healthcare, Information
and Technology, Energy, Nano-technology Hardware, Environment and Climate,
Water Resources, River Systems and Advanced Materials, Manufacturing, Security
and Defence, and Sustainable Habitats.

Prof Indranil Manna, IIT Kanpur’s director and the national
coordinator for IMPRINT, said, “Today, many tech leaders across the world
happen to be of Indian origin. If they can do it abroad, why can’t we, here in
India?” Initiatives of IMPRINT will also strike a synergy with important
national missions. For example, Manufacturing will contribute to the ‘Make in India’
campaign; Information and Technology to the Rashtriya
Avishkar Abhiyan
and Unnat Bharat Abhiyan;
and Nanotechnology to the Digital India Mission.  

Prof Manna gave a presentation about IMPRINT at the Visitor’s
Conference held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on November 5, 2015. He discussed, “We
want to ensure that we work in teams with all scientific organisations, research
and development (R&D) labs, and industries right from the beginning. So
that whatever we try to innovate eventually sees the light of application,
making all inventions sustainable.”

Science addresses only the fundamental questions of how and why.
Engineering translates those principles to inform us how to do it. IIT
Kharagpur’s Prof Suman Chakraborty, the Healthcare theme leader, said, “My job
is to find a road map for education and research activities to address
Healthcare challenges. We will work with the interface between medical
applications and engineering technologies.”

Currently, 200 faculty members are a part of IMPRINT. MHRD
has directed all institutes of higher learning to formulate research proposals
and submit them for various themes of IMPRINT by January 31, 2016. Prof Bala Govindaswamy,
Coordinator from IISc expressed, “I am excited about it. This initiative will
make a huge difference to society. There are a billion minds to solve a million
problems.”

IMPRINT will act as an important guideline for institutes.
It will give directions where a research should head and where the results will
be applied. Prof V Kamakoti of IIT Madras, the Security and Defence theme
leader, said, “I have been associated with IMPRINT right from its initial
meetings in 2014. It gives us a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary framework.
We will know how to deploy problems, whom to approach, who will use it. Under
IMPRINT we will get different views, and focus properly on what we want to
solve.”

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