Government initiatives like ‘Startup India’ and ‘Make in India’ have given wings to budding entrepreneurs in the country. These initiatives have encouraged many engineering students to opt for higher studies and start-ups over job opportunities. NIT Silchar, to promote student developments in the field of innovation, had established a Research Promotion Cell (RPC) in the year 2013.

Students at NITS receive funds for consumables, labour, travel, etc. pertaining to their research work from the RPC. Faculty may help them with their research, but the idea of the project belongs solely to the student. Dr. Brinda Bhowmick, in-charge of the RPC said, “We provide advances to the students who work on outcome-based projects. A budget is allotted keeping in view the credibility of the research. Also, progress of the research is reviewed every six months, which helps us take a call on the subsequent assistance sought by them.”

Before getting the funds sanctioned, the student needs to set a deadline for the project and explain its applicability to the NITS authorities. Kanchan Kumar, a fourth year student of Electrical Engineering said, “I was clueless about starting my own project in the first year. However, a conference organised by the RPC to help student innovation motivated me to invest more time in research.” Kumar has received Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively from the RPC for two research projects. The projects are reviewed by the student’s guide, the coordinator of the concerned department, student members, and faculties from other departments before getting the final nod for funds.

There are instances where students failed to get the required funds for their research studies. “We have students who have succeeded in registering their own patents with the financial aid provided by the RPC. But when students ask for subsequent funds without showing convincing progress in their projects, we have to deny the funding. However, we ensure that proper guidance is provided to them by the faculty to advance the research,” said Dr. Bhowmick.

Dr. Brinda Bhowmick is all praise for the initiative taken by NIT Silchar

The research projects need not necessarily be a part of the
students’ academics. However, when the student graduates from NITS, the
components and devices utilised in the project need to be submitted to the RPC.
Also, there are no provisions laid by the institute to repay the money utilised
by the students in their research work.

With institute initiatives like Research Promotion Cell being
the backbone of students’ innovations, the success of a nationwide campaign
like ‘Make in India’ can be classified as an attainable feat.

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