The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has set up a regional academic centre for space at the National Institute of Technology (NITK) at Surathkal in Karnataka's southwest Dakshina Kannada district, an official said on Saturday. The state-run ISRO will provide Rs 2 crore grant annually to NIT for the R&D projects and promotional activities through the year, as per reports. The space agency and the engineering institute signed an agreement on the industry-academic collaboration on Friday at Surathkal, about 380km from Bengaluru.
Speaking to the media Space agency's director for capacity building P.V. Venkitakrishnan stated that The centre at NIT-K will conduct joint research and development in space technology applications to meet the needs of our space programmes. The centre, fourth in the country, will also facilitate promoting space technology in the southern states, including Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and be an ambassador for capacity-building, awareness and research and development (R&D). The committee will plan activities like research programmes of common interest and reviewing their projects periodically.
A joint policy and management committee will also guide the centre in optimal utilisation of the research potential, infrastructure, expertise and experience of the space agency and the autonomous institute. ISRO's visiting scientists and experts in space technology and NIT faculty members and researchers will direct the centre's activities, including projects. NIT faculty Umamashewara Rao said that the B. Tech and M.Tech students will be engaged in carrying out short term research projects of a yearlong duration, PhD students will be engaged in long term projects of 2-4 years relevant to the advancement of the space programme. Eligible students will also receive research fellowships.
The intellectual property rights (patent) generated in the projects will be reportedly jointly owned by ISRO and NITK. The other three such centres are Malaviya National Institute of Technology at Jaipur in Rajasthan, Guwahati University in Assam's state capital and Kurukshetra University at Thanesar in Haryana.
In a related development, the city-based space agency reportedly also tied up with the state-run Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) for cooperating to develop space situational awareness. The space agency's scientific secretary R. Umamaheswaran stated that The agreement envisages utilisation of IIA's expertise in astrophysics and astronomy for developing advanced technologies for inter-planetary space explorations.
Both the academic and research institutions will also collaborate in setting up optical telescope facilities under the Netra project for space object tracking, studying space weather, asteroids and near-earth objects. Whereas IIA Director Annapurni Subramaniam said that this collaboration will help to progress in various fields of astrophysics and astronomy.
(with inputs from agencies)