The IIT Madras Alumni Association (IITMAA) is roping in experts from its member base of over 50,000 alumni and faculty to collaborate with the ‘research knowledge clusters’ across the country supported by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India.
As part of the collaboration with the Strategic Alliances Division of the Office of the PSA, IITMAA will take up various activities:
Capacity-building initiatives to support researchers, academia, and the students from these knowledge clusters. The key projects include training sessions to hone their skills in scientific communication and research proposal-making.
Promote game-based learning in schools and colleges. The project envisages the creation of a National Games Repository with thousands of quality games for education available to all educational institutions in India.
Support, with alumni Subject Matter Experts, the Special Interest Groups on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and emerging technologies.
During the 18-month long partnership, IITMAA has become a member of the Expert Consultation Group of Innovation and Science @ Bharat, a national innovation portal. The two organizations jointly surveyed the Public Attitude to Science and Technology and published a report ‘STI in the Era of New Normal’. The Office of PSA has also supported several IIT Madras projects focused on COVID-19 care including instant medical infrastructure (mediCAB), very low cost and high-quality testing kits for the underprivileged, and others.
Commenting about the collaboration with IITMAA, Prof. VijayRaghavan, the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, said, “IITMAA has been an invaluable knowledge partner for us. In the past 18 months, its members actively supported us in capacity-building initiatives. IITMAA is helping us tap the knowledge, skills, and resources of its alumni as Subject Matter Experts. We look forward to working closely to strengthen our industry-academia initiatives that immensely benefit researchers, academia, and students of our knowledge clusters across the country.”
In her comments about the future projects planned with IITMAA, Dr. Sapna Poti, Director, Strategic Alliances, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, said, “The IITMAA ecosystem will be helping researchers of the higher education institutions in our network acquire skills for effectively presenting their R&D proposals both to technical experts and to business executives. The project on game-based learning will help students of schools and higher education institutions learn complex subjects in a fun way. We will also be collaborating in the areas of water & WASH and Women-in-STEM.”
Talking about the alumni support, Mr. Krishnan Narayanan, President, IITMAA, said, “We consider our association with the Office of the PSA a great honour and an opportunity for our alumni to give back to India. It aligns well with our “Mission Million Smiles” – of IITMAA being a powerful change agent in the country by taking up many STI projects that will create a positive impact in the society at large.”
Mr. Ananth Agasthya, IITM alumnus and formerly Executive Director of the HAL Management Academy, is anchoring the initiative to train researchers in scientific communication. The project on game-based learning will be implemented under the guidance of Prof. Preeti Aghalayam, IITM alumnus and Professor, IITM, and Mr. Kartic Vaidyanathan, IITM alumnus and Founder of a startup, LetUsPlayToLearn, in association with Prof L.S. Shashidhara, principal investigator to the O/o PSA Knowledge Clusters in Delhi and Pune.