While projects under IMPRINT I and IMPRINT IIA/B certainly address a wide range of engineering challenges enumerated under 10 domains, it is felt that a fresh initiative is warranted to devote energy toward specific societal mission areas like pollution, waste utilization, potable water, cyber physical systems, alternative energy resources and some more which can make a huge difference to the lives of million in this country, if successful.
In view of the above, MHRD and DST is happy to launch the next round of IMPRINT II, called IMPRINT IIC (Societal Mission Projects) in Dec 2018 with an aim to seek proposals related to 20 very specific technology development themes ( View list ) of major societal relevance/benefit, selected from the proposals sent by partner ministries. The scope, mandate, timeline, eligibility, format and deliverables of IMPRINT IIC scheme are discussed below.
Applications under IMPRINT IIC are solicited in two categories: (i) Regular (IMPRINT IIC.1) similar to IMPRINT IIA (Two-stage review), and (ii) Consortium mode (IMPRINT IIC.2) (One-stage review)
India, a mighty global economy which will soon be crowned the youngest nation in the world faces multiple daunting challenges in terms of energy/physical/cyber security, potable water scarcity, environment and climate change, poverty, affordable health care for billions, etc. A vast majority of these tasks demand engineering intervention and technological innovation. A clarion call was made by the Honourable President and Prime Minister to address all engineering and technological challenges faced by the nation through a nation-wide unique initiative called IMPacting Research INnovation and Technology (IMPRINT) launched on November 5, 2015 from the Rashtrapati Bhavan. IMPRINT India was a multi-stakeholder mission programme aimed at bridging the gap between scientific knowledgebase created through fundamental and applied research and fruitful translation of the same through engineering invention and technological innovation for the betterment of our society. Conceived as a participatory effort between researchers and innovators from academic institutions under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) along with stake holders from concerned Ministries and industry, IMPRINT was envisaged to bolster challenge driven innovation and translation of knowledge into viable technology (products and processes). The entire gamut of activities was divided into ten identified domains namely, Advanced Materials (AM), Energy (EN), Environment &Climate change (EC), Healthcare (HC), Information &Communication Technology (IT), Manufacturing (MT), Nanotechnology hardware (NT), Security &Defence (SD), Sustainable Habitat (SH) and Water &River Systems (WR). Each domain was convened by one of the IITs or IISc with IIT Kanpur as the overall national coordinator. IMPRINT was unique not just because the President and PM blessed its launch, but because for the first time,
IMPRINT created an unprecedented enthusiasm among the researchers from academia. From the 2612 preliminary proposals received against the national call for proposal submission, only 259 were selected for funding by the Apex Committee in October 2016 after three rounds of extremely rigorous scrutiny by over 500 reviewers from across the country. Eventually 142 proposals are under way since March 2017 with 50% funding from MHRD and the remaining 50% from one of the MoU signatory Ministry/Department. A large number of R&D institutions and industry is involved in IMPRINT as Co-PI or partners. The first review of the progress of the on-going projects was conducted during Aug 25-27, 2018 at IIT Delhi.
IMPRINT-India initiative was both novel and unique. Despite unprecedented interest, wide spread enthusiasm and unique scope and utility of the initiative, a need was felt to sharpen the focus, streamline the process of review and allotment, and simplify the procedure and mechanism of funding. Thus, IMPRINT has now graduated into the next edition, IMPRINT II, with wider scope, simpler guideline for participation and better synergy among investigators, partners and collaborators. It is also realised and appreciated that IMPRINT IIshould be more inclusive by expanding the catchment of implementing institutions, by adopting a more demand-driven strategy for evolving solutions and by incorporating the specific externalities of the states of India so as to make translation and adaptation of technology easier for the end users. SERB (Science and Engineering Research Board) in the Department of Science & Technology (DST) is the nodal agency for implementing the IMPRINT II initiative working along with the National Coordinator. The SERB created a separate vertical under its overall set up with allocated resources and a time bound action plan for selection, funding and management of research projects under IMPRINT. Secretary (HE) and Secretary (DST) are the Co-chairpersons of the Apex Committee, while the National Coordinator of IMPRINT and Secretary of SERB are the Co-chairs of the Steering Committee of this vertical. The Expert Pool of Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) is being extensively used to constitute the Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) for each Domain and blind peer review of the proposals and knowledge management of the outcome of IMPRINT. In order to improve connectivity with the end-users, IMPRINT II has attempted to bring on board the stakeholder ministries right from the conceptualisation stage so as to nurture a participative ecosystem of project formulation, maturation, execution and delivery. Further integration of the programme for achieving national development and our commitment to global goals is proposed through sub-programmes covering states of India and partnership with the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Specific focus is proposed to be given to collate, analyse and document all the communications and consultations during Round-I and those proposed in Round-II in order to come up with the policy document and roadmap to research in engineering sciences within the next couple of years. The Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) scheme will be subsumed within IMPRINT II and no further call for proposal submission under UAY will be issued.
Principal Investigator (PI): The main applicant or the Principal Investigator (PI) should be an Indian citizen. The PI must hold a regular academic/research position (Faculty member or Scientist or Scientific Officer) of Centrally Funded Technical Institution (CFTI), MHRD funded Central University (CU) or MHRD funded Higher Education Institution (HEI) engaged in research and development (R&D) in engineering and technology (E&T), having at least 4 years of regular service left before superannuation as on date of submission of the proposal. Only one PI is allowed for a given project. Scientists selected for project funding under IMPRINT IIA and IMPRINT IIB are not eligible to apply for funding under IMPRINT IIC as the PI.
The term "Regular" in the context of IMPRINT II refers to the applicants who are appointed against the sanctioned or tenured post that are likely to be continued for at least another 4 years.
[Note: Research Associates, Ad-hoc faculties, Guest Faculty, Visiting Scientist, consultant, Project Fellows and Faculty members whose contract is renewed every year are not eligible.] (In cases where it is not covered by any of the above, SERB has the right to determine the eligibility)
The following points will be given priority during the project evaluation:
Call for preliminary proposal for IMPRINT IIC.1 has been opened on December 15. 2018.
A new/modified consortium approach is proposed in the IMPRINT IIC Programme to include strong and complementary expertise from across different disciplines to address major technological breakthrough in designated areas of societal/industrial importance. The Programme challenges the scientists to establish an effective,functional and synergistic consortium and drive all those partners to align to the pre-designated theme/topic for preparation of project proposal and its submission. It is expected that the consortium upholds Inter-disciplinarity that brings the power of togetherness from diverse knowledge and competence; complementarity that brings the uniqueness of the partners for collective benefit and is ready to work under one leader as PI.
A moderate investment to the tune of Rs. 20-30 crore per consortium is planned with Industrial contribution not less than 25% of which 10% should be by Cash. SERB has announces the themes ( View list ) and challenge the scientific community to undertake major challenges concerning the society. The lead institute should also illustrate a sustainability plan in the proposal beyond the approved duration for long-term impact of the consortium.
The University/Institute will develop a sustainability plan and incorporate it into the proposal and run the Consortium for at least another five (5) years after the completion of project tenure (SERB support) towards fulfilling the goal.
Call for proposal for IMPRINT IIC.2 will be opening soon.
Similar to IMPRINT-IIA & B, PIs have to submit the preliminary proposal which will go through a peer review process of Program Advisory Committee (PAC). PIs will be informed to submit the detailed proposal once their preliminary proposal is accepted by the PAC.For successful online submission of the application the following points may be noted:
Call for proposal for IMPRINT IIC.2 will be opening soon.
The SERB (Science and Engineering Research Board) of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) would be the nodal agency for implementing the IMPRINT II initiative working along with the National Coordinator (Prof. Indranil Manna, IIT Kharagpur) of IMPRINT. The SERB will create a separate vertical (Steering Committee) under its overall set up with allocated resources and a time bound action plan for selection, funding and management of research projects under IMPRINT IIC. Secretary (HE) and Secretary (DST) would be co-chairpersons Apex Committee responsible for the overall decision and policy making and approval. All other review mechanism currently being followed by SERB will ipso facto would apply to IMPRINT II project also. SERB may use the INAE Expert Pool for vetting, selection and review of the IMPRINT proposals at various points of time. DST will provide matching contributions on 50:50 basis for all projects sanctioned under IMPRINT. MHRD will also strive to bring other Ministries together into this new platform where SERB will act as the coordination agency. The MOU signed earlier with various Ministries for IMPRINT I will be valid for IMPRINT II. The entire process of submission, reviewing, assessment, monitoring, report and feedback submission and progress report display will be managed through an online dynamic portal managed by SERB and CDAC. Detailed information about the scope, mandate, eligibility, review/monitoring mechanism, and format/procedure for submission of preliminary and final project proposals are available in the IMPRINT website (www.IMPRINT-2.in and www.imprint-india.org). The mechanism of project proposal submission and its assessment through a multi-stage blind peer review process is explained in one of the sections below:
During the evaluation of projects preference will be given for those projects which have industry participation or start-up involvement. As common experiences reveal that many of the research initiatives eventually do not yield a product or process mainly due to lack of participation of stake holders (industry, user, beneficiary) right from the beginning, it is now decided that all IMPRINT IIC proposals must make an attempt to identify and involve an industry partner or potential user group/agency who would offer financial support of up to 50% of the budget and undertake field trial of the prototype developed by the concerned project. At least 25% of the project cost should be supported by the Industry out of which at least 10 % of the project cost should be in cash not kind.
The industry partners offering substantial project funding will be given a privilege of the 'first use clause' through a separate MoU to be signed between the PI/host Institution and them with prior approval of the Apex/Steering Committee".
The proposals (both preliminary and final) will be reviewed through a process of online peer review by national subject-domain experts. Senior representatives and technical experts from the partner Ministries and Agencies who are also part of the 10 domains of lMPRlNT II will be consulted. The Review Committees will also monitor the progress of the projects periodically, oversee field trials, and commercialisation of IP, and advise on creation of a knowledge portal for crowd sourcing and public dissemination of the outcome of IMPRINT IIC. The National Coordinator would continue to lead the initiative in terms of setting priorities, identifying timelines, helping in constitution of the Expert Committees and communicate with the PIs. He will act in close coordination with SERB for this purpose.