Global R&D institute to come up on GU campus

Global R&D institute to come up on GU campus

If all goes well, the three-decade-old Gulbarga University will carve a niche for itself when the ambitious International Institute for Food, Energy and Water Security (IIFEWS) is set up on its Jnanaganga campus some time this year.

The state-of-the-art research and development institute of global standards in the three vital areas is the result of the collaborative efforts between Gulbarga University (GU) and Colorado State University (CSU), Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.

What is heartening is that a mofussil university like Gulbarga, situated in the most educationally backward region in Karnataka, has joined hands with one of the few top US universities, which had attracted $300 million last year for its research programmes.
GU vice chancellor E T Puttaiah and Dr James A Cooney, Vice Provost for International Affairs of CSU, signed a memorandum of understanding   during the recent visit of a Gulbarga University delegation headed by Puttaiah to the US.

Incidentally, this is the first international collaboration of CSU with an Indian university and a unique initiative to establish IIFEWS, which will address the problems of the Gulbarga region in particular, and the country at large through academic, research, extension and development programmes.

The proposal has already become a part of the Barak Obama-Manmohan Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative of India and the US enabling the varsity to derive funds for the high-profile venture.

First proposal
Puttaiah told Deccan Herald that the signing of the Obama-Singh Knowledge Initiative and the finalisation of the GU proposal coincided, and the latter became the first proposal under the initiative of the two biggest democracies of the world.

GU will not have any financial implication due to the new venture. Puttaiah, on the contrary, expects handsome flow of funds for the project estimated at Rs 25 crore per year for five years, starting from 2012-13.

The Jnana Ganga campus will have a huge building in the American architecture style, housing all the research laboratories in the three fields of food, energy and water research, development and security.

The VC has already identified the land on the campus and hopes to lay the foundation stone for it by March this year. Till the new building is constructed, the activities will go on in the existing buildings, Puttaiah said.

The initiative will invent affordable technologies for water security, energy security and food security of the region and make them applicable extensively. The area is known for brackish and high fluoride content in water in several parts. In the food sector, high-yielding new varieties, which are drought and heat-resistant, will be developed on the ‘more crop per drop’ concept.

The energy initiative will focus mainly on tapping solar energy with affordable technologies. In the first step, the entire Jnanaganga campus will be made energy-sufficient and the technologies invented there will be made available to others.
“Gulbarga being a perennially tropic region, there is abundant scope for exploiting and exploring solar energy, which is the sole green, renewable and inexhaustible source of energy,” Puttaiah remarked.

The VC will soon visit Delhi for talks with the University Grants Commission to give the final touch to the proposal and ensure its implementation at the earliest.