NITK Surathkal to establish Central Research Facility

India’s premier technical institution, National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK) Surathkal will soon set up a Central Research Facility under first phase funding of the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA), as per a TOI report.

HEFA, a joint venture of Union Human Resource Development Ministry and Canara Bank has been established for financing creation of capital assets in premier institutions in the country to enable premier institutions to excel and reach the top in global rankings by financing the building of world-class infrastructure including R&D, said the report.

The NITK is the only one among 31 NITs chosen by HEFA, the report said and added that Rs.80 crore funds had been approved to set up the CRF. What is more, the Institution, located near Mangalore in Karnataka, is also among six institutes and the only NIT to get a loan from HEFA in India, the report said.

It might be recalled that in 2018, HEFA had approved a loan of Rs.2,066.73 crore to NITK Surathkal, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Kanpur. This news was officially announced by the Union Minister for HRD, Prakash Javadekar then.

Elaborating on why a CRF is the need of the hour and NITK Surathkal proposed same to the MHRD, Karnam Uma Maheshwar Rao, Director of NITK Surathkal said that the facility was aiming at putting the technical institution on the global map. “With MHRD’s financial grants to various departments diminishing gradually to each department, we thought of having a central facility, where students and researchers from all areas can make use of it and produce world-class research”, Rao pointed out.

The NITK Surathkal offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in engineering, science as well as management. The Institute has 14 departments and support departments. According to Rao, the MHRD is providing rants to each department, which is not enough to accommodate state of the art technologies. However, through HEFA funding, the NITK will have an ultra-modern and sophisticated facility in one place for all. Moreover, it will have the best machines, research equipment and other amenities, which are found in the world’s top technical universities.

Repayment of Loans

Rao said HEFA funding is aiming at making the intuitions self-sufficient. “NITK Surthkal has signed several Memorandums of Understand (MoU) with a gamut of colleges and industries so far. We will allow them to use our facilities by paying for it. The accrued income will be used to pay back the loans”, Rao said and added that the primary goal of the CRF was to generate income, but exclusively for research. If all goes well, the CRF is likely to become up by 2020, which is also the year the institution celebrates its Diamond Jubilee, Rao stated.

Promoting Research

HEFA was born out of the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for providing additional finance for fostering research in higher educational institutions. The intent to create HEFA was made in the Budget speech of 2016-17, which stated, “We have decided to set up a Higher Education Financing Agency with an initial capital base of Rs.1000 crore. HEFA will be a not-for-profit organisation that will leverage funds from the market and supplement them with donations and CSR funds. These funds will be used to finance improvement in infrastructure in our leading institutions and will be serviced through internal accruals.” The Union cabinet approved the establishment of HEFA on September 12, 2016.

Image source: NITK facebook page

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