IIT-Ropar on Tuesday announced its partnership with IIT Alumni Council to set up first Global Centre of Excellence (GCE) in the area of agritech and water.

This will be the first such GCE under the India Innovation Network (i2Net) initiative set up by IIT Alumni Council.

The core area of focus for the GEC will be agritech and water with multi-disciplinary support from artificial imaging, computer vision, IoT sensors, chemical engineering, nuclear physics etc.

Notably, IIT-Ropar had recently received ₹110 crore worth of projects for agriculture and water from Department of Science and Technology.

The GEC will complement the ₹110-crore Technology Innovation Hub - AWaDH – Agriculture & Water Technology Development Hub - established at IIT-Ropar under the National Mission of the Department of Science and Technology.

As part of an agrarian State, it has been one of the mandates of IIT-Ropar to take up research aimed at addressing water-agriculture related issues.

Sarit K Das, Director, IIT-Ropar, said, “We are looking forward to leading globally in research for Agritech and Water. By optimally exploiting the new paradigms emerging from the deployment of artificial intelligence, remote sensing and genomics, we are uniquely positioned to blend tradition with technology in a very different way.”

India Innovation Network initiative is to build a fifty- institution ecosystem to revitalise research in India by building capacities, improving quality of researchers through better linkages globally and enhancing the brand value of India in general and the IITs and i2Net institutions in particular, a statement said. GCE is a part of it.

Ravi Sharma, President of the IIT Alumni Council, said, “IIT Alumni Council has taken up the vision to develop India as a leading location for high science research by creating an end-to-end ecosystem with revenue target of ₹50,000 crore per annum and 100,000 researchers within five years.”

IIT Alumni Council will facilitate the investment of ₹40 crore in GCE Punjab through Pan-IIT Institute and MegaFund.

Agriculture 2.0

It will help India leapfrog to Agriculture 2.0 by increasing productivity, reducing chemical fertiliser and pesticide levels, managing water resources and creating better linkages with markets and direct consumers using disintermediation platforms, the statement said.

“The agritech and water ecosystem being co-created along with existing research and academic institutions will lay the foundation for Agriculture 2.0. In addition to revitalising the agriculture economy, the research initiative will also help create a contract and funded research ecosystem capable of earning substantial foreign exchange,” Sharma stated.

IIT Alumni Council is the largest global body of alumni, students and academicians across all the twenty-three IITs and partnering I2Net.