IIT Delhi launches new online platform to facilitate researchers
In an effort to strengthen the research ecosystem at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, the Central Research Facility (CRF) was established in 2011 to consolidate all central facilities. Since 2017, several state-of-the-art high-end experimental facilities have been added to the CRF facilities. These have thus far served the needs of researchers from across the Institute's various departments and disciplines.
There was a strong desire to enable sharing of such facilities with other academic institutions and industries in the country. IIT Delhi has taken a significant step forward in this direction by developing a new platform through which researchers from across India can create a user account, login to the CRF, and book an instrument online (https://crf.iitd.ac.in/). With this move, the CRF's facilities on both its main campus in New Delhi and its Sonipat campus in Haryana are now open to researchers from across the country.
The CRF has grown by leaps and bounds over the last five years, owing to generous funding from the Institute and other agencies.
“IIT Delhi has spent or committed Rs. 500 crores to establish various high-end facilities at the CRF. The IoE grant, a special MoE grant, an IIT Delhi grant through Industrial Research and Development, the DST's Sophisticated Analytical and Technical Help Institutes (SATHI) project, and a HEFA loan are the primary sources of funding. Today, the CRF owns and/or adopts over 50 different facilities that are already available to users. This figure is expected to double in the next two years. The Institute wishes to express its gratitude to the Ministry of Education, Government of India; the DST; and all other funding agencies that aided in the establishment of the CRF,” Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, said during Tuesday's platform launch.
In 2017, with the growth of CRF in mind, a new building was constructed on IIT Delhi's Sonipat extension campus. Another much larger structure is currently under construction in Sonipat and is scheduled to be completed in March 2022.
“Some of the most cutting-edge equipment, including a Physical Property Measurement System, an X-Ray Photoemission Spectrometer, a High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope, Molecular Beam Epitaxy, a Universal Testing Machine, and an Electron Paramagnetic Resonance, is now housed in Sonipat, and many more are planned for the upcoming second building,” said Prof Pankaj Srivastava, Head, Central Research Facility.
The establishment of the SATHI centre, a shared, professionally managed Science and Technology infrastructure facility by the Government of India's Department of Science and Technology (DST), has enhanced the CRF's capabilities by adding a slew of new facilities that will benefit both academic and industrial research. For instance, a prototype facility is being developed to enable MSMEs to develop an idea with a design and then develop the prototype in-house. Additionally, a pollution monitoring and control facility has been authorised. SATHI is in the process of procuring several new high-end spectrometers and microscopes.