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IIT Kanpur and DRDO Launched Centre of Excellence in Defence Technologies

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK), in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has established a DRDO-Industry-Academia Centre of Excellence (DIA CoE) on its campus for interdisciplinary research in next-generation defense technologies. This is in line with the DIA CoEs set up by DRDO in key academic institutions in the country through which it is building an ecosystem to facilitate technology development in the academic environment through experienced faculty and bright scholars, in conjunction with the efforts of the different scientists from DRDO laboratories.

The new centre will spearhead focused research initially in identified research and development verticals, including Printing on Flexible Substrates to build devices and systems based on thin films for strategic applications; Advanced Nanomaterials to provide fundamental contribution to material selection and design; Accelerated Material Design and Development to reduce the number of actual trial experiments while reaching optimal solutions via high throughput experiments; High Energy Materials to focus on the modelling of high-performance explosives and performance prediction of metalized explosives; and Bio-Engineering to develop technologies for applications ranging from sensing hazardous agents to wound healing.

Sanjay Tandon, former director of Institute of Technology Management at Mussoorie, serves as the Director of DIA CoE at IIT Kanpur, overseeing its strategic initiative and collaborative endeavours. DRDO will fund the projects and establish key technical facilities and modern infrastructure require to enable and boost R&D programs under identified verticals.

The journey of establishment of DIA CoE at IIT Kanpur started in 2022 through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during Def-Expo-2022 at Gandhinagar. The DIA CoE at IIT Kanpur has been jointly inaugurated by Dr. Samir V Kamat, Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO, and Prof. Manindra Agarwal, Director, IIT Kanpur, in the presence of Dr. Subrata Rakshit, DS & Director General (Technology Management), Prof. Tarun Gupta, Dean, R&D, IIT Kanpur, Shri Sanjay Tandon, Director DIA CoE at IIT Kanpur, Prof Kantesh Balani, PI DIA CoE IITK, Shri LC Mangal, OS & Director DEAL, Dr. Mayank Dwivedi, OS & Director DMSRDE, and Dr. N Ranjana, OS & Director, Futuristic Technology Management.

Research Coordinators from IIT Kanpur, senior scientists from DRDO Labs and faculty members of IIT Kanpur participated in the event.

Prof. Manindra Agrawal, Director of IIT Kanpur, emphasized the importance of the collaborative effort and said, “With the changing times, the need for advancement of technology in defence sector is more than ever to become Atmanirbhar Bharat in true sense of the word. For this, DRDO, Academia and Industry must join hands together. The establishment of Industry Academia Centres of Excellence by DRDO is an apt step in this direction. With the strong R&D expertise and state-of-the-art facilities in flexible electronics, nanomaterials, materials science and engineering, high energy, and bioengineering, IIT Kanpur is well poised to contribute to this collaborative effort. I extend hearty congratulations to the entire team and wish all the success to DIA CoE IIT Kanpur.”

Dr. Samir V Kamat, Secretary Dept of Def R&D and Chairman DRDO, said, “The Centre will pave the path for indigenisation of the various strategic technologies in the long-term, making the defence sector self-reliant and sustainable. This will accelerate the development of new materials for futuristic defence systems, which may otherwise have required 10-15 years”. Further he added, “DRDO and IIT Kanpur will undertake collaborative research in identified technology domains to fulfil the long-term needs of defence.”

Dr. Subrata Rakshit, Director General Technology Management, DRDO, said, “DIA CoEs established in 15 academic institutes will serve as Centres for R&D to address the future needs of Defence. They will serve to synergize the domain knowledge of DRDO Scientists, the research capacities inherent in our premium academic institutions and the drive of our industries to commercialize emerging home-grown defence technologies. The inauguration and first governing council meeting marks an important milestone in this journey.”

Prof. Tarun Gupta, Dean (R&D), IIT Kanpur, said, “Over the years IITK has established itself as a leading institute in technology development, translation, and transfer to both industry and Government entities. The opening of DIA CoE at IITK is a right step and will foster valuable collaboration with defence labs in the country and will enable IITK to deliver strategically valuable tools and devices. This is going to strengthen our path towards a VIKSIT BHARAT!”

Dr. N Ranjana, Director DFTM, DRDO, said, “Long-term research in the defence technology isn’t about quick fixes, but about planting seeds for future security. It’s about investing in advancements that could be critical deterrents and lifesaving tools of tomorrow.”

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