In the shadow of last year’s controversies, Jawaharlal Nehru University bagged the Visitor’s Award for the Best University by the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee on the third day of the Festival of Innovation in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Conferring the awards, the President said the honours recognise the single-minded devotion and painstaking work in the pursuit of excellence of the winners. JNU has been adjudged the best university for its unrelenting pursuit of academic excellence. It has shown outstanding performance in all key parameters like quality of students and faculty, training of faculty, citations, publications, research projects, foreign collaborations, seminars and innovation exhibitions. He urged the University to continue the good work.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said areas for research activity should align with the developmental challenges of our nation. The best minds in our universities should apply themselves to work out solutions in areas like sanitation, urban transportation, sewage disposal, clean river systems, healthcare and drought-resistant farming. They should also convert new knowledge into innovative products that are directly beneficial to the common population. Innovative minds should create tools and implements that alleviate the drudgery of farmers, workers, artisans and weavers. The number one barometer for successful outcome of research and innovation should be its beneficial applicability to a wider section of the population.
The Visitor’s Award for ‘Innovation’ was presented to Dr. Deepak Pant, Department of Environmental Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Central University of Himachal Pradesh for development of a reactor for direct conversion of waste plastic to LPG in small scale. The Visitor’s Award for ‘Research’ was jointly received by Dr. Shyam Sunder, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University for his work in the area of diagnosis and treatment of Indian Kala-azar and Prof. Niranjan Karak, Department of Chemical Sciences, Tezpur University for development of renewable resource based bio-degradable hyper-branched polymer nano-composites as self-cleaning, self-healing and bio-compatible smart sustainable futuristic material.
For selecting the winners, online applications were invited from all Central Universities for each category. A Selection Committee headed by Omita Paul, Secretary to the President and comprising Secretary, Department of Higher Education; Secretary, Department of Science & Technology; Chairman, UGC; Executive Vice-Chairperson, National Innovation Foundation and DG, CSIR screened the applications and selected the winners of the Awards.