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Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)


Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras with their counterparts in Germany are going to develop new materials for green energy solutions.


  • The project, taken up under the Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC). 
  • The objective is to develop alternative technologies to produce green hydrogen in anticipation of the transition to a hydrogen-based economy.
  • Generating hydrogen through conventional methods results in a large quantity of carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that imposed serious environmental concerns. 
  • Whereas for large-scale production of high-purity H2 electrochemical splitting of water, called ‘Water Electrolysis’ (WE), is clean, facile, and highly efficient technology.
  • Through collaboration with Germany, scientists aim to develop novel low-cost electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution reactions.

Greenhouse gas:

  • Greenhouse gas has the property of absorbing infrared radiation emitted from Earth’s surface and reradiating it back to Earth’s surface, thus contributing to the greenhouse effect
  • carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide (N2O), water vapor, and chlorofluorocarbons are capable of trapping the out-going infrared radiation from the earth’s surface hence these gases are known as greenhouse gases and the heating effect is known as the greenhouse effect.

Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC):

  • SPARC was launched by The Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2018.
  • Objective: To improve the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world. 
  • Under SPARC, 600 joint research proposals will be awarded for 2 years to facilitate research collaboration between Indian research groups and renowned research groups in the leading universities of the world.

Salient Features of SPARC are:

  • 5 Thrust Areas: Fundamental Research, Emergent Areas of Impact, Convergence, Action-Oriented Research, and Innovation-Driven and sub-theme areas in each thrust area has been identified for collaboration under SPARC.
  • Each Thrust Area will have a Section Chair. The role of Section Chair of each Thrust Area is to review shortlist and recommend the potential joint-proposals submitted under the SPARC scheme.
  • A set of Nodal Institutions (NI), from India, for each participating foreign country has been identified.
  • The objective of NI: To help and coordinate with willing Participating Indian Institutions to forge an alliance with the Institutions of a concerned participating foreign country, for academic and research collaboration.  
  • 25 such reputed Institutions have been notified as Nodal Institutions.
  • SPARC proposes to enable productive academic cooperation by supporting the following critical components:
    • Visits and long-term stay of top international faculty/researchers in Indian institutions to pursue teaching and research, 
    • Visits by Indian students for experimentation in premier laboratories worldwide, 
    • Joint development of niche courses, world-class books, and monographs, translatable patents, demonstrable technologies.
    •  Publication, Dissemination, and Visibility through the annual international conference in India.

Source: The Hindu