MRC works with industry and ecosystem partners to support initiatives in the underwater domain through financial contributions and in-kind support. Together, we strive to make a difference in improving the aspects of underwater domain for future generations.
The underwater domain has become extremely critical and companies are progressing to understand the significance of water and the need to properly manage as well as regulate it. From policy and technological interventions to acoustic capacity and competency development, this has been embraced as a corporate, social and governance (CSR) initiative. The following activities have been undertaken at Maritime Research Centre (MRC) and ably supported by Nir Dhwani Technology (NDT) for field execution:
In October 2017, a workshop on Modeling and Simulation (M&S) along with field experimental validation was held at Khadakwasla Lake. This workshop was a comprehensive freshwater management exercise with an objective to illustrate all three facets of policy and technical intervention, as well as development of acoustic capacity and capability. Participants included PhD research scholars, postgraduate, undergraduate students and young professionals from various stakeholders and research organizations. A three-year investigation was conducted on the Khadakwasla Lake by PhD scholar which involved mapping the underwater parameters and model construction. Additionally, the work was validated through field experiments based on M&S outcomes. To do this, four different types of sonars (Side Scan Sonar, Single Beam Sonar, Sub-Bottom Profiler and CTD Probe) were deployed in the lake for data collection and demonstration to participants. The participants were given an opportunity to learn how to deploy sonars in actual conditions, understand the operating mechanisms of four different kinds of sonar along with performing data collection and its analysis through a research guided problem-solving approach.
Bajaj Group fully funded workshop as a part of their CSR activities, while the Government of Maharashtra provided a research fund. The National Defense Academy graciously offered boats and personnel for operating five boats used during workshop. The Unique Group was generous enough to supply sonar’s practically free of charge and their team was responsible for deployment. Finally, MRC and NDT organized and carried out all aspects of workshop.
The workshop was attended by over 25 researchers from multiple academic and research institutes. It was a part of the field experimental validation for the research work of one of the PhD scholars at MRC along with three PG students and seven interns, over a period of two years before the workshop. The collected data has been used by over two PhD scholars, ten PG students and innumerable interns at MRC. This kind of field experimental research has never been undertaken by an academic institute in the country before thereby creating a new benchmark in academic research. The learnings of the field experiment, have been extremely valuable for the MRC’s research and policy effort in freshwater management in the tropical waters. Such unique inputs shall be substantial in bolstering future research to realize the Digital Transformation and enhance governance.
The annual UDA Summer School is a flagship event that has been conceptualized and hosted by MRC and NDT since 2017. It is a six-week residential program aimed at building acoustic capacity and capability. Multi-disciplinary participants come from all across the country ranging from college students, faculty members to PhD aspirants, young professionals, stakeholders, policy makers and defense professionals. On arrival, they are allocated individual projects based on their discipline, location and job role. The event primarily consists of two components – the first half takes place in Mumbai or Pune and involves skill development, knowledge exchange with industry experts in an academic setting. The second half takes place in Goa with research institutes, industry members and stakeholders such as Navy or Coast Guard. Further, The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa along with the Goa University has provided its faculty and scientists to deliver multidisciplinary lectures as well as primary research results. Multiple corporates have supported the event as part of their CSR activity such as Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
Government agencies such as Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Ministry of Defense (MoD) have been regular partners with financial support, infrastructure and resource persons.
The UDA Summer School in its three variants from 2017 to 2019, has trained over 100 participants from across stakeholders and geographies. It has hosted over 30 resource persons from various fields and organizations. These experts apart from delivering their expertise to the participants also took back the appreciation of the UDA framework to their ecosystem. Most of these participants and resource persons are the brand ambassadors for MRC and the UDA framework. The sponsors and partners, have involved themselves in multiple activities and conceptualization of the entire event. They all are deeply engaged with MRC, in several other activities and projects. The UDA summer school is one of the key points of recognition for MRC.
MRC & NDT have been hosting internships for highly competent students from esteemed universities like IIT’s, BITS Pilani and TERI in addition to UDA Summer School. These interns spearheaded innovative projects and generated significant research publications to complement the UDA framework. There has been a consistent flow of applications, with many former interns joining as research fellows to translate their projects into policies and technological intervention. A wide range of critical topics have been covered including freshwater management, marine spatial planning, acoustic habitat destruction, sediment control, digital transformation and community support, among others.
Individual donors and corporate sponsors support our internships and fellowships. Excel Industries Ltd has been an invaluable supporter of the UDA internship and fellowship program. Their constant support and encouragement have enabled us to develop a structured plan with a continual influx of participants.
MRC is proactively addressing the skilling gap in the UDA framework and thus, has teamed up with the Indo-Swiss Center of Excellence (ISCE) for Skilling. Current gaps in skilling include acoustic survey, bio-technology & bio-sciences and Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Robotics. To bridge these gaps, various hands-on, field experimental programs along with ten academic courses approved by AICTE and another ten from Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) shall be conducted at the ISCE.
ISCE is a CSR project initiated by Weikfield Group in collaboration with Fine Organics, Syngenta, Wockhart and Suzler. Further, two new centers on Agriculture and Electronic Manufacturing have been setup respectively.
MRC is collaborating with Excel Industries Ltd to set up a Center of Excellence (CoE) for the Blue Economy. This initiative comprises a variety of facets including research, innovation and strategy, which have been intricately designed to help coastal and riverine communities become financially independent. The CoE will serve as a hub for digital transformation in underwater realm to improve governance.
Excel Industries has offered CSR support for the Center of Excellence. Pidilite Industries and Mamta Group have collaborated under the Clima Crew brand to provide support for Seaweed Cultivation.
The HT Parekh Foundation has graciously offered to assist with a sequence of four workshops in building outreach for the UDA framework. These four workshops will include three distinct five-day sessions, centered on policy, technology, and community interactions, along with a two-day workshop to address the gaps in acoustic capacity and capability. After the workshops concludes, a detailed report on the way forward will be articulated, which will then be provided to the Government and Corporate India for further developments. The event will take place under the aegis of the Indo-Swiss Center of Excellence.