GANDHINAGAR, India–Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar recently launched Dr. Kiran C. Patel Centre for Sustainable Development, which will advance local and global solutions through interdisciplinary research. It has been set up with a generous endowment from overseas Indian philanthropist Dr. Patel, a cardiologist based in Florida.
The Centre, inaugurated on Jan 30, 2019, will develop a national and global network of leading experts and researchers on sustainability and undertake research on water, pollution, waste management, energy, natural resources and climate change.
The Centre will research sustainability and related challenges of high societal importance and promote cost-effective and sustainable solutions through its strong outreach and technology-transfer programs.
The Centre will undertake technology transfer of sustainable solutions to NGOs, local governments and industry and collaborate with policy makers and industry to identify and solve sustainability challenges. It will also promote startups on sustainability with IITGN’s Entrepreneurship Cell by providing Seed Grants.
Addressing the inaugural function, Dr Kiran C Patel said, “The single major challenge facing the next generation will be lack of clean air, natural resources and non-toxic environment. It is imperative that IITs of the world develop the intellectual capital to create a sustainable planet earth that can ensure the well-being of ten plus billion people residing in this world in the coming decades.”
Prof Sudhir K Jain, Director, IIT Gandhinagar, said, “Dr. Patel’s exceptional generosity for an institution with which he has no earlier connection touches us deeply and inspires us greatly. The gift will enable our faculty and students to work on developing practical solutions to major sustainability challenges through an integration of advanced research, traditional knowledge and field understanding.”
IIT Gandhinagar campus is the first campus in India to receive the 5 star GRIHA LD rating for its ecofriendly and sustainable design. The IITGN campus is considered a ‘living laboratory’ on sustainability.
The Centre will strive to address major sustainability challenges and translate them into prototypes, patents, and publications. It will also establish an effective technology-transfer programme for sustainability solutions in the field and promote networking and collaboration among scholars, policy makers, industry, non-profit organizations and other stakeholders on sustainability
The Focus Areas of Dr Kiran C Patel Centre for Sustainable Development include,
- Water (Desalination, Safe Drinking Water Production, Water Resource Research, River Flow)
- Pollution & Waste Management (Air, Water and Soil Pollution, Waste Segregation, Treatment and Recycling, Waste to Resource Techniques)
- Energy (Renewable energy, Efficiency and Energy Management)
- Climate Change (Extreme Events, Prediction and Simulation)
- Natural Resources, Wildlife & Ecosystems (Biodiversity, Conservation, Ecotourism, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Environmental Humanities)
The Centre will also support research on sustainability at IIT Gandhinagar, and identify, prioritize and lead sustainability related thrust areas. It will explore and promote collaboration opportunities, catalyze research proposals on sustainability on campus and develop vibrant Visiting Faculty and student research programmes.
IIT Gandhinagar has undertaken several Sustainable Campus Initiatives. The campus treats all its sewage in an environmental friendly sewage treatment plant and recycles all treated water for horticultural operations. It captures rooftop rainwater in four underground Jal Mandaps of 50 lakh litres storage capacity. It has implemented passive cooling systems and integrated a 500 KW capacity solar power plant into its electric system.
The Centre will also undertake outreach and advocacy initiatives. It will coordinate training programs and workshops on sustainable development for professionals in industry, NGOs, and public officials and promote sustainable solutions in the public and private sphere, disseminate conceptual and practical knowledge, training materials and create awareness on sustainability.
The Centre also collaborates with global organizations and universities on its programs. The Centre’s faculties have collaborations with colleagues at Columbia University, USA, Purdue University, USA, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Royal University of Bhutan and Sonnen, Germany, among many others. The Centre offers summer research internships open to students nationwide on various sustainability themes every year.
Dr. Patel is a distinguished cardiologist, entrepreneur and philanthropist based in Tampa, Florida, USA. Dr Patel is a pillar of the Tampa community and the city’s preeminent philanthropist. Over the past three decades he has built and sold two billion dollar Medicaid managed care companies.
Dr Patel and his wife Dr Pallavi Patel have contributed nearly $300 million to various philanthropic causes, including establishing three medical colleges at Nova Southeastern University and building a new campus for the university in Clearwater, Florida. The couple support several philanthropic causes in India, including a school, Shree Chhotubhai A Patel Learning Institute, and the Shree Chhotubhai A. Patel Hospital & Community Health Centre, named after his father, in his ancestral village of Mota Fofalia, near Vadodara.