Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 8 February 2021, for the creation of the JATP-Center of Excellence (JATP-CoE) in the IISc campus, to expand the scope and objective of the existing Joint Advanced Technology Programme (JATP). Prof Govindan Rangarajan, Director of IISc, and Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, DDR&D and Chairman, DRDO, signed the MoU at a virtually-held event.
The JATP-CoE, established on the IISc Bengaluru campus, will enable directed basic and applied research, and engage with premier research institutes through multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional collaborations. Focused research efforts at the Centre will lead to the realisation of indigenous state-of-the-art technologies in critical areas.
Under the MoU, DRDO will support JATP in equipping it with advanced and unique research facilities that will enable the faculty members and scholars to conduct advanced research and utilise technology outcomes for futuristic applications. DRDO scientists and engineers will work with academic research faculty and scholars in addressing challenging scientific problems to find innovative solutions in five identified thrust areas, namely Advanced Aerospace Systems & Materials, High Temperature Materials, Micro & Nano Systems Science and Technology, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, and Quantum Technologies. In the future, additional thrust areas could be added as necessary. The JATP-CoE may also involve other premier institutions in the country, based on their research strengths.
During the event, Dr Satheesh Reddy highlighted that JATP was created by the late Hon’ble President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, in 1983 (while leading the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme), where DRDO scientists actively collaborated with IISc faculty members to work on various missile technologies. He further emphasised on expanding research activities for defence and security by incorporating the future technology requirements of other DRDO technology clusters and associated laboratories. He also briefed about the long-term research and technology development happening and maturing at Center of Excellences created by DRDO at various academic institutes.
Prof Rangarajan mentioned that IISc has very strong on-going research programmes in the identified thrust areas. For instance, IISc has recently launched a major programme in AI and Robotics and created ARTPARK. An interdisciplinary Quantum Technologies Initiative at the Institute involves about 50 faculty members across different departments. IISc also hosts the National Nanofabrication Facility for research and technology development in micro and nano systems. In addition, over the last several decades, IISc has established a very strong research base in aerospace and materials technology. Prof Rangarajan indicated that the JATP-CoE MoU provides an opportunity to leverage the expertise at IISc, and work in collaboration with DRDO labs, to create technologies and products that are required for strategic applications.