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SPARC: Scheme for Promotion of academic and Research Collaboration


The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched an exciting initiative aimed at boosting India’s higher education research scene. This scheme focuses on enhancing collaboration between Indian institutions and top global counterparts to elevate the research ecosystem. Leading this effort is the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, serving as the National Coordinating Institute for implementing the SPARC program.

About the Scheme

The Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) is a wonderful initiative by the Ministry of Human Resource Development aimed at enhancing the research environment in India’s Higher Educational Institutions. It seeks to foster meaningful academic and research partnerships between Indian Institutions and top institutions globally. Back in August 2018, the Government allocated a total of Rs. 418 Cr for the scheme’s implementation until 31st March 2020. Taking the lead in this noble endeavor is the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, serving as the National Coordinating Institute for executing the SPARC programme.

Objective of Scheme

  • SPARC aims to improve India’s higher education research by promoting collaborations between Indian and top global institutions from 28 countries.
  • In the initial phase, SPARC will support joint research projects aimed at addressing both national and global challenges.
  • Indian research teams will collaborate with leading international faculty and research groups on over 600 funded proposals for two years.
  • These collaborations will concentrate on cutting-edge scientific areas or issues directly impacting society, particularly in the context of India’s needs and challenges.

Salient Features of SPARC

This plan aims to boost research collaboration in India’s higher education sector by connecting top Indian institutions with leading global ones. It targets institutions ranked within the top 100 in India (overall or in specific categories) and those in the top 500 globally. We’ve already identified 254 Indian institutions and 478 global ones for potential collaboration.

We’ve outlined five main areas for collaboration: Fundamental Research, Emerging Impact Areas, Convergence, Action-Oriented Research, and Innovation-Driven projects. Each area will have a designated Section Chair responsible for reviewing and recommending joint proposals.

We’ve also selected Nodal Institutions in India to facilitate partnerships with institutions in 28 countries. These Nodal Institutions will assist Indian counterparts in forming alliances with foreign institutions.

To support impactful research, the scheme will fund:

  • Visits and extended stays for international faculty in Indian institutions.
  • Opportunities for Indian students to train in premier global labs.
  • Joint development of specialized courses, high-quality publications, patents, and research outcomes.
  • Indo-X Workshops to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
  • An annual international conference in India for publication, dissemination, and visibility.

This initiative aims to address national challenges by leveraging international expertise, exposing Indian academics to global collaboration, and fostering lasting research partnerships. It also aims to enhance India’s global ranking in higher education.

Expected Outcomes of SPARC

  • We aim to bring together top-notch global expertise to tackle significant challenges facing our nation.
  • We’re here to assist Indian academics and researchers in exploring complex and fascinating research questions by teaming up with the finest minds from around the world.
  • We strive to facilitate extended stays for international faculty, fostering academic exchange, research partnerships, and the development of specialized courses.
  • Our goal is to provide numerous Indian students with opportunities to train in cutting-edge experimental facilities housed in the world’s premier laboratories.
  • Our publications include top-tier journal articles, textbooks, research manuscripts, patents, innovative technologies, and collaborative products authored by both Indian and international experts.
  • We’re committed to forging robust bilateral relationships in academia and research with leading countries globally.
  • We endeavor to enhance the global rankings of Indian institutions by leveraging internationalization efforts, research achievements, and academic engagements.
  • Our mission is to create a significant international footprint, propelling Indian academia and research into global competitiveness alongside the best in the world.

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