Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar aims to become the principal resource centre for sustainable development in India. With this focus, it launched Dr Kiran C Patel Centre for Sustainable Development today. The Centre is aimed at advancing local and global solutions through cutting-edge interdisciplinary research. It will also 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 programmes. It was launched today and has been set up with a generous endowment from philanthropist Dr Kiran C Patel, a distinguished cardiologist based in Florida, USA.

The single major challenge facing the next generation will be the lack of clean air, natural resources and non-toxic environment. It is imperative that IITs of the world develop the intellectual capital to create the sustainable planet earth that can ensure the wellbeing of 10-plus billion people in the coming decades.

Dr Kiran C Patel

Cardiologist, entrepreneur and philanthropist

Dr Kiran C 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 the integration of advanced research, traditional knowledge and field understanding.

Prof Sudhir K Jain

Director, IIT Gandhinagar

The Centre will undertake technology transfer of sustainable solutions to NGOs, local governments and industry, and collaborate with policymakers and industry leaders to identify and solve sustainability challenges. It will also promote startups on sustainability with IITGN’s Entrepreneurship Cell by providing seed grants.

IITGN is the first campus in India to receive the five-star GRIHA LD rating for its eco-friendly and sustainable design. The campus is considered a ‘living laboratory’ of 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, policymakers, industry, non-profit organisations 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 and wildlife & ecosystems (biodiversity, conservation, ecotourism, traditional ecological knowledge, environmental humanities).

The Centre will support research on sustainability at IITGN and identify, prioritise and lead sustainability-related thrust areas. It will explore and promote collaboration opportunities, catalyse research proposals on sustainability on campus and develop vibrant visiting faculty and student-research programmes.

IITGN 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 having a storage capacity of five million litres. It has implemented passive cooling systems and integrated a 500-kW solar power plant into its electric system.

The Centre will also undertake outreach and advocacy initiatives. It will coordinate training programmes and workshops on sustainable development for professionals in the 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 organisations and universities on its programmes. The Centre’s faculty members have collaborations with colleagues at Columbia University, Purdue University, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Royal University of Bhutan and Sonnen, among many others. The Centre offers summer research internships which are open to students nationwide on various sustainability themes every year.