FISAT Model for Community Research Center
The Community Research Centre is an extended arm of an academic institution which can be accessed by the public so as to convert their innovative ideas into product development. FISAT Outreach Centre for Uplifting Science in Society (FOCUSS) is an active Community Research Centre under the auspices of Federal Institute of Science and Technology, Angamaly. With the stated aim of Envisioning Science for Society, the centre offers a plethora of enterprises which foster creativity and entrepreneurial skills among the public. FOCUSS works towards nurturing a new scientific perspective especially in the youth that would mould young scientists for tomorrow. Not only does the centre ferret out students with exceptional scientific sparks, it also gives further guidance to them to convert their ideas into viable products and services.
Every great idea traces its inception to a thought, and pooling such creative thoughts have the potential to fashion a ground- breaking innovation. With the aim of providing a common platform for people from different strata of the community to put their heads together and conduct deliberations, FOCUSS conducts routine brainstorming sessions. As the initial step of fostering community thinking, the first phase of a Science and Technology Park and Research Centre (An initiative of FOCUSS) was launched by the former HRD Minister, Shri. Kapil Sibal in 2012. This Centre carries out brainstorming sessions with the help of experts in various domains. Several groups with an average strength of 7 to 10 members have been formed to hold routine discussions and interests. There are 40 such groups within the institution and 5 external groups which comprise of members of Angamaly Municipality, Mookannoor Panchayat and Arivu Educational trust Angamaly. These groups act as a nexus between the community and technocrats and aims at providing better solutions for the community problems. It also provides mentoring and guide ship to the group by the technical /administrative/financial experts.
Science Promotional Programmes
Befitting its motto of ‘Envisioning Science for Society’, FOCUSS carries out various Science Promotional programmes that bring about better scientific awareness in the general public and students. Under the aegis of the Centre, 10 Shasthra Yathras were conducted through which nearly 10,000 students were able to touch and feel those theories they have studied in their classrooms. 15 science workshops and 5 science exhibitions were also conducted at various places aimed at bringing Engineering, Science and Technology down to the public. In such workshops and exhibitions that were conducted at CSA Angamaly, St. Josephs College Irinjalakkuda, FISAT Angamaly, Morning Star College Angamaly and Community Hall Josepuram nearly 10000 attendees were trained. The initiative was successful in giving students a practical glimpse of technology and hands on experience which improves their comprehension. Special workshops as part of Make-in India Campaign is a high end program organised for college students recently. An expert team from Federal Bank launch Pad, selected and evaluated the projects of young entrepreneurs and 13 projects were selected for further study and processing.
With the objective of providing the greatest possible range of assistance and resources to technology aspirers, FISAT provides various technical facilities to students and public. The Community Research Centre of the Institute identifies students and laymen with technical skills and gives them access to maximum resources which would facilitate their research. They are also provided with flexible work space under terms that are designed to minimize cash flow pressures and accelerate the progress of their experiment/study. Various labs including Design labs, Electronics labs, Computer labs equipped with a super computer are open for the aspirants. It is also ensured that novices are given ample training to use labs. Various labs in the Institution are frequented by school students and teachers to do their projects and research works. For instance, the Communication lab in the college serves a good number of secondary school teachers. Supercomputing lab is used by students of M.G. University and other colleges.
The Community Research Centre of the Institute has also made tie up with local Kudumbasree units to escalate the involvement of women in science and technology. Nearly 500 women have been given various technical trainings and are also encouraged to use the resources in the Institute. Farmers and laymen in the locality also use the various state of the art facilities in the Institute, especially Mechanical labs to make equipments they require. Besides this, various departments in the Institute also provide project consultation services. A proud achievement in this regard is the acoustic study of St. George Basilica Church, Angamaly that was conducted by an expert team from the Institute.
Hence FOCUSS acts as a community research centre where science and technology holds hand with community development. The potential technology aspirers and entrepreneurs with innovative ideas, identified in the community brainstorming sessions are nurtured through different phases of growth until their research takes off to a maturity level where it becomes a viable venture. Threfore the Centre plays a catalytic role in promoting indigenous technology development and carrying out research activities at low cost. The cutting edge facilities provided in the Institute, and the expertise offered by faculty who are experienced in their specialised areas, help the common man implement his idea. It is observed that throughout these years a huge number of people from the locality have massively benefitted from this Community Research Centre that provides the required infrastructure and environment to address their needs.