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Vijay Iyer

Senior Science & Innovation Adviser

Part of Global Science and Innovation Network

12th May 2014 Mumbai, India

Innovative CSMCRI

Recently, I visited the CSIR-Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute (CSMCRI) in Bhavnagar, Gujarat along with Dr. Philip Earis from the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The CSMCRI used to be the erstwhile Central Salt Research Institute, which was inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954. It’s been nearly 60 years and the institute is thriving!
Dr. Philip Earis, Dr. S. H. R. Abdi, Vijay Iyer

We first met with Dr. S. H. R. Abdi, who heads the Business Development and Marketing functions for the institute. Dr. Abdi showed us the different laboratories at the institute and introduced us to the various research groups. The institute is keen on transferring its portfolio of technologies to the marketplace; this was evident from the list of technologies ready for commercialisation!

The listing also includes a host of rurally relevant technologies made available for licensing under the CSIR-800 programme. Interestingly, in 2013, the Indian Railways agreed to test a biofuel, Jatropha biodiesel, developed by the institute in its locomotives. The trials are currently underway.

Dr. Parimal Paul gave us a tour of the impressive centralised instrumentation facility, which allows for a gamut of measurements including NMR, X-ray diffraction, gas chromatography, and electrochemical analysis. The facility not only caters to the needs of the institute’s researchers but also external clients (for a fee) including universities and companies.

We then proceeded to see the state-of-the-art laboratories of Dr. Bhavanath Jha, who specialises in marine biotechnology and ecology.

CSMCRILater, we had engaging discussions with several research groups including scale-up and process engineering, reverse osmosis membranes, and salt marine and inorganic chemicals.

I found out that two projects from CSMCRI, pertaining to desalination of water and sustainable energy production, were approved under DST-UKIERI 2013-14.

Moving forward, the institute plans to devote its efforts to address challenges in energy, environment, water, green chemistry, and waste regeneration, among others. This strategy would neatly fit with the themes identified for the anticipated Newton fund for India.

Besides touring the different laboratories, Philip and I also gave talks to the researchers at the institute. While Philip spoke about the activities and journals of the RSC, I provided a brief overview of the work being carried out by the UK Science & Innovation Network in India.

CSMCRIDuring our day long interaction, Dr. Abdi emphasised the CSMCRI’s mission to create innovations, which benefited the society. The institute has devoted resources for several humanitarian activities in the past, and continues to do so. For instance, during the devastating floods caused by the cyclone Phailin in Odisha in 2013, the institute dispatched two mobile vans customised with reverse osmosis (RO) and hollow fibre-based ultrafiltration systems to provide drinking water to the flood-hit people.

The vans are currently on standby in the CSMCRI campus. This indeed is an innovative example of combining science with service – kudos to CSMCRI for achieving this feat!

About Vijay Iyer

Vijay Iyer is a Senior Science & Innovation Adviser with the British Deputy High Commission Mumbai. He facilitates UK-India research partnerships in sectors including energy, health, and life sciences. Previously,…

Vijay Iyer is a Senior Science & Innovation Adviser with the British Deputy High Commission Mumbai. He facilitates UK-India research partnerships in sectors including energy, health, and life sciences.

Previously, Vijay was the Intellectual Property Attaché - India for the UK Intellectual Property Office. He facilitated UK-India commercial, academic and policy partnerships in intellectual property rights and worked with UK companies to ensure they fully understood the Indian policy scenario, including in support of initiatives such as Make in India. Vijay is a Registered Patent Agent in India.

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