GANGTOK, 5 July 2022 Sikkim Manipal University (SMU) celebrated Student Research Day 2022 with the official launch of Student Research Forum (SRF) here today.

The SMU-SRF has been established under the aegis of Directorate of Research, SMU with the noble aim to give impetus to the research ecosystem among undergraduate and post-graduate students in the disciplines of medical, allied healthcare, technology management, medical biotechnology, humanities, social & basic sciences. This will create a robust research and innovation habitat for students of SMU & its constituent institutes, colleges, units and departments. It will enhance awareness on the entire spectrum of on-going and forecast research in SMU to inspire and motivate the students by promoting a progressive research culture. The SMU-SRF envisions to provide a platform to budding researchers, with support and guidance to the research enthusiasts and incentivise to those who are excelling in the field.

Sikkim Manipal University is pro-actively leveraging the promising avenues of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 with the promotion of quality research, innovation skill development, internship, apprenticeship and industry linkages in the high quality, value added, multi-disciplinary higher education in the nationally ranked and reputed institutes & colleges of SMU. SMU encourages focused research with strong society linkages and community connects, thereby strengthening the vibrant higher education ecosystem to address the needs of the populace. The integration of research, innovation and technology development is a key result area in SMU and its constituents to fortify the foundations of Atma-Nirbhar Bharat.

The SMU-SRF is targeted towards the aspirational students of Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences (SMIMS), Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology (SMIT), Sikkim Manipal College of Nursing (SMCON), Sikkim Manipal College of Physiotherapy (SMCPT), Department of Humanities & Social Sciences, Department of Medical Biotechnology & Department of Hospital Administration to fulfil their true potential.

Dr. Kartikeya Ojha, President, SMU-SRF, in his address said that the SMU-SRF has been established with the mission to make SMU a centre of excellence in inter-disciplinary, research in medical, technical and higher education to provide a platform for students to showcase their work and gain experience to achieve their aspirations and ambitions in the national and global arena.

The SMU-SRF provides resources, facilities, infrastructure guidance and mentorship to conduct meaningful research. This enables them to develop an understanding of indigenous materials, capacities, and technologies as well as their social relevance, and also to ethically utilise the various research grants. Training the students to meet the rapidly changing needs in emerging career pathways so that they facilitate all-round socio-economic development, is also one of the key objectives of the SMU –SRF.

The SMU-SRF will consists of a board with 7 members, each representing the constituent institutes, colleges, units and departments under SMU. Further, there will be a team of 12 senior faculty members who will mentor the students and scholars as also supervise their research work.

In her address, Dr. Bidita Khandelwal, Director, Directorate of Research, SMU congratulated the students on the launch of SMU-SRF and said that this will greatly contribute to the process of developing and inculcating research interest among the students. She emphasised on the need for exchange of research ideas, cross pollination and interdisciplinary research which has societal impact. “The excellent research ecosystem existing in SMU which facilitates quality research with high standard of ethics, opens a world of opportunities for the talented students to excel in research. Research should an integral part of student life,” she said. Dr. Khandelwal also informed about the various incentives and grants offered as well as training and awareness programmes conducted in SMU, to help students develop their research skills.

Addressing the large audience, Dr. (Lt. Gen) Rajan S. Grewal, Vice Chancellor, said that the Sikkim Manipal University SMU, in over two decades, has created a remarkable distinction as the preferred academic and research destination of the region. “One of the key determinants of the future growth trajectory of our students, as well as the high rankings of the University is ‘excellence in research’. It is a noteworthy that SMU has received significant extramural and intramural research grants from various government, non-government organisations and the Manipal Group. Over the last few years, there are more than 1000 research publications in various quality indexed journals with significant numbers featuring in the high impact category. With the establishment of the Directorate of Research (DOR), SMU has already fast tracked its strategy to anchor pan-spectral high quality, collaborative research. Now, SMU-SRF will further ignite the flame of curiosity for learning, knowledge in our students with a comprehensive perspective on research. Research adds huge value addition to widen the horizons beyond the curriculum and syllabus. It is extremely important for the all round development of students to be future ready for their chosen careers,” he said. He complimented the DOR and SRF of SMU for giving impetus to trans-disciplinary research which is relevant, ethical, novel and progressive.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Muralidhar V. Pai, Dean, SMIMS, congratulated the Directorate of Research, SMU and the newly-formed SMU-SRF for taking the initiatives toward fostering a culture of research amongst the students. He said that the most prominent reason to engage in research is to enhance your knowledge. “Even if you are an expert of your field, there is always more to uncover. If researching about a topic entirely new to you, it will help build your unique perspective about it. The whole process of research opens new doors of learning and literary growth. It is possible that you already have ideas and opinions about a topic you are researching upon. The more research is done, the more viewpoints are unearthed. It encourages one to entertain fresh ideas and review your own perspective too. It can even change your mind about a concept or two,” he said.

Certificates were awarded to students who excelled in research and also received endowment funds and ICMR grants. A Research Calendar for the Academic Year 2022-23 was also conceived, as a roadmap for scaling up research & innovation in all fields and subjects in SMU.

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