As part of an effort to boost the research ecosystem at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, the Central Research Facility (CRF) was established in the year 2011, where all the central facilities were brought under a single umbrella. Since 2017, the CRF facilities have been significantly augmented with several state-of-the-art high-end experimental facilities. These have so far been catering to the needs of researchers from various departments and disciplines across the Institute.
A strong need was felt to enable sharing such facilities with the rest of the users from other academic institutions and industries in the country. Taking a big step forward in this direction, IIT Delhi has developed a new platform whereby anyone from across India can create a user account, login to the CRF, and book an instrument online (https://crf.iitd.ac.in/) for their research work. With this step, all facilities of the CRF on the Institute’s main campus in New Delhi as well as in the Sonipat campus in Haryana are now available for researchers from across the country.
In the past five years, the CRF grew in leaps and bounds, thanks to the generous funding provided by the Institute as well as other agencies.
“Rs. 500 crores have been either spent or committed by IIT Delhi to establish various high-end facilities at the CRF. The main sources of funding include the IoE grant, special MoE grant, IIT Delhi grant through Industrial Research and Development, DST’s Sophisticated Analytical and Technical Help Institutes (SATHI) project, HEFA loan etc. Today, we have over 50 different facilities, owned and/or adopted by the CRF, which are already available to the users. This number is likely to get doubled in the next two years. The Institute would like to thank the Ministry of Education, Government of India; the DST and all other funding agencies that supported the CRF’s establishment”, said Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, while launching the platform on Tuesday.
In 2017, envisaging the growth of CRF, a new building was constructed at IIT Delhi’s extension campus in Sonipat. Another building with a much larger area is also under construction in Sonipat right now, which will be completed by March 2022.
“Some of the most modern equipment like Physical Property Measurement System, X-Ray Photoemission Spectrometer, High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope, Molecular Beam Epitaxy, Universal Testing Machine, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance etc. are now housed in Sonipat and many more have been planned for the upcoming second building,” said Prof Pankaj Srivastava, Head, Central Research Facility, IIT Delhi.
Setting up of the SATHI centre, a shared, professionally managed, Science and Technology infrastructure facility by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has further augmented the capabilities of the CRF by adding a plethora of new facilities that will be beneficial for both academic as well as industrial research. For example, a prototype facility is being developed that will enable MSMEs to come up with an idea with a design and get the prototype developed in-house. A pollution monitoring and control facility too has been sanctioned. Several new high-end spectrometers and microscopes are on their way in SATHI.