Pune: Knowledge cluster to take up projects on ecology, health in region gets underway

The Pune Knowledge Cluster will embark on several centrally funded projects that will be milestone-based to help mitigate problems in Pune city and the region.

This is among the first city-wide clusters approved on August 5 by the office of the principal scientific advisor to the Union government. Similar clusters for Hyderabad and Jodhpur were approved .

The projects will have a turnaround deadline of three years, but there will be six monthly and yearly reviews to assess their progress. The goal is to connect organisations with a high-level of expertise in diverse domains such as science and technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, in and around Pune.

These include universities and colleges, research laboratories and national and state-level research and development establishments in Pune, and the leading industries based here.

Some areas that several leading institutions in Pune will collaborate on include environment management, health, electric mobility, among others.

Plans are to create a water grid for Pune. Similarly, there are plans to create an epidemiological database of Maharashtra to respond to Covid-19 like pandemic challenges.

“There will be newness in approach and focus,” Ajit Kembhavi, principal investigator of PKC, said. The focus will be on shortand long-term innovative projects, development of policy framework and vision.

“Some projects will be to better reflect the local ecology. For example,Pune has a lot of trees, almost one every person but there is need to improve quality. There is need to focus on native trees,” L S Sashidhara, coprincipal investigator, PKC, said.

IUCAA has been designated to facilitate the project, and the funding will be dealt with by the office of the its director.

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