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Public-Private-NGO Partnership to Set-Up Research Labs and Problems Encountered!

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    Introduction, Mission and Achievements of a Public research Laboratory
    An interventional research aimed at conducting studies of National interest integrated with multidisciplinary educational experiential learning was conceived by Social Entrepreneur; Ms. Deepali Dande as deployment of a system to enhance research interests called; ‘Cyanofarm Research Centre (CRC)’. Cyanofarm conducts research under 4 principal dimensions; A] Health and nutritional research, B] Education & Research, C] Agricultural research and D] Environmental conservation & Bio-remedial research. One of the primary activities of the lab is to generate nutrient-dense foods that are further developed by me as a potential system to provide Indian farmers with an alternative source of income by undertaking Cyanobacterial culturing; an extension of Aqua-farming activities. Since India has a 7,516 km of coastline, I believe that India must lead the world in the next generation Blue-Green revolution (Algal Culturing & its wide Biotechnological applications). Our research centre exemplifies how science must not be confined to ivory towers or encased within the walls of big laboratories only; it should be rather be carried to the factories, fields, schools and to the farms in the remote villages for the development of the nation. Specific research projects have multitude of objectives to mention a few here:
    1] Understanding dietary intake of Indian population that exhibits such high prevalence of malnutrition,
    2] Following-up with the changes in the dietary patterns,
    3] Establishing prototypes for microalgal cultivations,
    4] Optimizing biochemical growth parameters to achieve optimal yield to hike manufacturing sector,
    5] Developing economic alternative technologies for algal cultivation, and its QC
    6] Conceive & Establish a National Edible Algal Research (NEAR) centre dedicated for algological research in near future.

    At Cyanofarm research Lab we have imbibed excellence in research amongst undergraduates, graduates & PG students to outperform in their endeavors indicated by following awards conferred to them in the areas of Nutritional research, Algology, Educational research and Environmental conservation by bioremediation during 2019-2020.
    1] Slimy Cards: Card Game for Introducing Algal Taxonomy which was accepted by the prestigious Phycological Society of America and is hosted on their website to promote and improve teaching & research in phycology through educational materials
    2] 8th – 10th Jan 2020: Awarded 2nd prize to CRC intern; (Mr. Ashray Bhavsar – B.Pharm) at the Prof.T.V. Desikachary birth centenary International Symposium on Biodiversity, Biology and Biotechnology of algae (ISBBBA – 2020), Chennai for “Developing novel algal-fortificants enhancing bioavailability of nutrients to alleviate malnourishment” conducted by Centre for advanced studies in botany, University of Madras, Guindy campus.
    3] 8th – 10th Jan 2020: Awarded 3rd prize to CRC intern; (Ms. Sharvari Sawant – B.Sc. Micro) at ISBBBA – 2020, Chennai for “Identifying the consortia of opportunistic organisms through microbial assessments in Spirulina mass production and its biological characterization” conducted by Centre for advanced studies in botany, University of Madras.
    4] 20th April 2019: Awarded 1st prize to CRC intern; (Kautuk Marolia – F.Y.B.Arts.) at multidisciplinary National conference on “New horizons in commerce, Management, Humanities, Science & Technology – A gateway of opportunities for innovations”, Mumbai, for oral paper presentation, published in International journal of advance and innovative research, 6(2): 263-272. ISSN 2394-7780.
    5] 24th – 25th Jan 2019: Awarded 1st prize to CRC intern; (Ms. Sunanda Dhondaga – M.Sc. Biochem) at state level conference on “Interdisciplinary advances in applied biotechnology”, Pune, for “An interventional study to bio-remediate effluent generated in H-acid production”.
    6] 12th Jan 2019: Awarded 1st prize to CRC intern; (Ms. Shreeya Bhatt, B.Sc. Micro) at state level inter college science exhibition, Kannad, Aurangabad for “An interventional study to bioremediate effluent generated in H-acid production” project.
    7] 14th – 17th Nov., 2018: CRC intern; Vaibhav Rai (Masters in Social Work) was recipient of best poster “Elucidating senior citizens health through nutritional paradigms studied at two different time periods”, awarded by NSI at the National Institute of Nutrition – I.C.M.R., Hyderabad during 50th annual International conference on Nutrition; India’s transition from food security to nutrition security.

    Additionally, This lab also dissolved the boundaries between school and research centres where it is generally considered that research formally starts with Ph.D. registration. We rather argue that school children’s are much inquisitive in nature inherently. If we inculcate and provide them with a platform to test and explore answers to their own questions, they soon become aware of the scientific methods and empowered to satisfy their own curiosity. This peer-peer learning mechanisms exhibit that learning not only shifts from teacher centric to student centric approach but teachers have a newly defined role of understanding pedagogy.

    Bhagyashree; Std. VIII, student enjoys doing science at the Cyanofarm research lab after her school. She spends significant amount of time in performing her daily chores like collecting water, washing, cooking etc every day. Engaging in Science as student’s personal experience delivers beyond expectation. Importantly students are self-motivated. This is an important strategy that will reduce the dropout rate in conventional education as it makes it an interesting experience. The model system she had chosen is a trivial considered fruit fly. However, researchers know Drosophila shares 60% similarity to human DNA making them perfect research model in treatments of Cancer Research, Autism etc. Until now 10 scientist from diverse fields of research have received six Nobel prizes for their work on this frivolous ‘fly’.

    These Bal-vaigyaniks needs encouragement from all of us for the science they do. Join in for the experience of Imbibing research acumen in our Bal-vaigyaniks at Cyanofarm research centre.

    Impediments Faced
    1] Recognition to such labs need a priority based ‘Green Channel’ support. Current norms of DSIR and DBT are paperwork intensive.
    2] GoI clearances for such lab are seldom received.
    3] Affiliation to such labs by UGC or other state university to allow awarding M.SC. / Ph.D. degrees under University have rules and recognition take away the enthusiasm from research activities and exasperate the scientist into unprecedented administrative procedures.
    4] Young scientists / Social Entrepreneurs who venture out for such rare undertakings do not find proactive support. As a result these social ventures soon transgress from social to business especially for financial gains.
    5] Many endeavors like ours are initiated by Youth. However, there are no legal protection / Grievance systems for the founders who are later driven out of their own foundations by people having financial capitalistic attitudes.

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