The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India in partnership with Foldscope Instruments Inc. and PrakashLab (Stanford), invited applications from teachers, scientists and citizen scientists across India for the use of foldscope to trigger excitement in science.
A total of 525 applications have been received from schools, colleges and citizen scientists across India for this grant competition which offers Foldscopes and a small grant to use the origami paper microscope to promote the spirit of exploration in scientific subjects.
Among these applications 112 are from schools, 357 from colleges and 56 from individual scientists. In the selection process preference will be given to government schools and colleges in resource constrained environments.
The selected applicants will be twinned with the North East region of India for exchange of idea and students under the programme. All proposed activities of the successful proposals will be mirrored in a school or college of the North East; likewise all successful proposals from NE will mirror activities in school or colleges from rest of India.
The grant can have a major impact in democratizing Science through a Major Twinning Programme of the North East with other parts of India. Through this grant low cost paper Foldscopes developed by Indian origin researcher Dr. Manu Prakash working at the Stanford University, can reach remote corners of India and help popularize science there.
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India and Prakash Lab at Stanford University, USA earlier signed an agreement to bring the Foldscope to India to encourage curiosity in science. Following an understanding between DBT and Prakash Lab, foldscopes have been distributed to several college students and series of workshops held across India to popularize the origami paper microscope.
Mirroring the activities of the successful proposals in the North East through twinning programme assumes significance as the North East of India is a global biodiversity hotspot. In order to connect the NE and understand the value of its rich biodiversity, ecology and environment as vital for the life of our planet, all successful projects, from the NE states and from states from rest of India will be twinned by the North-East Region Biotechnology Programme management Cell (NER-BPMC) DBT.
The school or college twinning will also have a long term social impact towards sharing of a national and global purpose in environmental, ecological, social and scientific matters. With such twinning, Indian youth can lead in sustainable development of our planet and in eco-science.