CFRD eyes strong ties with industry

Osmania University’s prestigious hub of laboratories, the Central Facilities for Research & Development (CFRD), is a state-of-the-art facility that is on par with research facilities anywhere in the world. But to realise its full potential, it requires strong partnerships with the industry, said Prof. Surya Satyanarayana Singh, who took over as its Director recently.

“The CFRD has such an overwhelming potential that scholars who have worked here have the perception that it is being underutilised,” said Prof. Singh.

There are three main labs set up in CFRD with funding from the University Grants Commisson. These are the Central Instrumentation Lab, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Lab and the Radiation Lab. The equipment housed in these labs is possibly unrivalled, and includes Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer, High Performance Liquid Chroma- tography, AKTA Purifier, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, UV-VIS Spectrometer, Confocal Microscope, Liquid Scintillation Counter, Liquid Chromatography Mass Spectrometer and a Centrifuge.

Though the CFRD, established at a cost of Rs. 40 crore, is well stocked with almost all that it needs to operate at full capacity, it is also saddled with huge maintenance budgets and lack of awareness among industry and sections of the public.

Prof. Singh mentioned that the Centre requires a minimum of Rs 60 lakh for maintenance of the instruments annually.

Asked how he would deal with these challenges, Prof. Singh said that a website has already been commissioned to help publicise the activities of the Centre to stakeholders.

“The Centre is in the process of setting up business incubators by partnering with the industry. These incubators will serve as idea- or innovation-development platforms, where business ideas will be explored and developed to commercial level. This requires a stronger partnership with industry,” he explained.

Prof. Singh further said: “The idea is to generate some income for the Centre and also help scholars to learn first-hand since they will have the opportunity to practice what they learn on-field in the industry. This will ultimately present graduates with job opportunities.”

Another challenge for CFRD is getting technical staff to man instruments in the labs. Prof. Singh said efforts were underway to have research scholars and faculty on board, as there is a ban on recruitment. It is expected that the move will also create some job opportunities for exceptional scholars.

The CFRD intends to install equipment such as the Fluorescence Microscope, Scanning Electron Microscope, X-Ray Diffraction and a Transmission Electron Microscope.

The facility also houses E-Classrooms, Scholars Computation Lab, DBT Modular Labs and Server Room, apart from office space and auditoriums. These are open to scholars and faculty of OU and constituent colleges.

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