By the time Kerala’s government decided to award a grant of $150,000 to a team of scientists from India’s National Institute of Technology (NIT), it had already been one year since the NIT’s flagship programme, the Accelerated Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology Research programme (AAAMR), was launched.
This time around, it was decided to make the program even more ambitious.
A team of 15 researchers, led by Dr Vinayak Reddy, would receive $150 million for their work and build a “smart factory” for research.
The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Jayalalithaa in May last year.
The government was confident that AAAMR would help the country to become a leader in the field of advanced materials and nanotechnology.
It was also hoping that it would be able to generate economic benefits for the state.
But with the recent cancellation of the AAMR grant, the project is facing problems.
The Indian Institutes of Technology-led AAAMr has already been criticised for its lack of transparency, and some scientists are accusing the Niti Aayog, the central government agency that oversees the country’s research infrastructure, of being biased against them.
In a letter to the AIIMS on Monday, Dr Harvick, the director of the institute, said that the project’s budget had not been fully released, and that it is still being reviewed by the agency.
“The funding to the AAAM R&D team was approved under the previous government and has been approved by the NDA government.
The AAAM Research Fund (ARF) is being used as an indirect subsidy.
The funding for the AIAM R & D team has not been announced,” Dr HarVick said.
“We cannot be sure that the AAOM R&d team is doing research on the most promising new technologies, but we will do our best to ensure that the AARF funding is used appropriately.”
The AARf funds are provided through the Centre for Science and Technology Policy, which is funded by the government.
According to the letter, Dr Reddy said the AAF has been unable to fund the AAAR team for the last two years.
“Since April 2016, we have been in talks with the government and the AASI (Aadhaar Unique Identification Authority of India) about providing AAAMRs for AAAM projects.
We have been assured that AAAMS would be used for AARs.
Unfortunately, these talks have been cancelled,” he said.
Dr Reddy added that AAARR had been given a budget of $50 million last year and has not yet been released.
The letter also noted that the government has been seeking a loan of up to Rs 500 crore to finance AAAMs.
“The AIIMR has been in discussions with the NIOI for several months now and has agreed to fund AAAM at a rate of up in the order of Rs 500 crores per annum,” Dr Redding said.AAAMRs are the latest technology to be created in the country, with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently announcing a similar grant for researchers from India.
AAAM scientists were already working on several technologies for developing nanosatellites and 3D printers in India when they were offered a $150-million research grant.
Dr Reddin said that it was not surprising that the funding for AAAMS has not come.
“It was not an unexpected move.
AIIMRs (Advanced Materials Research Organisation) is a private organisation, so it has to get a certain level of support from the government,” he added.