Students of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi will soon work on solving social problems along with engineering ones. This is made possible under the ‘Grassroots Innovation Programme (GRIP)’ launched by the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India, Prof K Vijay Raghavan. Under the initiative, students will work on finding novel solutions to grassroots societal problems identified by them from rural and semi-urban areas, including the communities they come from.
Under the programme, two activities are proposed — social immerssion, and grassroot innovation programme. Students will have to identify a problem or need and validated it as a part of the social immersion programme and find solutions to the problem in a semester or year-long project under the innovation part of the programme.
A group of students will first visit communities located in smaller towns and villages to immerse in social environments for a substantial time (one week to months) to study, understand and identify local needs and challenges, which can possibly be addressed by the students when they return to the Institute campus.
After identifying the problem, students will participate in a grassroots innovation programme. As a part of this, students will be allowed to work on semester-long or year-long projects on finding novel solutions to grassroots problems identified by them.
“The immersion programme provides an opportunity for students to put themselves in the shoes of end-users and to co-create solutions which are likely to succeed. This programme also acts as a pipeline of ideas, which students and student teams can address as a part of semester-long design and innovation courses already available to them,” said Prof PVM Rao Head, Department of Design, IIT Delhi who is coordinating the GRIP initiative.
IIT Delhi students who come from diverse regions of the country identify problems/challenges being faced in their local communities including their villages, towns and semi-urban settings will be included in the course.
“There are many students who have shown interest in addressing the unmet needs in their own neighbourhoods. Further, students are enthusiastic to participate in proposing and validating novel solutions that respond to the local situation and the interests and values of the communities involved. The GRIP initiative is aimed at providing resources to the students who want to help society by solving its problems,” said Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi.