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Tackling national challenges at the local level

India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS)

 This story is taken from the NCE anniversary report "Building on 25 Years of R&D Excellence."

IC-IMPACTS helped Sanghvi Industries in Nagpur to use a waste by-product (fly-ash) from Nagpur’s thermal power plants to make a higher performing, low-carbon cement replacement for new infrastructure builds in Nagpur.

The challenges

The availability of safe drinking water, sustainable infrastructure and good public health practices are complex global issues that require multiple stakeholders and scientific disciplines to come up with solutions that are cost-effective and sustainable.

The opportunities

Canada and India share strong bilateral ties, including a well-established history of research collaborations. At the same time, India’s government has made public-private partnerships a priority to deal with an infrastructure deficit that compromises public health and economic growth. This opens opportunities for technology sharing, professional development and partnerships with Canada.

What IC-IMPACTS is doing right

The centre and its partners are developing and implementing community-based solutions to the most urgent needs of Canada and India: poor water quality, unsafe and unsustainable infrastructure, and poor health from water-borne and infectious diseases. Under IC-IMPACTS leadership, researchers, industry innovators, community organizations and government agencies work collaboratively to develop and test local solutions that can be scaled up across India and Canada. The centre also provides training and professional development to address critical skills shortages. Here’s how they’re doing it:

  • Good governance and management: Senior representatives from both the public and private sectors are represented on IC-IMPACTS’ Board of Directors. Equity, transparency and accountability are overseen by a Research Management Committee. A Community Advisory Board and committees are being struck to oversee commercialization and training. To ramp-up operations faster, IC-IMPACTS appointed an interim board of directors to set up its governance and management structure.
  • Aligning research with partner needs: Before any projects are funded, IC-IMPACTS hosts workshops to identify research priorities for each partner community. It also helped bring Canadian partners such as Starmass Environment Technologies and Stantec Inc. of Ottawa to India, where they are working on infrastructure projects with several Indian companies.

    Since launching in March 2013, IC-IMPACTS has linked with partner communities in India (Nagpur, Faridkot/Bathinda Region and villages near Thondebavi) and in Canada (Hamlet of Pangnirtung, NU and Dene Tha’, Alberta).
  • Training innovation leaders: The centre’s hands-on research, curriculum development and professional training will help turn more than 700 students, researchers and professional practitioners into innovation leaders. IC-IMPACTS partnered with FOSROC (India) Chemicals Ltd. to hold a professional training program in India for over 50 practising engineers and consultants. It also works with India’s National Institute of Technology and Mitacs to engage interns in both countries.