June 20 : St Joseph Engineering College (SJEC), Mangaluru, has emerged as one of the 49 institutions from across India and one among the 5 colleges in Karnataka to be selected by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for establishing AICTE IDEA (Idea Development, Evaluation & Application) Labs. This achievement comes just after the college being identified as one of the 255 institutions pan India to have received approval for implementation of the National Innovation and Start-up Policy (NISP).
The IDEA Lab is aimed at encouraging students to apply Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fundamentals towards enhanced hands-on experience, learning by doing and product visualization. The IDEA Lab will make engineering students more imaginative and creative in addition to imbibing skills of critical thinking, problem-solving, design thinking, collaboration, communication and lifelong learning. The lab shall have an area of 5000 sq. ft. equipped with advanced machinery, tools, and mechanisms to support the translation of an idea to prototype development or solution of a problem.
The duration of this project is two years and the total cost for establishing the IDEA Lab is Rs 110 lakhs. The AICTE will provide approximately 40% of the total project cost and the remaining 60% is to be borne by the institute with possible sponsorship from industry partners. Beyond two years, the institute will spend another Rs 40 lakhs to sustain the IDEA labs.
The college already has an Innovation Centre under the New Age Innovation Network (NAIN) program since 2018, an initiative by Karnataka Innovation and Technology Society (KITS), Govt. of Karnataka. SJEC NAIN Innovation Centre receives Rs 10 lakh per annum as operational expenses from KITS, along with providing support for 10 student projects per year with each project availing a seed funding of Rs 3 lakhs. The total assurance for funding under the NAIN program from KITS is Rs 120 lakhs over three years.
SJEC has already set up well-equipped Tinkering and Engineering Exploration Labs which help students to build real-life applications, right in the First Year of engineering studies. This builds their affinity towards STEM and makes them more hands-on in learning technical concepts. These initiatives are part of the Experiential Learning Stream that the college has introduced for all engineering students where they go from Tinkering and Engineering Exploration in the First Year, thereafter to Social Innovation, Design Thinking, Project Management; finally culminating in Prototyping and Entrepreneurship in the Third Year. The presence of Tinkering and Engineering Exploration Labs, NAIN Innovation Centre and AICTE IDEA Labs on the campus provides an eco-system to convert ideas into proof-of-concept and upgrade them to the level of a product with commercial value.