Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], May 16: Taking a step towards enabling students to go beyond working on metal, fabrications, clay, and plaster of Paris and providing students with more avenues to develop hands-on skills in a chemical lab environment, the Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) has embarked on setting up its own Tinkerers’ Lab. This facility promotes hands-on learning towards innovation. The lab, which was inaugurated today, has been established with funding from Alkyl Amines Chemicals Limited. Alky Amines is a leading manufacturer of aliphatic amines in India. This lab has been set up as a part of their CSR initiative, with the support of the Maker Bhavan Foundation (MBF), California, USA. The lab will facilitate hands-on learning for chemical engineering students, equipping them with a physical environment that is conducive to technological innovation.
Padma Vibhushan awardee and Emeritus Professor of Eminence, Institute of Chemical Technology, Prof. M.M. Sharma, the Chief Guest, inaugurated the event, along with Padma Bhushan Prof. J.B. Joshi, the Guest of Honour. The inauguration was attended by dignitaries such as Shri Yogesh M. Kothari, Chairman and Managing Director of Alkyl Amines Chemicals Limited, Prof. A.B. Pandit, Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, and Dr. Hemant Kanakia, Founder of MBF.
Padma Vibhushan awardee Prof. M.M. Sharma said, “Our country is at a stage where it is imperative that we provide a platform for people to explore their creativity, collaborate with others, and develop innovative solutions to real-world problems. While this happens in other fields, it will be interesting to see more innovative imprints in the field of the chemical industry. With the setting up of the Tinkerers’ Lab at ICT, I wish to see an environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, experimentation, and skill development as a result of which an ecosystem of innovation should be created, which drives our economy and social progress. The country that does not innovate stagnates.”
Tinkerers’ Lab could be instrumental to Industry 4.0. In this context, Mr. Yogesh M. Kothari, Chairman and Managing Director of Alkyl Amines Chemicals Limited, said, “At the rate at which we are experiencing rapid change in technology, industries, societal patterns, and processes in the 21st century due to increasing interconnectivity and smart automation, Tinkerers’ Labs are essential for industries in India, as they provide access to tools and resources that can help drive innovation, workforce development, rapid prototyping, collaboration, and incubation of startups. By leveraging the power of Tinkerers’ Lab, industries in India can stay competitive in a rapidly changing global economy.”
Speaking of the importance of hands-on learning, Dr. Hemant Kanakia, Founder of Maker Bhavan Foundation, added, “Hands-on learning is essential for developing practical skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities. It can help learners achieve a deeper understanding of the subject matter and develop the skills students need to succeed in their chosen field. It will be good to see the Indian STEM education system actively engaging with the subject matter through physical activities, such as building, experimenting, creating, and tinkering through Tinkerers’ Labs.”
Expressing his views, Prof. A.B. Pandit, Vice Chancellor of the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, said, “Creating Tinkerers’ Labs in academic spaces provides students to develop practical skills and knowledge that are essential for success in their chosen fields. Our country needs learning environments that provide access to tools, technology, and resources for hands-on learning, experimentation, and creativity. We as academicians should work towards popularising Tinkerers’ Labs in academic settings for good reasons.”
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