India-Canada Science & Technology Innovation Summit - Nemy Banthia at Podium

Congratulations to the Winners of the Joint Bilateral Award Improving Occupant Survivability in Buildings During Fires Using Innovations in Structural Engineering, Materials Science and Cyber-Physical Interfaces

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – New Delhi, India. Four winning proposals on “Improving Occupant Survivability in Buildings During Fires” received awards today at the India-Canada Science & Technology Innovation Conclave in New Delhi, India. The event was jointly organized by IC-IMPACTS (A Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence), as well as the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science, India.

Fire statistics show that India has the highest incidence of fire-related deaths of any country in the world. In 2014 alone, there were more than 300,000 fires in India that resulted in about 25,000 deaths and fire losses in the order of thousands of crores (rupees). In Canada, First Nations communities are ten times more susceptible to die in house fires than the population at large.

The joint IC-IMPACTS and DST Call for Proposals under which the awards were made was launched in mid-2018 to address growing fire problems in India and Canada. Below are the winning researchers along with a summary of their proposals:

India-Canada Science & Technology Innovation Summit - Dignitaries and guests
Speakers at science & technology gathering
  1. Ajitanshu Vedrtnam (Invertis University, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh), Prof. Maged Youssef (Western University, Canada): Improving fire safety of structures through the development of fire-retardant laminated glass glazing. This project aims at developing fire-resistant laminated glass LG that has improved post-breakage performance during fire condition. The developed glass will contain the fire, and, thus, improve the safety of high-rise buildings.
  2. Ashwin Srinivasan (BITS Pilani), Dr. Raja Sengupta (McGill University, Canada): Mobile app for improving survival in fires through efficient egress using impromptu indoor WiFi localization and georeferenced building maps. A mobile app will be developed by combining WiFi-based indoor localization, georeferenced buildings with a 3D network of exit routes, and wayfinding with a 3D network to an exit.
  3. Dipti Ranjan Sahoo (IIT Delhi, India), Dr. Oh-Sung Kwon (University of Toronto, Canada): Assessment of fire performance of structural elements and structural systems through conventional fire tests and hybrid fire simulation. This project aims to deploy full-scale and multi-site hybrid fire simulation in the national fire laboratories of Canada (National Research Council) and India (Central Building Research Institute).
  4. Umesh Kumar Sharma (IIT Roorkee, India), Prof. Mark Green (Queen’s University, Canada): Fire performance of aged reinforced concrete structures. This will aim to design new reinforced concrete structures for better fire performance and to develop suitable fire-resistant repair strategies for corroded and aged existing structures.
India-Canada Science & Technology Innovation Summit - Nemy Banthia and Ashutosh Sharma present awards
Prof. Ashutosh Sharma (left) and Dr. Nemy Banthia announce award winners

“Scientific collaboration between Canada and India is a key to solving problems and implementing real solutions in both nations, which face similar infrastructure, health, and water-related challenges,” said Dr. Nemy Banthia, CEO & Scientific Director of IC-IMPACTS. “We are delighted to partner with India’s Department of Science and Technology and to support these promising bilateral research projects that offer a tremendous opportunity for researchers from both nations to develop infrastructure solutions to mitigate fire hazards with the goal of minimizing loss of life and injuries and making buildings more resilient to fire.”

Prior to this award, DST and IC-IMPACTS launched two Calls for Proposals and awarded two rounds of funding for 10 bilateral research projects. These current awards are part of a third round of joint funding.

Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST, expressed his delight that IC-IMPACTS and DST have developed several research partnerships between Canada and India. “I am optimistic about our joint research and look forward to more successful collaborative initiatives that will improve the lives of millions of people in Canada and India through science, technology, and innovation.”

About the Partners

IC-IMPACTS The India-Canada Centre for Innovative Multidisciplinary Partnerships to Accelerate Community Transformation and Sustainability (IC-IMPACTS) was established in 2012, winning a federal grant through the Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE). IC-IMPACTS builds research and community-based innovations to tackle pressing problems in Canada and India in the areas of infrastructure, water, and public health.

The non-profit is the only NCE with an international India focus. It has produced 808 research publications, 27 patents and invention disclosures, 792 trained professionals and 17 technology deployments in its first five years of existence. Its 278 multi-sector partners include 78 academic, 99 industry, 42 government, and 24 community partners, almost equally spread over Canada and India.

Through matching funds from Canada and India, joint research, and advanced demonstration of innovations, IC-IMPACTS has laid the groundwork for solving real-world problems in both nations, opening up gateways for multi-billion dollar markets in infrastructure, water, and public health.

Department of Science & Technology The Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of science and technology and to play the role of a nodal department for organizing, coordinating and promoting science and technology activities in the country. DST has an important role in building a strong base for research, development, and demonstration in India and in addressing national concerns about strengthening science and technology.