BHUBANESWAR: The State government on Monday signed a statement of intent (SOI) with University of Chicago and its charitable trust in India to collaborate in fields of research, knowledge and capacity building.
The university will help the State in setting up a virtual academy for digitisation, preservation, and improved access of archival materials and implementation of pilot projects in energy, environment, health, water and sanitation sectors.
The SOI is an umbrella arrangement designed to facilitate detailed collaboration with different departments on specific subjects, said development commissioner R Balkrishnan.
Concerned departments will enter into specific arrangements with the University of Chicago at subsequent stages on information and knowledge exchange, collaboration and implementation of pilot projects of different innovations, research and impact evaluation of State government's initiatives in the sectors of health, water and sanitation, energy and environment, he added.
"Knowledge partnership between premier universities and the policy makers in governments across the globe has become an important imperative as the future would be driven by the knowledge and technology centric solutions," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said.
As Odisha is marching towards its vision for the future such collaborations will have to become an integral part of the planning process, he added.
As a first step, the University of Chicago revealed plans to set up an EPIC (Energy Policy Institute of Chicago) Cell at the Odisha State Pollution Control Board to carry forward its mandate of cooperation.
The capacity building partnership will enable the University of Chicago centre in New Delhi to work closely with the Odisha government in identified sectors through the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC-India) and the Tata Centre for Development (TCD).
Special secretary for general administration Ashok Meena said capacity building of the State government officials will be done with the help of the experts from Chicago University in a cost effective manner. A detailed plan will be worked out soon, he added.
The SOI was signed by Meena, Daniel Dierner on behalf of University of Chicago and University of Chicago Trust executive director Aditi Mody in the presence of the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary A P Padhi and other senior bureaucrats of the state.