DBT brings Foldscope to most resource constrained parts of the country

Foldscope Microgrant Project of DBT across the country

Foldscope which is an ultra-affordable paper microscope is a part of the “Frugal science” movement which aims to make essential scientific tool affordable in the developing world to engage the masses on curiosity driven experiments. It is a portable, robust and versatile microscope made mostly out of paper (water-proof) that can magnify upto 140x and has 1.9 μm resolution without the bulkiness and expense of a conventional research microscope. The uniqueness of the Foldscope lies in the fact that unlike conventional microscopes found in science labs, it is portable and has the ability to project an image on any surface, allowing a larger group of people to look at an image simultaneously.

Foldscope was invented by an Indian researcher Dr. Manu Prakash and his student  Dr. Jim Cybulski at Prakash Lab, Stanford University, USA. The Prakash Lab invented Foldscope which is a new approach for mass manufacturing of optical microscope that is printed-and-folded from a single flat sheet of paper, akin to origami and can enable accessibility to microscopy in field and resource constrained settings at a global scale.  Prakash Lab has incorporated a company Foldscope Instruments Inc., USA, for manufacturing of Foldscope.

The Foldscope has been brought to India after the signing of a Statement of Intent between the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India and Prakash Lab (Stanford University), USA in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to USA for the India-US Startup Konnect event at Silicon Valley on 27th September 2015.

Since then, DBT in partnership with Foldscope Instruments Inc. and Prakash Lab (Stanford University) has reached out to school students, teachers, scientists/researchers & masses interested in science exploration across India by training them in use of Foldscope to popularize science and trigger excitement in it. DBT has organized a number of workshops and distributed Foldscopes to the resource constraint schools and colleges across the country including north eastern region of India.

So far, DBT has supported 409 schools and colleges (92 schools and 317 colleges) across the country by training the teachers/faculty to use foldscope and provided micro grant (Rs. 4.00 lakhs to each selected school and Rs. 8.00 lakhs to each selected colleges) to pursue their research activities using foldscope. The use of foldscope among young students has encouraged them towards science exploration and strengthening their scientific temperament. The school and colleges used foldscope for training students to visualize unicellular and multi cellular cells like bacteria, fungus, protozoans, plant cells, animal cells, arthropods and exopolymeric substances.

Category

Organizations supported

                                                    Remarks

Category – A

(Schools)

          92

NER Schools – 28

Non NER Schools – 64

Category – B

(Colleges)

          317

NER College– 81

Non NER Colleges– 236

Total

          409

 

The following map depicts number of schools and colleges in every state selected under Foldscope outreach programme.
The selected schools/colleges have organized 2,020 workshops and trained 1,17,573 students besides creating 5,280 trainers. The positive impact of this exercise in terms of fueling the scientific temperament can be assessed from the fact that within a period of 1 year, more than 22,598 pictures and videos taken by students & teachers while observing the samples have been reported to DBT.

 

Workshops conducted

Students trained

Trainers created

Pictures/videos posted

Category A (Schools)

NER

274

12500

1122

649

Non – NER

455

30291

2843

8588

Category B (Colleges)

NER

380

21841

391

3327

Non – NER

911

52941

924

10034

Total

 

2020

117573

5280

22598

 

Workshops for Teachers and Students of Aspirational Districts (First Year)

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India has entrusted Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL) to organize Hands on workshops for teachers and students of Aspirational Districts in the country. During the first year, five (5) workshops were planed and organized by BCIL in close coordination with DBT and District Administration of the district where workshops were organized.

Letters for nominations of teachers from aspirational districts were sent by DBT to the District Education Officers with intimation to the concerned District Magistrates. A vigorous follow up done with the district administration for mobilizing teachers and students for the workshops organized in the aspirational districts at convenient venue identified in consultation with DBT. Senior officers from DBT participated in the above workshops.

Around twenty (20) including ten (10) super trainers from across the country were arranged for each venue to train teachers and students. The nominated teachers from aspirational districts were also given fifteen (15) foldscopes for further training of their students at their host schools.

During the first year, five (5) workshops have been organized at following locations:

Sl. No.

State

Venue & Date

Districts Covered

Participants Trained

1

Madhya Pradesh

Rajaborari, Harda District,

17th – 18th April 2019

2

728

2

North Eastern Sates (8 states)

Darrang, Assam,

August 26, 2019

14

285

3

Jharkhand

Ranchi, Jharkhand,

October 22-23, 2019

19

329

4

Bihar

Gaya, Bihar,

November 18, 2019

13

376

5

Rajasthan

Bikaner, Rajasthan,

 December 9, 2019

 

5

417

 

 

Total

53

2135

The detailed breakup of the participation is as follows;

Venue and Date

State and districts covered

Students trained

Teachers Trained

 

Male

Female

Total

Male

Female

Total

Rajaborari, Harda District, 17th – 18th April 2019

Madhya Pradesh, Khandwa,  Barwani & Harda (tribal district)

292

378

670

33

25

58

Darrang, Assam, August 26, 2019

Namsai, Arunachal Pradesh; Darrang, Dhubri, Barpeta, Goalpara, Baksa, Udalgiri, Hailakandi, Assam; Chandel, Manipur; Ribhoi, Meghalaya; Mamit, Mizoram; Kiphire, Nagaland; West Sikkim, Sikkim; and Dhalai, Tripura

140

92

232

49

4

53

Ranchi, Jharkhand, October 22-23, 2019

Jharkhand – Sahebganj, Bokaro, Latehar, Lohardaga, Chatra, West Singhbhum, Simdega, Ramgarh, Pakur, East- Singhbhum, Ranchi, Dumka, Garhwa, Giridh, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Khunti, Godda, Palamu

90

160

250

68

11

79

Gaya, Bihar, November 18, 2019

Bihar-Katihar, Begusarai, Sheikhpura, Araria, Sitamarhi, Khagaria, Purnea, Aurangabad, Banka, Gaya, Jamui, Muzaffarpur, Nawada

122

187

309

56

14

67

Bikaner, Rajasthan, December 9, 2019

Rajasthan Baran, Dholpur, Karauli, Sirohi, Jaisalmer

159

211

370

39

8

47

Total

12 states and 53 districts covered

803

1028

1831

245

62

304

At each location, the participants were taught on the science behind the Foldscope and the intended use of the foldscope for the teachers and students for their practical work including science exploration around them to encourage curiosity driven science among the young students.

Three hundred and four (304) teachers from aspirational districts were trained as “Trainers” and those trained teachers will act as Trainers for initiating future Foldscope activities of DBT in their respective districts. The trained students (1831 students) were encouraged to present their microscopic findings to the other students during workshop. During the first year, participants were trained from 12 States covering 53 aspirational districts.

During these workshops, students and teachers were encourage to use Foldscopes as microscopic tool for curiosity driven science exploration. The students were also encouraged to make their curriculum-based projects using Foldscope in biodiversity, ecology, botany, zoology and exploring the world of microorganisms.”

Madhya Pradesh,
Radhasoami Adivasi Higher Secondary School, Rajaborari, Harda,
17th – 18th April 2019

                                                                                                       

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India organized a Foldscope Workshop (Hands-on workshop) in the Radhasoami Adivasi Higher Secondary School at forest village Rajaborari. Hands on training to six hundred and seventy (670) students and fifty eight (58) teachers from tribal villages in forest areas including Khandwa and Barwani districts on making Microscope using frugal method. Training was imparted to create and use the paper-based microscope.

During the inaugural ceremony the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to Government of India and the Chairman of Prime Ministers’ Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council; Prof. K. VijayRaghvan addressed the participants through video conferencing. Students were provided with the Foldscope kits. Dr. Shailja Gupta, Adviser, DBT along with Dr. Jim Cybulski and Ms. Elenor Gleknor from Stanford University, USA also participated in the workshop.

The students and teachers were trained by the Foldscope Super Users who are invited from different parts of the country.

Assam
Mangaldai College, Darrang,
August 26, 2019

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India organized a Foldscope Workshop (Hands-on workshop) on 27th August 2019 at Mangaldai College, Darrang, Assam for teachers and students of Aspirational Districts in the North Eastern Region (NER) (Namsai, Darrang, Dhubri, Barpeta, Goalpara, Baksa, Udalgiri, Hailakandi, Chandel, Ribhoi, Mamit, Kiphire, West Sikkim, Dhalai) of India. Mangaldai (Darrang) is one of the Aspirational District in the NER.

Fifty three (53) school teachers nominated by respective District Education Officers (DEOs) from Fourteen (14) aspirational districts and two hundred and thirty two (232) school students from Darrang District attended this one day workshop at Mangaldai College, Darrang, Assam.

Dr. Shailja V. Gupta, Adviser, DBT inaugurated the ceremony in the presence of other dignitaries like Dr. Manish Rana, Scientist E, DBT, Prof. Prabodh Bohra, College of veterinary Sciences under the Assam Agricultural University (AAU) and Prof. Dinabandhu Sahoo, Director, Institute of Bioresoreces and sustainable development (IBSD). Dr. Gupta gave a brief presentation on the ‘Foldscope project’, how foldscope came to India and narrated how the concept is becoming popular among the students and faculties covering four hundred and forty five (445) schools and colleges across the country. Dr. Khagen Kumar Nath, Principal, Mangaldai College also addressed the gathering.

During this hands-on workshop, a total of two hundred and eighty five (285) participants (teachers and students) were trained to visualize unicellular and multi cellular cells like bacteria, fungus, protozoans, plant cells, animal cells, arthropods and exopolymer substances. They were also provided with the Foldscope Kits. They were also provided with the Foldscope Kits.

This workshop provided a platform to the students & teachers from NER to use Foldscopes as microscopic tool for curiosity driven science exploration. The students were encouraged to make their curriculum-based projects using Foldscope in biodiversity, ecology, botany, zoology and exploring the world of microorganisms.”

Jharkhand
Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra, Ranchi,
October 22-23, 2019

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India organized a Foldscope Workshop (Hands-on workshop) on October 22-23, 2019 at Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra, Ranchi for teachers and students of Aspirational Districts of Jharkhand (Sahebganj, Bokaro, Latehar, Lohardaga, Chatra, West Singhbhum, Simdega, Ramgarh, Pakur, East- Singhbhum, Ranchi, Dumka, Garhwa, Giridh, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Khunti, Godda, Palamu).

Seventy nine (79) school teachers nominated by respective District Education Officers from nineteen (19) aspirational districts and two hundred and fifty (250) school students from schools at Ranchi attended this two day hands on workshop at Birla Institute of Technology (BIT) Mesra, Ranchi. Dr. Mohd. Aslam, Advisor, DBT inaugurated the ceremony in the presence of other and gave a brief description on Foldscope and how it came to India. Dr. Padmini Padmnabham, Acting Vice chancellor and Prof. Ramesh Chandra, HoD, Deptt of Bioengineering BIT, Mesra also addressed the gathering.  Dr. Manish Rana, Scientist E, DBT concluded the inaugural ceremony with vote of thanks.

The workshop commenced with a brief presentation by Dr. Praveen Rahi, NCCS Pune, on the science behind Foldscope and its use.

During this two day workshop, a total of three and twenty nine (329) participants (teachers and students) were trained to visualize unicellular and multi cellular cells like bacteria, fungus, protozoans, plant cells, animal cells, arthropods and exopolymer substances. They were also provided with the Foldscope Kits.

Bihar
Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, Gaya
November 18, 2019

 The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India organized a Foldscope Workshop (Hands-on workshop) on November 18, 2019 at Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, Bihar for teachers and students of Aspirational Districts of Bihar (Katihar, Begusarai, Sheikhpura, Araria, Araria, Khagaria, Purnea, Aurangabad, Banka, Gaya, Jamui, Muzaffarpur, Nawada).

Sixty seven (67) school teachers nominated by respective District Education Officers (DEOs) from Thirteen (13) aspirational districts of Bihar and three hundred and nine (309) school students from Gaya Districts attended this one day hands on workshop at Magadh University, Bodh Gaya. This workshop was inaugurated by Vice Chancellor, Magadh University, Bodh Gaya. Dr. Abhishek Singh, Scientist C, DBT, also attended this workshop.

The workshop commenced with a brief presentation by Dr. Praveen Rahi, NCCS Pune, on the science behind Foldscope and its use.

During this workshop, participants were trained to visualize unicellular and multi cellular cells like bacteria, fungus, protozoans, plant cells, animal cells, arthropods and exopolymer substances. 

Rajasthan
Government Chopra Senior Secondary School, Bikaner
December 9, 2019

 The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India organized a Foldscope Workshop (Hands-on workshop) on December 9, 2019 at Government Chopra Senior Secondary School, Bikaner for teachers and students of Aspirational Districts of Rajasthan (Baran, Dholpur, Karauli, Sirohi, Jaisalmer).

Forty seven (47) school teachers nominated by respective District Education Officers from five (5) aspirational districts of Rajasthan and three hundred and seventy (370) school students from local schools at Bikaner attended this one day hands on workshop at Government Chopra Senior Secondary School, Bikaner. Mrs. Devlata, Joint Director, Secondary Education Rajasthan, Mr. Umashankar kiraru, District Secondary Education officer, Bikaner Dr. H.P. Vyas Former Director, DRDO, New Delhi addressed the students and teachers.

The workshop commenced with a brief presentation by Dr. Praveen Rahi, NCCS Pune, on the science behind Foldscope and its use.

During this one-day workshop, a total of four hundred and seventeen (417) participants (teachers and students) were trained to visualize unicellular and multi cellular cells like bacteria, fungus, protozoans, plant cells, animal cells, arthropods and exopolymer substances. They were also provided with the Foldscope Kits.

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DBT brings Foldscope to most resource constrained parts of the country

Foldscope: A low cost microscope as a tool for education and research is becoming a major way of connecting students and science from all over the country.

Democratisation of Science

The Foldscope has been brought to India after the signing of a Statement of Intent between the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and Prakash Lab (Stanford University), USA in the presence of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, ShriNarendraModi during his visit to USA for the India-US StartupKonnect event at Silicon Valley on 27th September 2015.