Bridging Lab to Market: IIT Bombay’s Gogri Hub Takes a Leap Towards Membrane Research

12 May 2024

IIT Bombay has achieved a major milestone with the launch of the Gogri Hub for Membranes Research a Unit of Translational Research Centre – Chemicals and Materials.

The Gogri Hub for Membranes Research is poised to become a leading centre for advanced research and development in membrane technologies. With no significant domestic membrane manufacturing in India, there was a pressing need for dedicated research in this domain. The establishment of the Gogri Hub at IIT Bombay aims to pioneer innovative solutions to global issues and position India as a leader in membrane science and technology.

Globally, only a few countries have universities with top-tier membrane research facilities. The state-of-the-art Gogri Hub for Membranes Research will enable IIT Bombay to expand and refine its research capabilities in areas like water and wastewater treatment, biomedical applications, alternative energy, and gas separation. This initiative will transition research traditionally carried out on a laboratory or pilot scale to larger-scale industrial applications.

Inauguration of the Gogri Hub For Membranes Research

The Gogri Hub for Membranes Research was inaugurated with enthusiasm and optimism, marking the start of an exciting journey towards transforming research into real-world solutions.

The event began with a warm welcome address by the Director of IIT Bombay. In his address, Prof. Chaudhuri said, “The Gogri Hub for Membranes Research represents a significant leap forward in our quest for sustainable membrane solutions. By bridging the gap between academia and industry, we aim to accelerate the translation of research into practical, market-aligned innovations.” He thanked the donors and IITB alumni – Mr. Renil Gogri and Mr. Mirik Gogri – for their outstanding contributions to their alma mater.

Donor Vision

The establishment of the Gogri Hub for Membranes Research was made possible by the generous contributions of Mr. Mirik Gogri and Mr. Renil Gogri, illustrious alumni of IIT Bombay. Their commitment to supporting interdisciplinary research and industry partnerships will propel advancements in membrane technology, enabling solutions for climate change mitigation and healthcare challenges.

Speaking on behalf of the Gogri family, Mr. Mirik Gogri highlighted their vision for the centre and its focus on developing innovative membrane technologies at his alma mater. He said, “As proud alumni of IIT Bombay, the establishment of the ‘Gogri Hub for Membranes Research’ is our humble contribution to the legacy of excellence at our alma mater. We believe that by fostering interdisciplinary research and industry partnerships, the Gogri Hub will not only drive advancements in membrane technology but also serve as a catalyst for addressing critical global challenges at scale in the areas of climate change mitigation and healthcare, among others.”

A Day of Insights – Breakthroughs and Partnerships in Membrane Technology

The Chief Guest for the event was Dr. Kannan Srinivasan, Director of CSIR-CSMCRI. Dr. Srinivasan has been a part of the Central Salt & Marine Chemicals Research Institute for over 27 years. Since February 2020, he has served as the Director, following his tenure as Chief Scientist from 2016. His work involves the synthesis and characterization of chemical compounds and materials like layered double hydroxides, layered perovskites, and mesoporous materials.

In his address, Dr. Srinivasan highlighted the potential impact of membrane technologies on various industries and the broader society at large and said, “Over the last 6 decades, CSIR has made large strides in membrane research. Our successful projects include a desalination project in Kutch, Gujarat. This project led to the village becoming self-sufficient in getting drinking water. Another feather in our cap is the mobile desalination project. It does not require an electrical socket and is self-powered by the engine.”

Dr. Srinivasan extended an invitation to IIT Bombay to collaborate with CSIR to further research in the field of membrane technology.

He added, “I believe that research scientists should select the right technology to provide the right kind of membrane technology solutions. Membrane technology will play a critical role in the energy sector along with water, waste management, and healthcare. Our journey has just begun with this exciting tech and the development of this research.”

Mr. Rajesh Gopinathan, Head of the Translational Research Centre (TRC), praised the Gogri family’s support and emphasized the significance of translational research and entrepreneurship for Indian institutions. “The Gogri Hub will play a vital role in IIT Bombay’s ecosystem, enabling the translation of research into transformative products and services,” he said. Prof. Gopinathan also outlined the vision for IIT Bombay’s Translational Research Centre.

Other key events included:

  • Dr. Adil Dhalla, Managing Director, START Centre and Singapore Membrane Consortium, delivered the plenary talk and was honoured by the Director.
  • Prof. Swatantra Pratap from the Environmental Science and Engineering Department of IIT Bombay provided an overview of membranes TRC.
  • A Keynote address from Guest of Honour Dr. S. Sridhar, Chief Scientist of Membrane Separations Lab at CSIR, who was also recognized by the Director.

Panel Discussions

The event wrapped up with an overview of the Membranes Translational Research Centre and its research objectives by Prof. Swatantra Pratap, IIT Bombay, and two panel discussions moderated by Prof. Jayesh Bellare, and Prof. A.K. Suresh, IIT Bombay. These discussions explored the application of membrane technologies in addressing critical challenges facing the world today.

The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Prof. Ravi Gudi, the Dean of Alumni and Corporate Relations, who expressed gratitude to all involved for their support in making the inauguration a success.

Driving Innovation And Impact

The Gogri Hub is at the forefront of propelling the advancement of membrane technologies and transitioning cutting-edge research from laboratory prototypes to full-scale practical applications. By focusing on enhancing access to clean water, advancing healthcare delivery, and promoting sustainable energy practices, the hub is set to play a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable future. Through robust collaborations with industry partners, academia, and investors, the hub will accelerate the translation of groundbreaking research into real-world solutions, delivering tangible benefits to society.

By establishing state-of-the-art facilities and fostering an ecosystem of innovation and collaboration, the Gogri Hub is committed to driving transformative advancements in membrane technology. This includes developing technologies for water and wastewater treatment, biomedical applications, and energy sectors. The hub’s ambitious goals include spearheading the creation of more than 30 new technologies and commercializing over 10 with a technology readiness level (TRL) of 3 or higher within three years.

As the Gogri Hub for Membranes Research embarks on its journey, the collaborative spirit and visionary contributions of its stakeholders promise a bright future for the field of membrane research and its potential to positively impact the world. This hub is not just a space for research; it is a catalyst for change, offering a platform to tackle the most pressing challenges facing our world today. As a beacon of excellence and innovation, the Gogri Hub will pave the way for a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable planet.