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Our Incubation Centre Creating Market-Ready Products to Combat Covid: Director, IIT (BHU)
Professor Pramod Kumar Jain, Director IIT (BHU), Varanasi is helping Start Ups create market-ready products to combat Covid 19. It has also created a database of 450+ entrepreneurs from IIT (BHU) Varanasi alma mater to guide the Start-Ups in technical and business solutions, Jain tells Ashish Sinha of BW Businessworld. Excerpts:
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Nurturing start-ups is vital to boost the economy. How is IIT (BHU) Varanasi start-up ecosystem responding to current context?
IITs have always been at the forefront of fostering innovation in India. However, with the shifting landscape of economic outputs post-Covid 19, the need to accelerate the culture of innovation in the country has become a collective priority. This culture is now exemplified in our start-ups. IIT (BHU) Varanasi Incubation Centre intervened to support start-ups by alleviating the pressure caused by constrained cash-flow, but also involved in long-term measures to ensure rapid recovery and growth. These interventions lead to creating market-ready products to combat Covid 19. Some of them include UV-C Sterilizer Cabinet, UV-C Vehicle Sterilizer and UV Germicidal irradiation system, automated hand and full body sanitizer system, automated Sanitization Gate, and automated sanitization tunnel, low-cost PPE Kits including masks, face shield, gowns, headcovers, shoe covers, eye protection; Cordycep Tea, Ayurvedic Ark to boost Immunity and Moringa Products like tea, capsules which provide essential nutrients like Vitamins, Proteins, Calcium, Iron, Amino acids, antioxidants. IIT (BHU) Varanasi also created a database of 450+ entrepreneurs from IIT (BHU) Varanasi alma mater. We are formulating a mentor pool which will guide the start-ups in technical and business solutions for a successful venture.
How are India’s premier engineering institutes particularly IITs are getting ready for creating an enabling innovation ecosystem? What kind of challenges do you see?
IITs are creating collaborative work culture between academia and industry. Research scholars and Industry leaders are closely working to develop sustainable solutions. At IIT (BHU) Varanasi we have a dedicated program to help students right from the 1st year, to unleash their entrepreneurship potential. Even during Covid disruption, we organized much industry- academia interactions through webinar series where students are motivated by exposure to entrepreneurial journeys. We have also created business plan competitions (Collaboration with Techstar, Google start-up weekend, Hultz Prize competition) to provide students with a vision to develop market-centric innovation. These programs have motivated students to come up with the ideas and to get their B plan validated.
IITs have been very visible when it comes to encouraging cutting-edge research by faculty and students. Tell us more?
IIT (BHU) Varanasi has a very strong research community network engaged in developing cutting edge products and solutions. IIT (BHU) Varanasi is known for research work on Novel materials (metal, ceramic, and polymer) development and processing. Novel techniques for the processing of composites and alloys, large-area organic electronics, high strength alloys AI-based sensors and biosensors, 3-D printing and additive manufacturing for automobile, energy and biomedical sectors, Scaffolds for bio applications are the major activities in the recent years. Some of IIT (BHU) Varanasi major research and innovations are in Materials research, Electronics, and Computer Science and Engineering. These cutting-edge researches are funded through various sponsored research projects as well as various schemes like from Malviya Chair for Railway Technology under RDSO, Advanced Research Centre for Iron & Steel under Ministry of Steels, Centre for Energy and Resources Development under FAST scheme of Education Ministry, Defence Corridor under UP Government and FIST Programs of the DST .