University innovation cluster launched, Industry pledges support

The program launched on January 22, is aimed at catalyzing and facilitating the student entrepreneurs in Indian universities to nurture their ideas and help expand the industry. Skill generation and employment are key objectives


Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) has developed a focused strategic action plan to foster the culture of innovation and techno-entrepreneurship in Indian Universities, leveraging the University Innovation Cluster (UIC) and Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC) model recommended by the National Innovation Council (NInC).

Post consultations with prominent institutions in the biotech sector, the University Innovation Cluster initiative has been launched by BIRAC as a support program for Universities to proactively create vibrant ecosystems that can seed, foster and nurture innovation. Under the initiative, a Cluster Innovation Centre in Biotechnology (CIC-B), hosted in the University, will be the nerve center to manage the UIC activities.

Dr K VijayRaghavan, secretary, DBT, Government of India mentioned that the cluster will have the environment where the students are not scared to share their ideas. The encouragement to all the persons, yet we don't want to give False hope. We have selected the best ideas with great potential. It is anyways open to all. Scaling up from current five universities is a challenge and if we succeed, we can have great opportunity areas.

Along with facilitating the creation of networks, partnerships between stakeholders to strengthen the innovation ecosystem, the CIC-B is envisaged to provide pre-incubation support to innovative ideas, innovators for effective translation into products thereof. Such support will include technical trainings, IP management, technology business management, access to risk finance among others. All programs currently operated by BIRAC will be accessible through the UIC initiative and participant Universities will be encouraged to creatively leverage existing programs for maximum gain.

The program would also aim at leveraging existing resources from complementary private and public support programs, institutions. An open invitation was sent out to Universities to show interest in participating in this initiative. Judging by the potential for success and enthusiasm to take the initiative forward, the following five Universities have been selected to participate in Phase-I of this initiative.
As per Dr Renu Swarup, senior advisor, DBT and managing director, BIRAC, "The incubation experience of BIRAC is being utilized now to encourage student entrepreneurs. Students have lot of ideas and there is a requirement of stimulating their imagination. They must have an aptitude for research and development to the critical stage. For this program, we have chosen the ideas that have best potential.

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