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AICTE, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IISc, IIT Hyderabad partner with Wadhwani Foundation to Boost Research Commercialization

The Wadhwani Foundation has signed MoUs with AICTE, IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad, IISc Bangalore, and C-CAMP to establish Wadhwani Innovation Network Centers of Excellence (WIN-COEs) to accelerate the commercialization of academic innovations.

This partnership aims to transform academic and laboratory research by Indian faculty, students, and researchers into real-world applications that can be sold, used, or implemented in various industries, thus creating long-term economic value, and benefiting society. Currently, less than 1% of higher education institutes in India are engaged in research. Their participation in India’s Gross Expenditure in Research and Experimental Development (GERD) is just 9%. Consequently, Indian universities lag in market-driven innovation output.

The WIN-COEs aim to accelerate home-grown research and discoveries to create an ecosystem that provides inclusive and equitable solutions from emerging technologies, like advanced AI, Synthetic Biology and Bioengineering, HealthTech, Semiconductors, Quantum Computing, SpaceTech, etc., while also fostering collaboration between industry, universities, research institutions, and the government. Aligned with the Anusandhan National Research Foundation’s (ANRF) vision of science-driven growth, the initiative will propel innovations that address pressing socio-economic issues. These solutions will be selected by a national jury of experts; the WIN-COEs will provide funding and a variety of in-kind support to make them commercially viable. 

Dr. Ajay Kela, President & CEO of the Wadhwani Foundation, underscored the transformative potential of innovation and research in addressing global challenges. He stated, “Emerging technologies like Advanced AI, Synthetic Biology, Quantum Computing, Semiconductors, Healthtech, and SpaceTech hold immense promise for inclusive and equitable solutions. Our previous collaboration with IIT Bombay funded approximately ~100 projects, ~10 of which were commercially successful. Establishing WIN COEs will amplify such solutions and catalyze their application in real-world scenarios – setting India on a trajectory of scientific economic progress.”

In addition to the COEs that will be established by the four IITs, IISc Bangalore, and C-CAMP, the initiative also collaborates with AICTE’s  13 Indovation Centers, alongside over 100 next-tier academic institutes nationwide. Each WIN-COE (World Innovation Network Center of Excellence) will receive significant annual funding of up to US$1 million, underscoring the foundation’s commitment to fostering innovation. An additional joint investment with AICTE of $10M annually will support the research and translation activities of the next 100+ Institutes in the country.  . Each WIN-COE will support 25 interdisciplinary projects annually, while the 13 AICTE Indovation Centers will collectively support over 1000 projects from the associated institutes each year.

Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Science & Technology, said, “I am delighted that Wadhwani Foundation is setting up WIN-CoEs at premier institutes.  Through ANRF, we are committed to driving innovation across sectors and welcome such initiatives. These initiatives will engage India’s youth and advance scientific, evidence-based solutions to address the most pressing environmental and social concerns that our country faces today and are aligned with the objectives of ANRF.”

Focus Areas:

  1. C-Camp: Bioengineering and Biotechnology
  2. IIT Delhi: HealthTech and Bioengineering
  3. IIT Kanpur: Synthetic Biology and Biotechnology (Therapeutics) and AI
  4. IISc Bangalore: Quantum Computing
  5. IIT Bombay: AI, HealthTech and Biotechnology (Therapeutics)
  6. IIT Hyderabad: HealthTech, Advanced Computing and AI

Prof. TG Sitharam, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), said, “India, today is poised to lead global development. It is crucial that we instill a mindset of innovation and leadership in our youth. This collaboration advances innovation and entrepreneurship in top institutions, empowering young minds to lead the nation with groundbreaking ideas and a visionary spirit.”

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