Wadhwani Foundation is making efforts to change the mindset around innovation – which should be moving forward from first in India- best in India, to first in the world – best in the world. Its innovation drive is led by creating Centers of Innovation, and promoting innovation in small and medium scale industries to accelerate economic development.
Centers of Innovation
The Foundation is creating role model programs in partnership with existing research institutions, government and industry, and accelerating them to world-class standards through ground-breaking research on current local and global challenges. It has set up two research centers in India:
• Shanta Wadhwani Center for Cardiac and Neural Research (SWCCNR)
• The Wadhwani Research Centre for Bioengineering (WRCB)
Innovation through Public-Private Partnerships
The Foundation has assessed the performance of two of India’s most comprehensive and largest programs initiated by the Department of Biotechnology and administered by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) - SBIRI and BIPP.
The assessment has led to evidence based recommendations for policy makers to improving impact measurement and scale up of innovation programmes in small and medium scale industries.
Established in January 2012 at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (InStem), associated with NCBS (Bangalore) and supported by a single philanthropic grant by Wadhwani Foundation over a period of five years, SWCCNR addresses major problems in cardiac biology and neurodevelopmental biology. Its broad goal is to support research aimed at understanding the role of stem cells in neuroscience and cardiomyopathies. The international collaborative effort between inStem, NCBS, and labs at Stanford and Japan on cardiomyopathies and labs at the University of Edinburgh on neural stem cells have been made possible by the generous support provided by the SWCCNR.
SWCCNR funds the movement of researchers across countries, the purchase of instruments, and other requirements not covered by conventional grants so as to supplement the existing infrastructure and increase productivity. The active engagement of world-class faculty underscores the collaborative nature of the program and its commitment to excellence.
Formerly known as Wadhwani Research Centre for Biosciences and Bioengineering (WRCBB), it was established within the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering at IIT Bombay with the aid of Wadhwani Foundation whose Chairman and Founder, Dr Romesh Wadhwani has pledged to donate to his alma mater aiming to establish a new standard for research and development in India. WRCB strives to partner leading Bioengineering R&D institutions in areas of high impact.
The mission of WRCB is to conduct research and development in selected thrust areas of Bioengineering. WRCB will leverage Bioengineering research at IIT Bombay and additionally leverage the inter department capabilities of IIT Bombay in support of this mission. It will endeavor to partner with other leading research institutions to conduct research and development in Bioengineering in areas of high impact, specifically
b) Low-cost devices and drug delivery
WRCB intends to have top-class faculty conduct cutting edge research using latest in emerging technologies with the sole purpose of changing lives for the better all over the world.
WRCB in addition to its core and associate faculty will have an advisory board comprising of the Centre Director, senior IIT Bombay faculty, world class scientists and industry experts. The WRCB aims to leverage a new kind of public-private partnership and attract the best faculty and students from across the world.
Small Business Innovation Research (SBIRI) and Biotechnology Industrial Partnership Programmes (BIPP)
In this study Policy Research Centre has assessed the performance of two of India’s most comprehensive and largest programmes initiated by the Department of Biotechnology and administered by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) – SBIRI and BIPP.
Both SBIRI and BIPP are modeled on the hugely successful and globally replicated Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) in the U.S. The primary purpose of this study was to produce a set of evidence based recommendations to help policy makers improve impact measurement and scale up the programmes in terms of quality of the firms and the research projects being funded, commercialization of the research, satisfaction of the beneficiaries with the program and the program’s contribution to the firms’ growth.
Based on online surveys of 80 firms, the study concluded that there is ample evidence that SBIRI/BIPP Programs are highly competitive with rigorous reviews, and are stimulating R&D as well as commercialization efforts that would not otherwise have taken place. Further, the benefits associated with the programme are substantial with a public-private investment of USD 219 million assisting growth of firms and beneficiaries experiencing enhanced brand equity, goodwill, R&D activity, increased sales, investments and profits. The study strongly recommends further improvements in these programmes and their replication by other government departments to stimulate scientific and technological advances.
At the same time, the study finds structural constraints that are inhibiting growth of PPP in innovation – inadequate funding, little support for commercialization of technology, bureaucratic delays and inadequate technical assistance. To stimulate innovation, Wadhwani Foundation recommends addressing four major challenges:
• Mismatch between objectives of public and private sectors
• Cross-cultural divide that exists in public and private systems
• Mismatch in speed of action especially in terms of money flow from the government
• Partnership not looked upon as a committed investment by both parties with mutual values
Policy Research Centre expects that the findings of the study stimulate alignment of the SBIRI/BIPP with international best practices and lead to upscaling of the SBIRI/BIPP programmes.