Foundation for innovation and technology transfer (fitt): A case study on industry–academia interface in India

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Author: 
Mansimran Khokhar, Neha Batta, Radhika Trikha and Rupinder Tewari
Abstract: 

The Industry-Academia (I-A) research linkages are considered to be the backbone of technological innovations. In developed nations, there is a strong handshake of Research and Development (R&D) programmes of universities and industries and has led to the most impactful technological innovations of the world. However, in developing nations including India, I-A interactions have not been given due credit. In 2014, though India published over 100,000 research papers and was globally ranked 9th, it fared poorly in converting academic research into patents and transfer of technologies. It was not even ranked in the top 50 nations. The major drawback of transforming academic knowledge into commercial products is due to lack of requisite expertise/centres in the universities. However, a few Higher Education Institutes (HEI) having strong and effective I-A centres are at par with many universities of developed countries in terms of promoting entrepreneurship, start-ups, patents and technology transfers. To bring academia and industry closer to each other, India needs to set up these I-A centres in large numbers in the universities. In this paper, we present the results of a case study carried out on one of the successful I-A interface existing in India i.e. Foundation of Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) located in Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D), a premier Higher Education Institute of India. FITT runs myriad of programmes such as technology incubation facilitation centres, courses for knowledge augmentation, entrepreneurship, start ups, business management and corporate partnership of industrial sector. In the past two decades, FITT has promoted the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) prominence of IIT-D by filing more than 200 IPR applications. It has aided the licensing of ~40 technologies developed in the institute in the last 10 years. Close to 15 spin-offs have graduated and another 15 start-up companies are current residents at the incubation facility of FITT. This I-A interface has grown into a successful self-sustaining centre having plenty of financial reserves in the form of bank deposits and company shares (~ INR 356 million as of 2014-15 financial year). The establishment of centers like FITT in various universities across India will act as a catalyst for enhanced I-A activities, which will culminate into increased number of technologies/ products/ patents and thus contributing to technological advancements and strengthening of the economy of nation.

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