31 Jan 2018 17:49 IST

IIT Madras hosts Deshpande-Gopalakrishnan Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The symposium was organised by the Gopalakrishnan Deshpande Centre

In an endeavour to link academia to the market place and create a process where more faculty and students go through the entrepreneurship route, the first Deshpande-Gopalakrishnan Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship was held at Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) between January 28 and 30.

The symposium was organised by the Gopalakrishnan Deshpande Centre (GDC) for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at IIT Madras, with the support of IIT Bombay and the Deshpande Foundation.

Addressing the inaugural function, Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, Chairman of the Deshpande Foundation, co-sponsor of GDC and an IIT Madras Alumnus, said, “As a country, India spends over ₹1 trillion per year on research and development. It is critical for the innovation ecosystem to be able to translate a good part of this R&D spend into scalable products and services that positively impact society. One of the principal objectives of GDC would be to develop and implement initiatives working with leading technology institutions nationwide that transforms and scales research from the academic labs into successful businesses that positively impact society.”

The symposium attracted like-minded practitioners, administrators, and academicians focused on promoting innovation and entrepreneurship across the academic environment besides early stage entrepreneurs and students looking to start their own ventures.

Speaking on the occasion, “Kris” Gopalakrishnan, co-sponsor of GDC and former CEO of Infosys who is also an IIT Madras alumnus, said, “GDC will also support special projects that can potentially create a transformative and positive impact on society. Such projects can be at the ideation stage or they could be running ventures that need some business reconfiguration to grow to full potential.”

Panel discussions

The three-day symposium featured four keynote talks and five topical panel discussions in an interactive forum, which were participated by eminent personalities from the academic and the industry including Gopichand Katragadda, Group CTO, TATA Sons Ltd; K Subramanian, Executive Director - R&D, Powergear Ltd; and S Krishnan, IAS, Principal Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, among others.

The topics for the panel discussion were:

1. Building an entrepreneurial ecosystem: challenges and solutions

2. Entrepreneurial curriculum models

3. PPP to drive innovation and entrepreneurship

4. Funding innovation across the spectrum – what do funders expect?

5. Innovation in research methods – how to cultivate I&E thinking and creativity in research scholars and faculty?

Signed MoU

At the beginning of the symposium, an MoU was signed between IIT Madras and the University of New Brunswick (UNB), Canada. The MoU covers exchange of students and faculty for research collaboration and education purposes. Post-doctoral Fellows are also included in the scope, and will be prioritised.