IIT Madras to organize its First Industry-Academia Conclave for Social Impact in Mumbai

Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras is going to conduct its first ‘Industry Academia Collaboration for Social Impact’ in Mumbai on 10th December 2018. The objective is to showcase the Institutes’ cutting-edge translational research capabilities that are benefitting the society in a big way and to partner with the industry to further R&D and create solutions for some of the country’s pressing issues.

IIT Madras is looking at corporate involvement to fund translational research and innovation through incubation that benefits society and the country’s economy.

Several industrialists will be taking part in the event. Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra and Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Madras, will speak about ‘Industry Academia Partnership.’ Mr. Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC, Mr. Satish Pai, Managing Director, Hindalco Industries and Mr. T.T. Jagannathan, Chairman, TTK Group, will be addressing the ‘Industry-Academia Collaboration for Social Impact.’

Speaking about the importance of this event, Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (International and Alumni Relations), IIT Madras, said, “IIT Madras has consistently been the top ranked engineering university in India for three years now. What is not widely known about it is its work in the social impact sector. The objective of this Conclave is to start that dialogue with the business community in Mumbai.”

The event is being held in Mumbai as many of the country’s corporates are headquartered in the city.

The corporate sector, through CSR funding, can collaborate with IIT Madras, which conducts research across the spectrum, ranging from developing technologies for clean drinking water, waste management, off grid solar power to energise the villages, develop healthcare devices, research energy storage devices among many others.

India is the first country in the world to make it mandatory for corporates to fund social causes. Following a change in company law in April 2014, businesses that meet a certain threshold in annual revenues must contribute 2 per cent of their net profit towards social causes. They can invest this money in education, poverty alleviation, gender equality and addressing hunger, among other areas.

IIT Madras Professors and Researchers will explain the projects undertaken to solve some of the most pressing problem facing the country in water, health and sanitation.

Prof Ligy Philip, Dean (Planning), will speak about the IIT Madras project on ‘Integrated Waste Management’ underway in Vichur, a village located near Chennai. Prof Mohanasankar Sivaprakasam, Director, Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre, will speak about the ‘Impact of healthcare technology research on society.’ Prof Sujatha Srinivasan, Head of R2 D2 Laboratory, IIT Madras, will speak about ‘Addressing disability through Assistive Devices.’

With IIT Madras having one of the top ecosystems in the country for encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship, Dr. Tamaswati Ghosh, CEO, IITM Incubation Cell, will walk the corporate sector through the ‘Deep tech incubation at IITM.’ Prof B. Ravindran, Robert Bosch Center for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, IIT Madras, will highlight the ‘Impact of Data Sciences Research on Social Problems.’

The Corporate Sector can collaborate with IIT Madras in five major ways:

1. IIT Madras Start-up incubators: The IITM Incubation Cell has received over Rs. 4 crore from various corporate houses

2. Socially Relevant projects: IITM faculty has been working on projects that benefit the society. They span seven sectors including Agriculture and Farm Tech, Water technology, Education and Entrepreneurship, Energy, Health, Environment, and Heritage. A brief description of these projects, along with budgets and timelines, can be seen by clicking http://alumni.iitm.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Socially-Relevant-Project.pdf

3. R&D Programs: IITM works with Industry to design a programme of R& D that fulfils CSR.

4. Scholarship Endowments: Many students from economically weaker sections require scholarship.

5. Corpus: The fifth way is to contribute to the IITM Corpus

Promoting education is listed as an item in Schedule VII which is a list of approved CSR activities of the Company Act 2013. A Company can create endowments and contribute to corpus as long as it is giving to a not-for-profit entity whose main purpose falls under Schedule VII activities.

Another attraction for Industry to work with IITM is that CSR spending at IIT Madras is exempt 100% under section 80 G 2 A (iiif). There are also tax exemptions of 150%available for research projects; several industries have already taken advantage of this along with meeting their CSR obligations.