“Industries must invest in research to be able to compete in this age of rapid industrial transitions” – Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan


Palaj: The second edition of Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar’s Industry Conclave- “Connections 2019: Creating Opportunity to Stimulate Industry-Academia Partnerships” was held today. The event saw participation from more than 50 industries from a wide range of sectors like Auto, Chemical, Construction, IT & Data Science, Materials, Pharma, Engineering, and so on. Some of the leading companies that were part of this conclave are Zydus, Tata Motors, Tata Chemicals, HILTI, Honeywell, Aditya Birla, Forbes Marshall, Optimized Solutions, ITC, among others.

Giving an overview of IITGN culture and ethos to the industry participants in his inaugural speech, Prof Sudhir K Jain, Director, IITGN said that IITGN’s mission for the last eleven years has been to set the tone for the future. The entire process of building this institution has been driven by building a long term culture.

Highlighting the core values that define IITGN, Prof Jain said, “We have designed ourselves around three key ideas, i.e. 1) “Students First”. Our entire mission is student-oriented. We invest our time, energy and resources on the students; 2) “Research for Impact”. How the society, industry, and economy benefit from research is extremely important to us. We want to produce research that will make a positive impact on society, economy or industry; and 3) “Societal Conscience”. We are fully conscious that we are supported by public money and that we must be extremely sensitive to societal problems. We would like our students to graduate with a social sense of responsibility so that they can multiply this wherever they go in the future.”

Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan (co-founder Infosys), Chairman of the Advisory Council of the Research Park and the IIT Gandhinagar Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (IIEC), chaired the conclave. In his keynote speech, Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan drew the attention of the participants towards inevitable transitions and ways to keep up with these changes and said, “We are living in a period of very rapid transitions and sometimes abrupt transitions. The ideal way to deal with these is to invest in research and build our own capacities. Continuous reinvention has to be part of the DNA of every industry, company and business.”

He also advised the participants to continuously evaluate the matrix of their products and the revenue generated from it in the last three to five years, set targets, and then look beyond for a long term impact. Putting more emphasis on the R&D activities, he proposed that there are two ways to work- 1) To work with the academic institutions for the reason that there is the diversity of young minds and no preconceived notions, who can come up with very innovative ideas. We must tap that. 2) To work with the start-ups, because they also work differently, they don’t have the baggage of existing customers, legacy products, and most importantly that they work on the venture money. IITGN Research Park provides a wonderful mechanism to work together with the academic and research organisation, and a very good ecosystem for start-ups.”

“Today the world economy is about 80 trillion dollars as against 11 trillion dollars in 1980. A lot of value has been created by companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft that grew out of universities. Growth in future will be created by Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Biology, Genomics, and so on. The industries must take advantage of these to introduce new products. And this is why companies need to have very close collaboration with the academic and research communities outside their organisation. At the IITGN Research Park you get the freedom and ability to leverage the ecosystem to your advantage”, he concluded.

The event, designed to enable and promote enhanced communication between industry leaders, the IITGN faculty and students to establish long term collaboration and partnerships, had many highly interactive sessions and activities to provide the industry leaders an overview of the IITGN infrastructure and collaboration opportunities for industry-academia at IIT Gandhinagar Research Park.

During the day, some of the companies and start-ups shared their experiences on what IITGN offers to the industry. An open discussion and one-to-one interaction session between IITGN faculty, industry representatives and partners invited various perspectives on R&D focus areas of different industries as well as industry’s expectations from IITGN.

IITGN faculty and students shared some of the cutting-edge technology capabilities of the Institute through project presentations and product demonstrations. A few alumni of Invent@IITGN shared their experiences of being part of this unique program in inventing that enabled them to invent a useful product and file for its patent in mere six-weeks’ time. Industry participants were also taken for the visits of state-of-the-art laboratories, library, and the Research Park site.

A parallel session for entrepreneurs and start-ups had an Open House with Mr Digvijay Singh, COO, Indian Angel Network (IAN), followed by pitching sessions, product demonstrations and networking among different stakeholders, and lectures by Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan and Mr Vijay Kumar Ivaturi, on ‘Building scalable technology Startups’, and ‘Pitfalls to avoid while looking for investments’, respectively.