Wednesday, January 30, 2008

XLRI & National Innovation Foundation sign MOU

From Financial Express

Jamshedpur, Jan 28

Premier B-School XLRI has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with National Innovation Foundation (NIF) for creation of a research advisory council (RAC).

This council would assess different innovations that NIF would be scouting from eastern states of Jharkhand, Bihar, some areas of West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and eastern UP. According to the MoU signed here on Sunday by NIF national coordinator (business development & micro venture) L Chinzah and XLRI director father E Abraham, the research advisory council (RAC) would comprise of professors of the B-school, industry experts and NIF members.

The innovations to be assessed would be sourced from NIF's 'national register' for grassroots innovations and those selected would be offered support by way of a nomination to the biennial national innovation award as well as by way of offering to bring refinement in the product, protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) associated with the product and by way of offering risk capital investment for setting up enterprises.

The risk capital investment for setting up an enterprise would be offered to the innovator by NIF's micro venture fund.

Also XLRI's student body social initiative group for managerial assistance (Sigma) would be involved in mentoring and monitoring the innovations/projects thus chosen for incubation. The students' body would also assist in market benchmarking the innovation and in developing business plans. Innovative ideas needing wider social diffusion among the local populace would be handled accordingly.

Also, XLRI's recently founded Father Arupe Centre for Excellence (FACE) would document the challenges faced and the strategies adopted in the development of the chosen innovations for the B-School's future educational purposes.

Established by the department of science & technology in February 2000, the National Innovation Foundation (NIF) aims at providing institutional support in scouting, spawning, sustaining and scaling up grassroots innovations and help them grow into self-supporting ventures. Its "Honey Bee" database of around 10,000 innovations collected and documented by SRISTI is part of the National Register of innovation managed and supported by NIF.

According to the NIF national coordinator (business development & micro venture), NIF was looking forward to support from XLRI's Sigma and FACE for "adding value to" the innovations it has come across in the eastern region in the past two-and-a half years of scouting work that it has done. "As NIF cannot do much on its own, following the networking philosophy, we are trying to build capacities here so that existing institutions like XLRI can be brought to the platform to add value to such innovations," said Mr Chinzah, adding that NIF hoped that the partnership would go a long way.

Speaking on the occasion, the XLRI director said that the student body (Sigma) and faculty supported initiative would be of much use to the B-School as "our students need to go out to the villages and see what the real world looks like", adding that even if a few of the 70,000 innovations on the NIF list materializes into something big it would actually be creating ample business. During the last 7 years of its existence, NIF so far has filed 150 patent claims in India and seven in the US, of which 30 and seven have so far been granted. NIF has also so far funded around 100 innovations since 2003.

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