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Bengaluru: The session on R&D Labs to Market – Opportunities on the second day of Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020 saw panellists discussing why market orientation is the single most important reason for increasing R&D effectiveness. The panel also cautioned that aligning R&D activities completely with existing customer demands may have negative effects on the role R&D has to fulfill on a corporate level.

There is rising concern about sustained long-term innovativeness when R&D is focused early on customer demands. R&D labs do not bring new innovations to market typically because they are focusing on inventing new technology, but not the commercialization of those inventions. However, innovation requires bringing inventions to market.

Speaking at the panel discussion Government of India Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Secretary Renu Swarup said that when it comes to research and making products to market bringing on board all stakeholders is the biggest challenge.

Startup to academia

“From startups to academia to industry to creating market demand needs to be a seamless transition. If the innovation is in the pharmaceutical industry, then the clinical practitioner becomes a vital cog in the success of a particular product and similarly farmers become the key element when it comes to innovations in the agricultural sector,” said Renu Swarup

According to her, to build confidence in a product, the industry needs to become co-developer of an idea or a product and be on board from day one.

She is of the opinion that there should be a bridge between ‘Startup India’ and ‘Make in India’ for scaling up a product from an idea to a prototype to final product. Also, it is important for the manufactures to know what data the regulator is looking for and data should be acceptable locally as well as globally.   

DSIR Secretary and Council of Scientific & Industrial Research Director-General Dr. Shekhar C. Mande said, quoting Dr R A Mashelkar, that India needs to come up with an ASSURED Innovation Framework, which is affordable, scalable, sustainable, universal, rapid, excellent and distinctive.

Funded project

“India should use a suitably `quantified’ framework for assessing, funding and monitoring everything from start-ups to government funded projects, and even in-house institutional or industry projects,” said Shekhar C. Mande.

He said that researchers and innovators should keep in mind the global picture while trying to solve a problem. A product which may be successful locally can fail globally.

According to him Innovation if it is not universal then no point in scaling up. When it comes to collaboration between industry and academia, he said that COVID 19 pandemic has shown us that if all stakeholders can come together and bring out solutions to a problem much faster.

Government of India Department of Science and Technology (DST) Secretary Prof. Ashutosh Sharma said that the Department of Science and Technology (DST)’ SATHI (Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institute) has been set up to shared, professionally managed, Science and Technology infrastructure facility, which can be readily be accessible to academia, start-ups, manufacturing units, industries and R&D Labs.

Analytical instrument

“These Centres are equipped with major analytical instruments and advanced manufacturing facilities, which is usually not available at Institutions. DST aims to provide professionally managed services with efficiency, accessibility, and transparency of highest order under one roof to service the demands of industry, startups, and academia,” said Prof Sharma.

According to Prof. Sharma majority of startups are failing because their ideas generally for solving local problems and it will not be applicable in a global scenario. Not anticipating market challenge, production scale up challenge and cultural challenge is another factor for failure of Indian startups. Industry should understand how knowledge can benefit them and respect the value of knowledge.

He also said that researchers should anticipate problems for the future and come up with future ready solutions. According to him research on ethical and responsible development for the future is the need of the hour.

Pari Natarajan, CEO at Zinnov LLC, moderated the session which saw lively discussion on the importance of collaboration of all stakeholders to come forward and think globally for making the country a technology and innovation hub.

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