Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayana (Right) along with C-CAMP CEO & Director Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed (Left) and Israel Consul General for South India Dr Jonathan Zadka launch the Agriculture Grand Challenge organised by Karnataka Governmet's K-Tech Centre for Excellence for Agri Innovation and C-CAMP.
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Bengaluru, NFAPost: The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), India’s premier biosciences technology and innovation hub has announced the first nationwide call for Agriculture Grand Challenges under its K-Tech Centre for Excellence for Agri Innovation.

The programme which is supported by the Government of Karnataka was launched formally by Deputy Chief Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayana at the C-CAMP premise.

The launch event also saw formalising of Indo Israel Innovation Bridge, a C-CAMP collaboration with Consulate General of Israel to South India to drive deep science-driven entrepreneurship in Indian and Israel ecosystems with a Karnataka focus.

Besides unveiling of C-CAMP Covid-19 Innovations Compendium, the event also hosted the official hand-over of a C-CAMP supported indigenously developed Covid-19 vaccine cold chain technology to the State Government.

Agriculture and biotechnology

Speaking at the event, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayana said he congratulates C-CCAMP on the occasion of the launch of the Agriculture Grand Challenge, Indo Israel Innovation Bridge, COVID vaccine carrier technology as well as the unveiling of the C-CAMP COVID-19 innovation compendium.

“We need to take Agri-tech more seriously. Even though we are recognised as an agrarian economy, progress has largely stalled for want of a new revolution. To see better living standards, a better economy, and a better future for our country, we need to probe agriculture and biotechnology together. The C-CAMP Agriculture Grand Challenges is a road we must take for securing our future,” said Dr Ashwath Narayana

He also highlighted the importance of collaboration and integration as they are the way forward. “From Karnataka State Government, I promise to support and close collaboration from all departments such as education, health to see that technologies developed at C-CAMP are passed on to the people,” he said.

Innovation Bridge

C-CAMP CEO & Director Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed said in agriculture, identifying gaps on the ground, articulating, and creating focused problem statements are very crucial.

“The Centre of excellence in Agri-tech innovations supported by IT-BT department in collaboration with the Agriculture Department in Govt of Karnataka has identified over 100 problems from which we are launching this Grand Challenge for top three statements. The impact is not just for Karnataka but for entire India,” said Dr. Taslimarif Saiyed.

Israel Consul General for South India Dr Jonathan Zadka said Israel is very proud in establishing cooperation by building an “Innovation Bridge” between Israel and India, bringing closer together the startups ecosystems in Life Sciences and Agritech of both countries.

“The potential of this initiative is enormous, and it has already generated tangible cooperation between startups from Israel and India. By doing so we will be consolidating existing islands of excellence spread across the two nations to create a collaborative environment for cutting-edge research and development,” said Dr Jonathan Zadka.

He also said Israel looks forward for support from the Government of Karnataka to build this bridge of innovation. “This new initiative will further strengthen the links between Israel and India,” said Dr Jonathan Zadka.

About the Agri Grand Challenge Programme

The programme instituted by the K-Tech Centre of Excellence for Agri Innovation at C-CAMP aims to identify promising innovations to address major problem areas in Indian agriculture.

Three problem statements have been selected for the 2021 call by C-CAMP and the Core Committee of the Centre post a rigorous 6-month, Karnataka-wide Agri Immersion conducted for identification of key sectors/gaps in agriculture and their commercialization/innovation potential.

The 3 problem statements under 2021 Agri Grand Challenge are –
1) A quick, accurate and affordable PoC method for testing a) macro/micronutrient density in soil and/or plant tissue and b) soil microbial diversity
2) A technology to enhance the shelf life of produce and minimization of post-harvest losses through chemical/biological/IR methods
3) A technology for detection and treatment of white stem borer infestation in Coffee crop

C-CAMP will provide investment support to winning startups through funding of up to Rs 25 lakh per startup, Incubation, mentorship, and handholding support.

Through the Grand Challenge programme, C-CAMP will thus introduce economically viable, problem-focused, deep-science and deep-technology driven entrepreneurship in the agri-sector.

The programme in the next five years is envisaged to identify and support at least 8-10 path-breaking innovations with impact in agriculture at the national scale and facilitate their validation and deployment.

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms’s (C-CAMP) mandate is to enable cutting-edge life science research and innovation, and promote life science entrepreneurship. It is India’s premier innovation and technology hub as well as one of the largest and most thriving life sciences ecosystems in the country.

C-CAMP has directly funded, incubated, and mentored ~ 200 start-ups over the last few years and is connected to about 2000 startups and entrepreneurs across the country in healthcare, agritech and cleantech. C-CAMP is an initiative supported by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, NITI Aayog-AIM, DST-NSTEDB, MeiTY, and Department of IT, BT, S&T Government of Karnataka.

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