Insights from the Industry Institute Conclave: “Know How to Show How”

On 4 May 2024, the Industry-Institute Conclave was organised by IPTeL, BeST, FSID and I-HIPP.

It was an excellent gathering of industry leaders, entrepreneurs & start-ups, industry associations, faculty & national Labs, researchers, government officials and policy makers, technology transfer & IP professionals, and students. The gathering sparked insightful discussions and fostered purposeful networking. The day started with an inaugural address by GK Ananthasuresh, Professor in Mechanical Engineering & Dean of the Division of Mechanical Sciences, IISc. He set the tone for the conclave, tying various themes and provided the context for the sessions. He emphasised the importance of bridging academia and industry, highlighting the role of technology readiness levels (TRL) in translating inventions to the market, and discussed the triple helix model of innovation, urging key stakeholders from the government, academia, and industry to remain tightly knit to strengthen the innovation process.

The keynote address by Rishikesha Krishnan, Director of IIM Bangalore, offered valuable insights into the role of industry-academia collaboration in driving Indian technology leadership. He shared examples from various fields where individuals driven by passion and commitment have introduced new technology products in India.

The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion on “Technology Transfer from Lab to Market: Success Stories & Unsuccessful Endeavours.” The panelists for this session included Aditi Vaish (Honeywell), Anshuman Awasthi (Mercedes-Benz R&D India), Gautham Nadig (Mynvax), Smriti Sakhamuri (Hind High Vacuum) and Vishal Choudhary (Office of PSA), with B Gurumoorthy (FSID, IISc) moderating the discussions. The panel discussion covered various aspects of technology transfer, including the importance of successful adoption of pilot technologies, identifying industry partners, selecting the right projects, challenges related to indemnity and liability, and ensuring the quality of patents meets global standards

Another panel discussion focused on “Technology Transfer & Research agreements: Roadblocks and Possible Resolutions,” featuring panelists Anandi Iyer (Fraunhofer Gesellschaft), Bimalendu Sahu (IIT Madras), C Vishnu (Honeywell), Harish Chandran (Novonesis), Pankaj Soni (Remfry & Sagar), and SK Murthy (Intel), moderated by Brinda Varma (Aekam Legal). The panel touched upon key points related to technology transfer and research agreements, such as IP ownership, industry-driven demand research, trust between industry and academia, and the need for flexible policies to encourage dialogue between the two sectors.

In the faculty entrepreneurship talk, Siva Umapathy (Professor, Inorganic & Physical Chemistry), Uday Reddy (Professor, Computer Science & Automation) and Abhishek Singh (Professor, Materials Research Center) shared their entrepreneurship journey on Gyroid photonics, PolyMage Labs, and SciDentAI, respectively.

The conclave also featured two workshops. One was facilitated by Magesh Nandagopal from CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory focusing on “Navigating Technology Transfer Processes: Strategies for Success”. The second was led by Ravi Kumar from Versuni and Senthil Kumar from Hitachi Energy, delving into “Patent Drafting: Safeguarding the Complete Value Chain of an Invention”. These sessions offered invaluable insights and practical skills in technology transfer and the meticulous drafting of high-quality patents.

Throughout the day, participants immersed themselves in the IP showcase, where they learnt about latest innovations and technologies developed by IISc faculty members, providing a tantalising preview of what the future of technology holds.

The conclave concluded with closing remarks from Suryasarathi Bose, Professor in Materials Engineering, IISc. He thanked all attendees for their invaluable contributions, ranging from the enlightening keynote address to the enriching workshops.