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Coronavirus: Govt of India’s DST sets up rapid response centre to combat pandemic

Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) will focus on leveraging the youthful energy, intelligence and extraordinary innovative potential of technology incubators and startups and empower them for scale-up to speedily address the multi-dimensional challenges of COVID-19.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 3, 2020 5:52:25 pm
The support will be provided to startups at different stages for fast-tracking commercialisation process and journey and scale-up across geographies, which will have significant impact in the long term. (AP Photo)

In a rapid response to combat COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of India’s Department of Science & Technology approved setting up of a Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) at a total cost of Rs. 56 crore to scout, evaluate and support the innovations and start-ups that address COVID-19 challenges.

The Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), a technology business incubator at IIT Bombay supported by DST, has been identified as the implementing agency of the CAWACH.

“CAWACH program of DST is focused on leveraging the youthful energy, intelligence and extraordinary innovative potential of our technology incubators and startups and empowering them for scale-up to speedily address the multi-dimensional challenges of COVID-19 across respiratory aids, disinfection systems, protective gear and coatings, information and monitoring assists, diagnostics, and plethora of other relevant materials, devices and solutions,” said Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

DST’s effort is to support R&D initiatives in this direction by boosting innovations offering comprehensive solutions like Ventilators, Diagnostics, Therapeutics, Informatics and other intervention for control and mitigation of COVID-19, said Sharma.

The support will be provided to startups at different stages for fast-tracking commercialisation process and journey and scale-up across geographies, which will have significant impact in the long term.

The CAWACH’s mandate will be to extend timely support to potential startups by way of the requisite financial assistance and fund deployment targeting innovations that are deployable in the market within the next six months.

CAWACH will identify up to 50 innovations and startups that are in the area of novel, low-cost, safe and effective ventilators, respiratory aids, protective gears, novel solutions for sanitisers, disinfectants, diagnostics, therapeutics, informatics and any effective interventions to control COVID-19.

“It will provide access to pan India networks for testing, trial and market deployment of these products and solutions in the identified areas of priority COVID-19 solutions. This will help to address various challenges faced by country due to severe impact of Covid-19,” said an official.

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