The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has directed engineering colleges and other technical institutes in the country to draft a “conflict of interest” policy for start-ups established by faculty members to ensure their regular duties do not suffer.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s technical education regulator had recently come up with a policy for students’ start-ups in technical institutes. However, there is no policy defining the dos and don’ts for the faculty members involved in start-ups on campuses.
According to the policy for students’ start-ups, participation in start-up related activities by faculty members will be considered legitimate. This is in addition to teaching, research and development projects, industrial consultancy and management duties and must be considered while evaluating the annual performance of the faculty.
“For better coordination of the entrepreneurial activities, norms for faculty to run start-ups should be created by institutes. Only those technologies should be taken for faculty start-ups which originate from within the same institute,” a senior AICTE official told PTI.
“Institutes should work on developing a policy on ‘conflict of interest’ to ensure that the regular duties of a faculty member don’t suffer owing to his or her involvement in the start-up activities,” the official said.
According to the AICTE, the faculty members are allowed to set up their own start-ups even without the involvement of students, but they must distinguish the on-going research at the institute from the work done at the start-up.
“Role of faculty members may vary from being an owner, direct promoter, mentor, consultant or as on-board member of the start-up. Faculty start-up may consist of faculty members alone or students or faculty of other institutes or alumni or other entrepreneurs,” the official said.
“Faculty must clearly distinguish the on-going research at the institute from the work conducted at the start-up or company. In case of selection of a faculty start-up by an outside, national or international, accelerator, a maximum leave (either paid or unpaid) of one semester or even more, depending upon the decision of review committee constituted by the institute, may be permitted to the faculty,” he added.
The council has warned that the faculty must not accept gifts from the start-up and not involve research staff or other staff of institute in activities at the start-up. “Human subject related research in a start-up should get clearance from ethics committee of the institute,” the official said.
The start-up policy notified by the AICTE last month has been developed to facilitate the HRD Ministry’s efforts to bring uniformity across higher education institutes in terms of intellectual property ownership management, technology licensing and institutional start-up policy.