The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) recently received autonomy as well as a Rs 100-crore grant for infrastructure and innovation under the Rashtriya Ucchatar Shikshan Abhiyan (RUSA) scheme. Now, it is planning to set up a research and incubation park on the campus, similar to one at IIT-Madras, to help students and faculty develop innovative products and bring them into the market.
SPPU authorities plan to make the university a hub of innovation and startups. Senior university officials including Vice-Chancellor Dr Nitin Karmalkar visited Chennai to see the IIT-Madras park — which is India’s first university-driven research park and holds a stellar record of incubation in rural, social and industrial technologies — and have now started work on emulating the model.
Confirming the development, Karmalkar said a meeting was convened on Saturday with some of the most senior university officials, retired scientists and researchers as well as top industry leaders from Pune. “Since its inception, the incubation cell at IIT-Madras has helped set up 140 startups and investors have raised millions of dollars. We also want to create a model like that where our students and faculty can start developing their ideas into products and work closely with industry,” said Karmalkar.
Sources said the meeting was attended by several industry leaders including representatives of top executives from Praj Industries and Persistent Systems, among others, and experts like former director of IIT-Kanpur Dr Sanjay Dhande and representatives from CoEP’s Bhau Institute of Innovation.
The park will serve three main purposes — provide incubation facility and mentoring to faculty and students who have created a product and bring it into the market, to enable industries to collaborate with faculty for projects where industries may need to use university resources for research and development projects that can take place on campus, and thirdly for those faculty or students who might have an idea but need industry support to develop the product or conduct R&D.
“The university is planning to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV), not-for-profit under Section 8 of the Companies Act. This research park will be run by the SPV,” said a senior official.