IIT Industry Conclave 2020

IITACB’s first ever IIT Industry Conclave 2020

February 13, 2020

IIT Alumni Centre Bengaluru (IITACB) held its first two-day IIT Industry Conclave 2020 in Bangalore on February 7 and 8, 2020. This event witnessed active participation by leaders in the Biotechnology, Aerospace, ICT and Manufacturing sectors. The discussions revolved around the theme “How IITs and Industry can accelerate collaborations together to make significant difference to our national economy so that we can achieve a GDP of $5 trillion by 2025.”

Dr V.K.Saraswat, Member of Niti Ayog, former Director-General DRDO and former Secretary to Dept. of Defence R&D along with Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder and Chairman EkStep inaugurated the IIT Industry Conclave 2020 with plenary lectures on the theme. Dr Saraswat spoke on Industry 4.0 and emphasised on student-centric learning by encouraging design thinking and practical approaches to learning.

Mr. Nandan Nilekani spoke on ‘The Democratisation of India’s Digital Economy’ focussing on three big ideas – Identity, Payments and Data Empowerment and how this was possible by the close collaboration of the Government, Industry and IITians.

Prof. Ashok Misra, President IITACB and former Director of IIT Bombay said, “IITACB aims to be the facilitator for enhancing interactions between the Industry and the IITs for mutual benefit and for the making our industry globally competitive through Creativity and Innovation. The Conclave will provide valuable Academia – Industry dialogue leading to several mega projects that will benefit our nation.”

IIT directors and professors at the IIT Industry Conclave 2020

Day 2 started off with #DirectorSpeak, a panel discussion with IIT Directors – Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, Director IIT Delhi, Prof. T.G. Sitharam, Director IIT Guwahati, Prof. Sudhir Jain, Director IIT Gandhinagar, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director IIT Kanpur and Prof. Timothy A. Gonsalves, Director IIT Mandi. This session was moderated by Prof. Rishikesha Krishnan, Former Director IIM Indore and saw active participation from the audience. The takeaway from this session was that for the long-term technological development of the country, it is imperative that the government, industry, research labs and the entire ecosystem leverage the intellectual capital and expertise of Institutions like the IITs.

The Biotechnology panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Ajay Bharadwaj, CEO and Founder Anthem Biosciences Pvt. Ltd. And the panel constituted of Prof. Satyajit Mayor, Director, National Centre of Biological Sciences (NCBS), Dr. Syed Kazmi, President and CEO, Jubilant Therapeutics Inc., Prof. P. Balaram, Former Director IISc, Dr. Suresh Madhavan, Founder, PointCross and Dr. Vijay Chandru, Founder, Strand Life Sciences. Four key points that came out of the discussion were; 1. Resources – India needed more number of researchers, patient capital and CSR for funding incubators; 2. What to do – focus on tropical diseases and Agritech; 3. Computational aspect of Biology – using AI for virtual screening and drug discovery; 4. Data – collect Indian patient’s genome and focus on mutation-specific to the Indian population and archiving of data.

The session on Information & Communications Technology (ICT) saw participation by Prof. N. Balakrishnan, IISc, Prof. Uday Desai, Founding Director, IIT Hyderabad, Prof. V. K. Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur, Mr. N. Krishnakumar, Former Chairman, Mindtree and NASSCOM and Mr. Arnob Roy, COO, Tejas Networks. The panel was moderated by Mr. Samir Kumar, MD, Inventus India. The panel identified 2 areas for the way forward; 1. For AI to solve specific problems in the Indian context with a high social impact and 2. How to indigenise 5G technology and manage all the security aspects of the infrastructure.

The session on Aerospace was moderated by Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, Former Chairman, ISRO and the panel consisted of Prof. Sanjay Mittal, IIT Kanpur, Mr. Ajit Prabhu, Founder and Chairman, Quest Global, Dr. Bala Bharadvaj, Managing Director, Boeing India Engg. & Tech. Centre and Dr. Kota Harinarayana is known as the Father of the Light Combat Aircraft. The key takeaways from this session were; 1. How IITs, Government and industry can work together on the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, Unmanned Combat Aircraft Vehicle and Regional Transport Aircraft; 2. Improving the curriculum at IITs with a multi-disciplinary approach to Aerospace; 3. ISRO, DRDO etc to provide paid internships to students to nurture their interests with an aim to contribute to the major programs of the country; 4. Establish Centre Of Excellence as a consortium on the lines of the Centre for Propulsion Technology launched by DRDO.

IIT Industry Conclave 2020

The final panel discussion was on Manufacturing and the panel consisted of Mr. Bhaskar Bhat, Former CEO, Titan Industries, Prof. PVM Rao, IIT Delhi, Prof. Surjya Kant Pal, IIT Kharagpur, Prof. Sarit Kumar Das, Director, IIT Ropar and Mr. BVR Subbu, Former President, Hyundai Motor India. This session was moderated by Mr. S. Muralidharan, President, Lucas Indian Services. The main takeaway was that manufacturing should not be looked as the back endbut rather the backbone of the nation. Some other key points were; 1. Creating a circle of excellence for innovation in infrastructure; 2. IITs coming together to tackle the challenges of Industry 4.0 in a multi-disciplinary approach; 3. Upgradation of IIT curriculum as well as IITs supporting the ITIs in upgrading their curriculum; 4. Heightened IIT-Industry association through Faculty “Externment” with industry.

The IITACB Industry Conclave 2020 was wrapped up with a closing talk by Mr. Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Axilor Ventures and gave the audience a thought to ponder about – To incorporate the best practices into the NIRF rankings.

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