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India Inc?s first 40 technopreneurs

Kerala-based D Ramaiah is among 40 scientists that CSIR handpicked to be technopreneurs, reports Neha Mehta.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 19:18 IST
Neha Mehta

Kerala-based D Ramaiah is among those at the helm of pathbreaking cancer research, but he'd never thought about translating his work into a successful commercial venture — the way US scientists do. Until now — he’s among 40 scientists that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has handpicked to become technopreneurs.

Helping our scientific entrepreneurs create wealth out of their research, are Harvard and MIT scientists, who interacted with the CSIR’s scientists at a meet co-organised by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum.

“Traditionally we have overlooked the route from Saraswati to Laxmi and have paid dearly for it,” says CSIR chief R.A. Mashelkar. “MIT, Harvard and Stanford have demonstrated there’s no dichotomy between great science, great technology and creating great business.”

“There is a lot of potential in India’s science and technology institutes and we’re hoping to realise it together,” adds Shiladitya Sengupta who teaches at Harvard and MIT.

After the meet, Ramaiah is contemplating negotiations with an American company that showed interest in one of his molecules. “I’ll also encourage my PhD students to start their own companies instead of merely going abroad for post-doctoral research.”

Premnath Venugopalan, an MIT alumnus who’s developed a cheap ocular implant at the National Chemical Laboratory, believes an ‘ecosystem’ for Indian technopreneurship needs to be created ‘inorganically’.

Arun K. Sinha of the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology in Palampur could soon hit the jackpot: his technology reduces the cost of a compound used extensively in perfumery from Rs 1.20 lakh a kilo to Rs 35,000.

And at Lucknow’s Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, S.P.S. Khanuja has developed a special plant variety that can yield anti-malarials with exciting commercial possibilities. Clearly, India is on the brink of technopreneurship success.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 19:18 IST