It is called the Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad - RICH in quickspeak. Launched in Hyderabad on Friday, February 24th, this new entity aims to bridge a crucial gap that is holding back many organizations from reaching their full or shall we say, their rich potential.
On road to being put together as a section 8 company but initially supported by the government of Telangana, it is arguably the only such entity in India. Its purpose to provide a platform to connect the wide range of internationally- and nationally-reputed educational and research institutions in Telangana such as the ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics), CRIDA (The Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture), CCMB (Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology), IICT (Indian Institute of Chemical Technology), DRDL (Defence Research and Development Laboratory), NIPER (National Institute for Pharmaceutical Education and Research), IIT (Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad), BITS (Birla Institute of Technology & Science , Hyderabad), IIIT (International Institute of Information Technology), ISB (Indian School of Business), UoH (University of Hyderabad), OU (Osmania University) with the industrial sector so that the talent available here is harnessed. It will provide a link between research institutes, academia, industry, venture capitalists, angel investors and even incubation funds.
All of this expected to result into outcomes that create impact with new ideas, new innovations, technologies, products and services. RICH would be therefore filling a critical gap in the innovation-entrepreneurship-investment ecosystem. Speaking to Business Today, Ajit Rangnekar, the former dean of the Indian School of Business, who has now been designated as the director -general this new entity, says: "We have great research institutions, great academic institutions, successful industries along with great economic policies but it is only when everything works together that we will see some big change happening and the idea of RICH is to bring everyone together and that is why it is called a circle."
Some of the focus sectors could be pharma, food, seeds, defense and aerospace. A company should be able to get everything from research, innovation to capital and land in Telangana. While, he says, the focus is on Telangana and the state would welcome any entrepreneur who chooses to come and establish a unit in Telangana, the idea is to keep it open for all. "If industry from outside also wants to use this and engage with this network, we will happily support it afterall, we are all part of the same country."
He says, the first task RICH would undertake is to create a compendium or a catalogue of research and research products which are being done. Then, look for synergies. For instance, there is someone doing work on cancer at the CCMB and there is work in similar area is being done elsewhere so we could try and put them together while at the same time ensure that the IP is protected. The idea, says Rangnekar, "is to make it as inclusive an institution as you can make it so we will reach out to all - some 30 odd government research institutions and 20 odd private research institutions within the state - some 50 to 60 in all, we would invite them for enrolment. Similarly, we would reach out to six to seven leading academic institutions in the state like the IIT, IIIT, ISB, NALSAR (National Academy of Legal Studies and Research), JNTU (Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University), OU and UoH to become our members. We will tend reach out to industry bodies, clinical research organizations and the for example reach out to those involved in drug testing for instance. Similarly, there could be accounting firms, training firms, venture capitalists that we could reach out to."
In fact, in its industrial policy, the government of Telangana says, "through this mechanism (of RICH), innovation will be encouraged and commercialization of research will be promoted. The Government of Telangana will invest substantially in RICH so that it can become a self-sustaining organization."
It also states that "to supplement RICH and encourage innovation and incubation, the Telangana state government will create a Research to Market Fund (RMF) to fund entrepreneurial activity, and provide a matching contribution up to Rs.100 crores to the fund for amounts contributed by private venture capitalists and angel investors."
While, it says, "linking up the technical educational institutions, technical education students and the industry will also be taken up by RICH, it will create a model of strong industry-institution linkage that will ensure practical training for all technical graduates in the industry, making them more employable (immediately out of college)."