IIT Delhi fellowship to launch start-ups

IIT Delhi will become the first tech school in India to begin a fellowship to help research students and PhD degree-holders to launch start-ups with products developed through their research findings.

By Our Special Correspondent
  • Published 18.04.18
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IIT Delhi. Picture by Prem Singh

New Delhi: IIT Delhi will become the first tech school in India to begin a fellowship to help research students and PhD degree-holders to launch start-ups with products developed through their research findings.

IIT Delhi director Prof. Ramgopal Rao told reporters that the PhD incubator would be set up on its Sonepat campus in Haryana in four months.

At present, nearly 2,500 students are pursuing PhD in centrally funded technical institutions but hardly any opportunity exists now for them to start companies based on their research.

PhD students usually pursue a career in academics.

"We will give an opportunity to PhD students to launch start-ups by converting whatever they have learnt and discovered. They will get fellowship for three years to pursue their vision," Rao said.

He cited the example of Intel, which was started by PhD students.

IIT Delhi will select 20 candidates based on their research and help them pursue their start-up initiatives. Those who have submitted their theses or have already received their PhD degree will be eligible, said IIT Delhi deputy director M. Balakrishnan.

"If we can incubate 20 companies and two of them succeed, that will be a big achievement," said Rao.

The director said no other IIT or tech school in the country had started such a programme.

He said the IIT would send 50 of its students this summer to villages to understand the problems in rural India. The students will stay in the villages for a short duration.

At an exhibition on Tuesday, the IIT showcased several technology solutions that have been developed at the institute.

One such technology is about prevention of crop residue burning. Developed by researchers at the bio-medical engineering department, the technology seeks to make products such as disposable plates and glasses by using crop residue. Crop residue burnt by farmers in Haryana and Punjab is suspected to be one of the major contributors to air pollution and smog in Delhi.

The IIT has also developed a nasofilter to purify air. The product developed by the textile engineering department can be put on the nostrils.