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IIT Bombay has always strived to be one of the greatest, not only in the nation but worldwide. Clearly though, focussing solely on teaching with research falling to the sidelines will not help us accomplish this goal. Harvard, MIT, Stanford and some of the world’s premier institutes have reached immense heights by producing R&D output that is not just showcased in journal papers, but also provides tangible benefits to society. Silicon valley is the result of a plethora of research and entrepreneurship work.
Recognising this, a new venture has been set up by MHRD – research parks in some of the IITs. The successful creation of the IIT Madras research park has inspired the establishment of the IIT Bombay Research Park, ASPIRE – Applied Science Park for Innovation Research & Entrepreneurship. Their vision statement – “To achieve recognition for innovation, entrepreneurship and research excellence through industry-academia collaboration.” This initiative aims to establish an innovation hub through industry-academia collaboration, enable a two-way flow of knowledge and resources, establish a strong industrial relationship by starting R&D centres in the institute, and to promote entrepreneurship.
The plan for the park started in 2014. Phase 0 (an interim arrangement) – looks to make its debut in the year 2017, will be established in the Academic Area, and will support the first few companies that wish to set up research labs and/or office spaces on the campus, while also being in close proximity to professors and students. Phase 1 – scheduled to be completed by Jan, 2019 – will have the first dedicated building of the Research Park. With a location on the outskirts of our campus, behind the Renaissance hotel, it has a view of both Powai and Vihar lakes, and will cover an area of about 250,000 sq.ft. Further, Phases 2 and 3 of the parks have a proposed completion of 2023 with a total projected area of 1,000,000 sq.ft.
Proposed building structure
A1 denotes the proposed location
The Research Park land plot
The IITB Research Park Foundation, is a not for profit Company incorporated by IIT Bombay to manage the operations of the Research Park. Having set an R&D portfolio, the Foundation – led by Prof. in Charge Abhay Karandikar – has already started attracting potential clients to help fund and set up the Park.
The Research Park aims to facilitate interaction between IITB students and professors on one side, and industry and national R&D organisations on the other, through various modes of engagement. This ensures that institute faculty and the companies collaborate effectively, and students can get a good exposure into the real-world applications of their chosen fields under the supervision of corporate experts who share their passion for R&D. Applied Materials has joined IITB Research Park as their Anchor Client in 2015. The partnership between IIT Bombay and Applied Materials spans for over 10 years and this has resulted in collaboration with more than 30 faculty members across various departments, R&D lab on campus in 6000 sq. ft. of space and about 25 engineers of AMAT working in the Applied Materials Exploration Center facility.
Possible modes of engagement
This initiative can have many more positive outcomes. The Research Park will significantly increase industry-IITB R&D interaction and thereby enhance the output of translational research i.e research with direct societal and industrial relevance and benefit. The move will also be favourable to professors, who could get R&D grants from companies having their facilities located in close proximity. As for the clients, apart from having close access to the wide expertise of professors in the institute, they will also be provided access to state-of-the-art facilities available in IIT Bombay. If you are a student of IITB, you may be treated to a small tour of the facilities in the Park. The Park may also help students to get internships and placements as companies may recruit students for the Park. All in all, this looks to be an exciting new chapter which will change the face of research and development in IIT Bombay, and we hope it will leave a lasting legacy and put IIT Bombay at par with leading research universities on the global stage.
Link to website – www.iitbresearchpark.com
Twitter – @IITBRP
Facebook – IITBRP