DST launches Rs 15 crore fund to support joint R&D with Russia

Strengthening science, technology and innovation ties between two countries

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The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has launched the India-Russia Joint Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization Programme in partnership with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) of the Russian Federation. The program will connect Indian and Russian Science & Technology (S&T) led SMEs and Start-ups for joint R & D for technology development and cross-country technology adaptation.

Speaking at the launch on July 23, 2020, Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, said that India and Russia have a long-standing bilateral scientific cooperation. The launch of the India-Russia Joint Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization Programme is another step towards strengthening the science, technology and innovation ties between the two countries. This initiative is very timely, wherein we can leverage joint intellectual and financial resources to develop technologies that would provide the solutions for tomorrow.

D B Venkatesh Varma, Indian Ambassador to the Russian Federation, said, “India has one of the largest startup ecosystems in the world. The number of unicorns is a testament to the tremendous talent the country possesses. S&T-led innovation and entrepreneurship are priorities of both countries and will be key points on the agenda as President Putin visits India later this year. There is a history of scientific cooperation between the countries, and with this initiative, we take the next step of commercialization.”

Sergey Polyakov, general director, Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE), Russia said, “We are delighted to launch the India-Russia Joint Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization Programme. We are aware of India’s knowledge and expertise in the larger science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship ecosystems and are extremely happy to partner with India on this programme. We hope the innovations and technologies supported through this programme will help us face and overcome the challenges in this new normal.”

Dilip Chenoy, secretary-general, FICCI, stated, “The launch of the India-Russia Joint Technology Assessment and Accelerated Commercialization Programme is a testimony of both country’s commitment to strengthen the S&T cooperation further. This initiative will create an ecosystem for Indian and Russian S&T-led SMEs and startups to develop new technological solutions. We are glad to announce the launch of this programme as we are certain that collaborations such as these will help both countries move towards the revival of the economies leading to sustainable growth.”

SK Varshney, adviser and head, International Cooperation DST, stated that both countries have been working for many decades in areas of science and technology cooperation resulting into knowledge generation, proto-type development and institution built up. There was a need to convert knowledge into products. Such a program would connect Indian and Russian scientific and production houses, researchers, and entrepreneurs to address societal challenges, not only of two countries but globally.

The programme will run through two annual cycles, with up to five projects to be funded under each cycle. Projects are being sought on leading S&T focus areas, including but not limited to, IT & ICT (including AI, AR, VR), Medicine & Pharmaceuticals, Renewable Energy, Aerospace, Alternative Technologies, Environment, New Materials, Biotechnologies, Robotics and Drones. On behalf of DST, FICCI will implement the program in India.

Over two years, the Department of Science and Technology will fund up to Rs 15 crores to ten Indian SMEs or Start-ups and FASIE will provide similar funding to the Russian projects. The programme will provide partial public funding for jointly selected projects with the participation of at least one start-up or SME from India and one SME from Russia. The selected projects will be required to bear partial funding either through its funds or alternative funding sources. In addition to financial support, the teams will also be supported through capacity building, mentorship, and business development.

The programme is accepting applications under two broad categories, that is Joint Partnership Projects and Technology Transfer or Adaptation. The last date to apply for the first round of the call is September 30, 2020. A dedicated portal has been developed for this purpose.

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