SCIENCE OF THE TIMES
In keeping with the vision of its founder, Jamshedji N. Tata, to promote “the material and industrial welfare of India”, the Indian Institute of Science has over the past one-and-a-half decades been encouraging its faculty and students to protect their intellectual property and convert the outcomes of some of their scientific investigations to practice via technology licensing or entrepreneurship. In the recent past, several technologies, such as gas flow sensors, electrical storage devices and related test instrumentation and fungal pesticides have been licensed. Inventors of other technologies such as enhanced electric gradient-based water filtration device, a multi-analytic device for diabetes monitoring and optic fibre sensors for structural monitoring have chosen the startup route.
IISc was established in 1909 in a unique public-private partnership between its founder Tata, the then government of India and the maharaja of Mysore, a large part of whose land was donated to IISc by his mother in the name of the then young king. As Tata put it then, IISc’s goal was “to provide for advanced instruction and to conduct original investigations in all branches of knowledge as are likely to promote the material and industrial welfare of India”. The institute has been steadfast in the pursuit of that goal, becoming not only the premier institute for advanced scientific and technological research and education in India but also in the application of its research for industrial and social benefit.
IISc aims to be a world-class institute of higher education and research in science and engineering and ranks among the top 50 such institutions globally. “We’ll build on its strengths in research and new knowledge generation in the frontier areas of modern science and engineering, continue to develop new research-oriented teaching programmes at the postgraduate and undergraduate levels, protect its intellectual property, nurture translational research and encourage the incubation of successful startups,” says its director Anurag Kumar. IISc has always played a role in the national research agenda, and continues in significant areas such as nanoscience, cyber physical systems, the biology of human disease (such as cancer and drug-resistant TB), neuroscience, material and devices for sensing, and material for renewable energy and energy storage.
IMPRESSIVE FACADE The IISc building in Bengaluru