An Exhibition on ‘Innovations in Medical Science and Biotechnology’ has been organized for one day during the Festival of Innovations (FOIN) since 2015. The first two editions were organized jointly by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and National Innovation foundation (NIF) on 11th March 2015 and 16th March 2016. The third edition of this Exhibition and a round table on: ‘A Sustainable, Multi-Stakeholder Approach from Research to Technology [SMART] – Increasing Healthcare Reach’ was organized jointly by ICMR, NIF and DBT-BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council) on 9th March 2017. Secretary, Health, Secretary, Department of Health Research and DG, ICMR, Secretary, DBT, Scientific Secretary, Office of Principle Scientific Adviser to Govt. of India, higher officials from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, DBT, BIRAC, DST, Med Tech Zone, investors like Tata Innovation Fund, Venture Capitalists and Angel networks. industrial bodies like FICCI, CII and innovators participated in this round table.
Bringing affordable healthcare to the doorstep of our population especially in rural areas is a big challenge. We may need to reboot our health system adding/deleting channels to give us the capacity to meet the pressures of changing needs of our population. In this scenario, technology is going to play a vital role in increasing healthcare’s reach. The country needs to improve its innovation performance and create its own innovation metrics to understand the gaps and provide accelerators for innovations through reforms in policy wherever needed. However, innovation requires continuous investment. This investment in improving quality of innovation is critical for providing health to our citizens and long term economic growth. Innovative linkages between academia and industry are a win-win proposition for finding solutions to our local problems and having an impact at global level. The round-table discussion with multiple stakeholders will aim at finding solutions for the last mile coverage.
This year ICMR received Four Hundred and Seventy Three technologies from various sectors (engineering colleges like IITs, universities, medical colleges/institutes and Government Departments (ICMR, DBT, DST, DRDO, CSIR, Deity, ISRO, Ministry of Textiles, and Agriculture), startups, incubators and individuals). The exhibited technologies are selected through an extremely rigorous process under the chairmanship of Prof KS Reddy, President, PHFI. Forty four technologies displayed at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The display of technologies at Rashtrapati Bhavan is now a coveted event and has created bonds between technology developers, medical research institutes, startups, individuals, regulators, National Programs and investors. The vision of this event is to showcase disruptive technologies of public health importance developed indigenously under “Make in India’ effort and help them to reach the end user.
The technologies received by ICMR are at various stages of development and include import substitutes, those that have already been commercialized by startups, those ready for commercialization, those undergoing clinical validation or animal studies and prototypes. Domains include maternal and health, infectious diseases including tuberculosis and mosquito borne diseases, non communicable diseases, disability and safe water and sanitation. The uptake of these technologies clinical validation will have long lasting impact on the health of our population.
Further, the focus of FOIN is on recognizing grass innovators and promoting and encouraging their uptake. Small innovation made by health workers could improve the quality of care resulting in better health outcomes. Through this exhibition and panel discussion ICMR hopes to ignite young minds as well as encourage those who are thinking out of box. We are also trying to link formal and informal sector so as to use the best of our brains to solve problems and have a mark on global scenario.
Festival of Innovation (FOIN) is a unique initiative of the Office of the President of India to recognise, respect and reward grassroots innovations and foster a supportive ecosystem. Hosted in the month of March at The President’s House, the FOIN has become a national celebration of creativity and innovation at and for grassroots. Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India has exhorted all segments of the Indian society to converge their efforts to make India inclusive, innovative and responsive to the aspirations of common people. While addressing the Global Roundtable on Inclusive Innovation attended by top innovation leaders of the world and several noble laurates during last two years, he has stressed the need for learning and sharing the global experience in designing, developing and delivering empathetic and inclusive innovations for the common good. He believes that while India has to learn a lot of lessons from the countries that rank on the top in the global innovation index, India has also a lot to share in terms of frugal and grassroots innovations. That is the only way Indian innovation quotient will go up.
It is imperative that India becomes a growth engine for the world and provides a new model of inclusive development by providing a large number of open technological and other solutions for the developing and developed world. In sync with the policies of the government of India, FOIN will provide a window to the creative and innovative solutions for social development through grassroots innovations, student ideas and other technologies for agriculture, rural development, sanitation, health, women and child development, biotechnology and medical innovation for grassroots.
The Decade of Innovation (2011-20) is characterised by various initiatives taken by the Government of India and the President’s House to promote innovation, particularly grassroots innovation, in the country and forge its linkages with higher education system. The National Innovation Foundation (NIF), India has been organising an exhibition of grassroots innovation every year since 2010, in collaboration with the Honey Bee Network institutions, volunteers and the Department of Science and Technology [DST] at the President’s House. The purpose is to expose the visitors to the pervasive culture of creativity and innovation in India. Since 2015, these exhibitions have become a part of the Festival of Innovation. Many central universities and NITs have organised exhibitions of grassroots innovators during the visits of the Hon’ble President there and have already set up National Innovation Clubs in their campuses. Perhaps India is the only country where grassroots innovators are hosted at the President’s House to convey a message that the country cares for the creativity of the common people. With support from NIF, the President’s Secretariat has successfully organised three editions of the Innovation Scholars In-Residence Programme, during 2014 – 2016. The fourth edition of the programme will begin on March 4, 2017 involving more than a week-long stay of 10 innovators at the President’s House. These innovators, including school children, grassroots innovators and college students, are mentored during their stay. The policy and institutional linkages are forged to scale up their ideas.
Last year, in 2016, the second edition of FOIN saw a wider participation, both nationally and globally. More than 70 grassroots innovations, including newly-developed crop varieties developed by farmers, were exhibited. Ninety innovation clubs participated from various universities across the country. The in-residence programme was expanded to include innovation scholars, writers and artists from across the country. Seven innovation scholars, two artists and two writers were hosted for two weeks, as part of the Festival.
To leverage on the uniquely frugal and empathetic model of grassroots innovations developed in India, the President’s Office has decided to organise the third Festival of Innovation (FOIN) at the President’s House, New Delhi during March 4-10, 2017 with the help of NIF. Following activities will be taken up during the FOIN.
Festival of Innovations 2017