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13 October, 2006 - 14:39 By News Desk

Cambridge inspiration for Indian innovation

Indian government and industry leaders have turned to Cambridge brainpower to help achieve their aim of building a sustainable knowledge-based economy – and there will be spin-offs for SMEs in both countries.The focal points for the new initiatives are both within the University of Cambridge, via the Judge Business School and its Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL), as India bids to nudge closer to the Cambridge hi-tech cluster.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Centre for Entrepre-neurial Learning at Judge Business School as a key plank in its drive to better recognise and exploit innovation.

CII’s alliance with the East of England is focused on developing a model for linking entrepreneurs, individuals, academia, industry and R & D establishments to facilitate an ecosystem for innovation and benefit the SME sector in India.

Through this initiative, CII intends to kick-start Indian Industry into a ‘drive’ mode for innovation that is inclusive and sustainable.

The nexus of the collaboration is The National Innovation Grid, which aims to provide innovators with continuous access to outside domain knowledge and the infrastructure for physical creation. It will also support innovation teams and entrepreneurs the requisite multiple domain expertise for successful commercialisation, said Mr R Seshasayee, president of CII.

The grid is designed to be a virtual network of information and knowledge, linking manufacturing excellence centres.

It will also introduce innovation advisory services along the lines of the East of England International’s Small Business Support initiative, delivered by i10.

The Grid will connect entrepreneurs and users with a large number of sources of knowledge and expertise available in both countries. These would include potential individual innovators, budding entrepreneurs, SMEs exploring growth ideas and many others. The Grid will also help to establish a link between academia and businesses as well as the small entrepreneurs and individual innovators.

A virtual network on the lines of i10 will take the form of a website hosted on the CII site. It will have three major sections – knowledge, competency and expertise.

It will also provide an Innovation Services Link to kick off innovation services such as creating Centres for Entrepreneurship Learning where available facilities for rapid prototyping, fabrications, machining centres, tool rooms, testing centres etc. would create part of the ecosystem for innovation.

The CII Innovation Node will link to the Cambridge system for innovation and provide an access for the Indian network to access its' services for CII Innovation Grid members.

Judge Business School and the Indian School of Business have added value to the collaboration process by signing a three-year international student exchange programme agreement.

The programme will enable selected students from the Indian School of Business to visit Cambridge and enrol as full-time MBA students for one academic semester from April to June, while the selected students from Judge Business School will enroll at Hyderabad for a similar appropriate period.

Whilst visiting their host schools, the students will attend lectures and undertake consulting projects on ‘emerging’ technologies. They will be hosted respectively by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at Judge Business School, Cambridge and the Wadwani Centre for Entrepreneurship at the Indian School of Business.

The aim of the programme is to enable the exchange students from each of the institutions to familiarise themselves with technology entrepreneurship by carrying out business development projects with Microsoft Research in their host school’s region.

Andrew Herbert, MD of Microsoft Research, Cambridge said: “To help foster technology entrepreneurship we will be inviting the exchange students to undertake business feasibility studies on technologies arising from the research activities at our Cambridge and Bangalore, laboratories.”

These projects will allow the students to learn about global issues in a fast growing technology environment, equipping them with the insight and practical skills necessary to develop them into managers for the future, capable of commercialising disruptive technologies in global contexts.mater, to receive his honorary doctorate in law.



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