Punjab has taken its baby steps towards creating a bridge between the state’s universities and the industry. Realising that the only way to go forward in promoting the waning industry in the border state, is to promote start-ups and innovation in manufacturing sector, the government is acting as a facilitator for the “lab to factory push” in promoting industrialisation in the state.
As a first step in this direction, the state has created a successful Secondary Agriculture Entrepreneurship Network, wherein five varsities — Guru Nanak Dev University, Lovely Professional University, Punjab Agricultural University, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Punjab Technical University and Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology — have been assigned different industry clusters for making a need-based assessment of innovations required, conduct a thorough research and come up with prototypes of modifications.These universities have as many as 22 innovations in fields like food processing sector, sewing machine cluster of Ludhiana, the hi-tech cluster in Mohali and the steel rolling mills in Mandi Gobindgarh. “After the Science and Technology Department started the initiative, the 22 proposals developed by the universities have been sent to the Biotech Industry Research Assistance Council, for a final evaluation and funding,” confirmed Rakesh Verma, Principal Secretary, Science Technology and Environment. All these will be showcased in the Punjab Innovation and Technology Summit, scheduled here on November 5.
He said industrial innovation was the need of hour to provide gainful employment to the state’s educated youth. Interestingly, while the concept of promoting new innovations in agriculture by the PAU had led to the Green Revolution and making Punjab self-sufficient, only a handful of such experiments have taken place for promotion of industrial innovation – in food technology at PAU and in Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana. However, these experiments never took off in a big way.
Verma, however, said this time things would be different as the Union Department of Science and Technology, too, was promoting the academia-research-industry relations for promoting innovation. “While the state government can act as the bridge, we are mainly looking at the Department of Science and Technology, and others like Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises for funding the research and innovation,” he said.
The state government has also tied up with the IIT, Ropar, to help the industry get innovative solutions.