Wadhwani Foundation’s ‘Policy Research Centre’ Releases Assessment Paper on the SBIRI-BIPP Programmes

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IndiaCSR News Network

NEW DELHI: The study was conducted by Wadhwani Foundation’s New Delhi based Policy Research Centre (PRC) to assess the performance of two of India’s most comprehensive and largest programmes initiated by the Department of Biotechnology and administered by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) – SBIRI and BIPP.

India Sanitation Summit Sanitation for All Toilet First 6 Feb 2015 New DelhiTitled “Promoting Innovation through Public-Private Partnership”, this assessment paper by Wadhwani Foundation’s Policy Research Centre is an effort to analyze contributions of the programme to knowledge creation & identify challenges in their implementation.

Both SBIRI and BIPP are modelled on the hugely successful and globally replicated Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) in the U.S. The primary purpose of this study is to produce a set of evidence based recommendations to help policy makers improve impact measurement and scale up the programmes in terms of quality of the firms and the research projects being funded, commercialization of the research, satisfaction of the beneficiaries with the program and the program’s contribution to the firms’ growth.

Based on online surveys of 80 firms, the study concludes that there is ample evidence that SBIRI/BIPP Programs are highly competitive with rigorous reviews, and are stimulating R&D as well as commercialization efforts that would not otherwise have taken place. Further, the benefits associated with the programme are substantial with a public-private investment of USD 219 million assisting growth of firms and beneficiaries experiencing enhanced brand equity, goodwill, R&D activity, increased sales, investments and profits. The study strongly recommends further improvements in these programmes and their replication by other government departments to stimulate scientific and technological advances.

Says Dr. Ajay Kela, President and CEO, Wadhwani Foundation, “It is a globally established fact that small enterprises have proven to be the most effective source of innovation leading to the biggest impact on economic growth and job creation of a nation. Wadhwani Foundation’s vision is to create and empower thousands of small and medium scale industries in India, to accelerate economic development. Our assessment study on SBIRI and BIPP programmes will facilitate the success of PPP programs to create new innovation based, high growth enterprises across all other sectors.”

While a spurt in growth of small scale enterprises will involve large scale youth interest in entrepreneurship, strengthening the innovation eco-system and addressing numerous other challenges, this PRC driven study finds structural constraints that are inhibiting growth of PPP in innovation – inadequate funding, little support for commercialization of technology, bureaucratic delays and inadequate technical assistance. To stimulate innovation, PRC recommends addressing four major challenges:

Mismatch between objectives of public and private sectors
Cross-cultural divide that exists in public and private systems
Mismatch in speed of action especially in terms of money flow from the government
Partnership not looked upon as a committed investment by both parties with mutual values

Wadhwani Foundation’s Policy Research Centre (PRC) expects that the findings of the study stimulate alignment of the SBIRI/BIPP with international best practices and lead to upscaling of the SBIRI/BIPP programmes. Apart from India, countries like UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Russia in Europe; Japan, Korea and Taiwan in Asia; and South Australia in Australia have adopted similar programmes with varying degrees of success.

The study aims to set the tradition of rigorous impact measurement and evaluation of government supported private innovation projects with the goal of learning from these experiences to further refine and scale such programmes where besides economic development, social benefits far exceed private advantage.

Founded in 2000 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, Wadhwani Foundation’s primary mission is economic acceleration in emerging economies. The Foundation is driving economic growth in India and other Asian countries through large-scale initiatives in job creation and skill development.  To achieve this the Foundation has launched five high impact Initiatives in India, with the goal of creating and filling 25 million jobs in the next 5 years.

For job creation, Wadhwani Foundation established the National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) in 2003. NEN has built a strong network with 600 colleges, 4000 mentors and 3200 faculty in India that continue to inspire, educate and support emerging entrepreneurs.  Thousands of practicing entrepreneurs and startups are also supported through NEN’s Entrepreneur Academy www.nenonline.tv that features hundreds of short videos from experienced entrepreneurs, angels, VCs along with dozens of longer video courses and blog posts. Since inception, NEN has resulted in 2,000 new startups with 12,000+ direct and 50,000+ indirect jobs and is now tracking 1,500+ new companies each year.

For job fulfillment, the Foundation has set up the Skills Development Network (SDN) which supports multiple college, high school and employer initiatives for entry level mid-skill jobs.  SDN has developed and implemented several major skills initiatives with MHRD and State Govts. providing support to vocational education programs in 500+ high schools and 200+ UGC colleges and 100+ companies.  SDN uses a technology platform for skilling by integrating online/in-class skills education through a digital/video curricula and pedagogy.

Other Initiatives of Wadhwani Foundation include:

Opportunity Network for Disabled (OND) is aimed at mainstreaming the educated disabled into sustainable high quality corporate jobs through a business value proposition of lower attrition and higher productivity in hiring the disabled.  The Foundation supports the training and placement of disabled individuals into mid-skill entry level jobs with the goal of placing 100,000 disabled over five years.

Research and Innovation Network (RIN) aims to upgrade India’s research eco-system by catalyzing ‘Centers of Innovations’ in partnership with existing research Institutes. The Wadhwani Research Centre for Biotechnology – WRCB established at IIT Bombay is leveraging biotechnology research along with the cross-disciplinary technical capabilities of IIT Bombay towards bio-sensors, low-cost devices, drug delivery and bioinformatics.  Shanta Wadhwani Center for Cardiac and Neural Research (SWCCNR) was established in January 2012 with the National Center for Biological Sciences (NCBS), focuses on cardiac and neurodevelopmental biology with a broad goal to support research aimed at understanding regenerative mechanisms operating at the cellular and molecular level in the heart and the brain.

Policy: Wadhwani Foundation’s Policy Research Centre provides data driven research inputs for informed policy actions towards creating a human-capital driven growth economy. Wadhwani Chair on US-India policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a leading bi-partisan policy “think tank” in Washington D.C, aims to accelerate India-U.S economic activities.

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