Led by RICH (Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad), the S&T Mega Cluster aims to bolster nationwide scientific collaboration in the innovation hub of the country – Hyderabad.
Hyderabad, a hub of innovation, has been selected for setting up a Science and Technology Cluster, an initiative of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC). The Hyderabad Cluster will be led by Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH). The Cluster was launched by Shri. K.T. Rama Rao, Hon’ble Minister for IT, Industries and MA&UD, Government of Telangana and Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, on 8th January, 2021, in the presence of Mr. Jayesh Ranjan, IAS (Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce (I&C) and IT Departments, Government of Telangana), Dr. Arabinda Mitra (Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India), and Mr. Ajit Rangnekar (Director General, RICH).
The Government of India has focused on boosting science, research, and innovation in the country. One of many such efforts is the establishment of Science & Technology (S&T) Clusters on the recommendation of the PM-STIAC. These S&T clusters are a means to encourage scientific enterprise and to push individual institutional excellence towards collective performance. Currently, the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India has proposed the establishment of mega S&T clusters in four cities that have strong organizations, institutions, and industries focused on science and technology, namely, Hyderabad Bengaluru, National Capital Region (NCR)-Delhi and Pune. Prof. K. VijayRaghavan, PSA to the Government of India, said, “The goal of PM-STIAC is to develop a futuristic roadmap for science and technology in India. Creation of mega clusters that leverage the local science and technology expertise will pave the way for a faster and more efficient deployment of scientific outcomes. We believe that the new Hyderabad cluster will enable and empower patents, products and profits, while solving problems that afflict society.”
India has retained its position as the most innovative country among the Central and South Asian countries. It is also the world’s third largest start-up hub and continues to grow at a steady pace. With continuing state and central government support, India has the potential to vault to the top of this list. Telangana, the youngest state in India, has one of the highest growth rates in the country due to its focus on innovation in all sectors, and from all constituents. Hyderabad, the state’s capital, has therefore been chosen as one of the cities for setting up a mega S&T cluster. It houses the nation’s largest bio-cluster, Genome Valley, which is a group of roughly 200 companies. It is also the ‘Pharma Capital of India’ contributing to about 35% of the country’s pharmaceutical output. It is also the ‘Seed Capital of India’ and one of the largest digital technology hubs. It houses over 60 government, multinational and private research institutions.
Shri K.T. Rama Rao said, “Scientific advancement is at the core of our progress as a State. For the science from the labs to be truly effective, it has to benefit people at large. The creation of the Hyderabad Cluster, driven by RICH, will help discovery and invention in the labs to move to implementation, promising to change the lives of the citizens. We are looking to help launch at least 5 large impactful companies over a period of next 5-7 years, which will benefit millions, generate wealth, and create over 100,000 jobs across the country. Longer term, our goal is to make Telangana the best Centre of Excellence for Lifesciences, Agriculture and Digital Technology.”
Creation of the S&T clusters aims to solve complex local challenges by creating networks between diverse stakeholders ranging from national research and academic institutions, industries, associations, startups, civil society entities, state governments, and central ministries, by providing innovative solutions that transform lives. RICH has fostered collaboration between entities in its core focus sectors of Aerospace and Defence, Food and Agriculture, and Lifesciences sectors for an effective innovation ecosystem. RICH has also expanded its operations into allied fields such as sustainability – with a focus on renewable energy and waste management – and emerging technology.
The formation of the Hyderabad S&T mega cluster will strengthen the available body of knowledge and drive innovation for addressing key problems at the city and state levels. Commenting on the implications of establishing the S&T Hyderabad Cluster, Mr. Ajit Rangnekar, Director General of RICH stated: “At the Hyderabad Cluster, we will foster multi-disciplinary research and entrepreneurship to build a more prosperous and equitable future for all. We will work with MSMEs, startups, researchers and industry to rapidly commercialise promising ideas. The vision is to make Hyderabad the best science startup hub that will become the #1 destination for science startups.”