The DST-Technology Enabling Center (DST-TEC) at the University of Hyderabad celebrated National Innovation Day on October 16, 2023, commemorating the birth anniversary of former President of India, Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (15th October), with an engaging talk on “Building and Nurturing the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Indian Universities”. The event featured Prof. Uday B. Desai, Founding Director and Emeritus Professor of IIT Hyderabad, as the keynote speaker and chaired by Prof B.J. Rao, Vice Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad.

National Innovation Day is a day dedicated to celebrating the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, and intellectual curiosity. Students, faculty members, and innovators from the UoH campus incubator were present for the occasion. The event provided a unique platform for participants to engage in thought-provoking discussions about innovation, entrepreneurship, and the role of universities in nurturing talent and innovation.

In his opening remarks Prof B.J. Rao underscored the need to encourage innovation in our institutions, saying, “It is time to unleash the entrepreneurial force in educational institutions across India.” Highlighting the day’s theme, Prof. Rao pointed out the importance of doing and undoing simultaneously to build new bridges and become an innovator. “When you are inundated with a lot of knowns, how do you discover the unknown? That becomes a game changer,” he added. Prof. G.S. Prasad, Director of TIE-U and Coordinator of DST-UoH-TEC, introduced the distinguished speaker.

Drawing from his extensive experience and insights, Prof. Desai in his talk shared valuable knowledge, personal anecdotes, and practical strategies aimed at inspiring and guiding the audience towards nurturing innovation. “Innovation is what leads to an entrepreneurial ecosystem,” he said, as he highlighted several out-of-the-box ideas that led to world-class innovations. Prof. Desai’s talk also delved into the potential future outcomes of technological advancements. He wished for India to lead the way in creating cutting-edge technologies that had the potential to transform the world. He shared his insights on creating accessible and open spaces for students to collaborate and innovate, where they can work on their projects at any time without the constraints of fixed schedules or permissions. He also stressed the importance of proper labs in universities, citing them as the breeding grounds for ideas and innovation.

Prof. Desai touched on the significance of encouraging students to interact with experienced mentors who can provide valuable guidance on market access and research. He underscored the importance of proper market research, creative design, reliability testing, networking, and legal training for startups to succeed. Furthermore, he advocated for a more liberal approach to equity in startups, especially within academic institutions. In his closing remarks, Prof. Desai emphasized the importance of fostering a culture of uninhibited thinking and creative idea generation and called upon the universities to provide a conducive environment that encourages innovative thought and nurtures entrepreneurship. He then engaged with the participants in an interactive session and answered their queries.

The event concluded with Prof. Desai being felicitated and presented with a memento as a token of appreciation by Dr. Yogeswara Rao (Director, UoH-ASPIRE). And Prof. Rajagopal (Head, Dept of Plant Sciences and Co-coordinator DST-UoH-TEC). The event was coordinated by the staff of DST-UoH-TEC, DST-UoH-CPR and UoH-ASPIRE.