CSIR to commercialise indigenous technologies

CSIR to commercialise indigenous technologies

Ex-finance commission chairman Vijay Kelkar will head new firm

“The CSIR Tech has been registered in Pune on May 2. Former finance commission chairman Vijay Kelkar will be the board chairman,” CSIR director general SK Brahmachari told Deccan Herald. The CSIR will hold equity in the firm, creation of which was being debated since 2004.

Two other board members are Saurabh Srivastava, an IT industry veteran and venture capitalist and S Sivaram, former director of National Chemicals Laboratory (NCL), who has strong industrial links. The board will eventually have seven members but will start functioning with five members.

The company will have its corporate headquarters in Pune. At the moment it is functioning from the premise of the NCL Innovations Resource Centre in Pune
The first ever commercial wing in any Indian science and technology councils, the CSIR-Tech has a controversial past. Almost two years back the CSIR selected V A Shiva Ayyadurai, a scientist from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA as a full-time business development consultant for the CSIR-Tech.

The plan was to absorb him as the chief executive officer of the company, when it is incorporated. But within a year the CSIR fired Shiva after he publicly brought several serious allegations against the CSIR top brass, breached the norms of confidentiality and ethical behaviour, and denigrated the organisation where he was working. Shiva could not substantiate any allegations in the court.

The controversy, however, put the CSIR in a spot and halted the realisation of the CSIR-Tech by more than a year even after receiving all approvals from the government.
Unlike the prevalent culture in the public sector R&D institutions, the CSIR-Tech will be a profit-oriented company rather than a non-profit outfit.

Setting up the CSIR-Tech, Brahmachari said, could trigger a new model of technology commercialisation in Indian R&D establishments. The council has initiated dialogue with the SBI Market Capital, IDBI and ICICI for infusion of venture capital.

The company will work closely with the CSIR units to commercialise their technologies. But since it would not be an exclusive arrangement, the company would be free to market technologies developed by other laboratories as well.