Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, gave away Students Innovations for Advancement of Research Explorations – Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (SITARE-GYTI) and Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technological Innovations-Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (SRISTI-GYTI) awards, at a virtual function in New Delhi.
Gandhian Young Technological Innovation awards constitute two categories of awards, SITARE–GYTI under Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and SRISTI-GYTI is given by SRISTI. The awards and appreciations are given under these two categories to encourage technology students to move towards setting up biotech and other start-ups. Fourteen awards and eleven appreciation awards under SITARE-GYTI, and seven awards and 16 appreciation awards under SRISTI-GYTI were given.
Dr Vardhan congratulated all the students and exhorted them to address the unmet social, industrial and environmental needs and to create widespread awareness about the same. He pointed out, “More than Rs 10 crores worth of other awards and investment have been mobilised by the SITARE-GYTI winners so far besides 89 publications, and 39 patents being under progress”. He advised the innovators to avail of the incubators set up by DBT, BIRAC, CSIR, ICAR etc., and help India move towards Atmanirbharta.
The Minister highlighted that all innovations and scientific solutions must be for “transforming the lives of people”. In this regard, Dr Vardhan said, “We are working on scientific social responsibility policy right now, with a focus on how efforts of our scientists can benefit all sections of society”.
Dr Vardhan expressed his appreciation that “Honey Bee Network has been scouting and supporting grassroots innovators also through SHODHYATRAS all over the country and encouraging undergraduate students to work on their innovations as well as on traditional knowledge through BIRAC supported Biotechnological Innovation Ignition Scheme”.
He said, “S&T labs of DBT, CSIR and DST can now be the incubators for these young innovators. Also, the BIRAC E-YUVA scheme will engage a number of Universities and Technology Institutes to serve as Mentors. This will help us to create a pan-India network to encourage a larger number of student entrepreneurs”.
Dr Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), congratulated all the awardees and recalled how BIRAC had conceived SITARE to galvanise the power of creativity and innovative thinking among the young minds. She called upon awardees to spread the word about various schemes of BIORAC (Biologically inspired resilient autonomic cloud) so that more and more students try to set up start-ups and help India become self-reliant.
Dr Shekhar Mande, Secretary, DSIR and DG, CSIR, assured all help to the young student innovators from the network of CSIR labs. He pointed out that Indian scientists have made themselves count in India’s exemplary fight against COVID-19.
Dr RA Mashelkar, Former Chairperson, NIF and Former DG, CSIR, emphasised that the contribution ‘The Honey Bee Network’ has made to trigger the grassroots innovation movement in India is unparalleled worldwide. Now, SRISTI has added GYTI platform to encourage innovations for grassroots and other sectors of India to encourage technologies that are frugal and on verge of technological breakthrough, he said.
Prof Anil Gupta, Founder, Honey Bee Network and Coordinator, SRISTI, mentioned that the SITARE-GYTI awards are given every year to the most promising technologies developed by the students in life sciences, biotechnology, agriculture, medical devices etc. SRISTI-GYTI awards are given to students in other engineering disciplines, he said.
Under SITARE-GYTI awards, 250 entries from student innovators with potential for biotech and life science start-ups were received in six categories from 96 universities and institutes across 23 states and Union Territories. More than 700 entries were received under SRISTI-GYTI in 42 technology domains from 270 universities and institutes belonging to 27 states and union territories. The online evaluation of the shortlisted entries was undertaken by the experts. The evaluation committee included eminent experts including vice-chancellors of Universities, Directors and faculty of IIT, IISc, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), DBT, CSIR, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institutions.