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  • TERI BCSD India member corporates reiterate their commitment to Sustainable Development fostering industry - academia partnership

    7 November 2009

    Top member corporates of TERI-BCSD India reiterated their commitment to global sustainable development in a round table meeting "Fostering Industry Academia Partnership for a Sustainable Tomorrow" with Prof Richard C Levin, The President of Yale University and Dr R K Pachauri, Director General TERI and Chairman, IPCC hosted by TERI Business Council for Sustainable Development, India. The round table was co-hosted by Bayer Group in India, a select BCSD India company.

    The high profile discussion highlighted that Industry-endowed research in the Indian universities have to start moving in the right direction, given the imperatives of sustainable development and energy efficiency in a world facing the impact of climate change.

    Voicing the endemic challenges and the unique opportunities for both industry and academia, Professor Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University, spoke of the need for university-industry collaboration and emphasized the need for adapting the model of the United States experience to vitalize the potentials in India. Highlighting the operative industry-academia collaboration models in the US, he said, "Over the past 20 years, after the enactment of the Propriety Rights Act in the US, these models have largely worked through exchange of personnel and ideas, and co-investments in research."

    Prof Levin elaborated upon Yale's interaction with industry and the importance of aligning incentives which, for university faculty members, often include pre-commercial and pre-proprietary publication rights; clear definition of intellectual property rights; and involvement of research with commercial application.

    Opening the dialogue, Dr R K Pachauri, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasized the importance of Industry-Academia Partnership and highlighted that TERI BCSD India has emerged as a preeminent business voice on sustainable development with a network of 98 corporate members representing a varied section of Indian industry. He emphasized that "A new range of technology is needed to meet the future challenges, and India has to move forward on innovative collaborations between Industry and our universities. Cooperative research is the key word to fill the gaps existing in the present structure."

    Welcoming the TERI-BCSD and Yale University initiative, Mr. Cyrus Jassawala, Country Head, Polyurethanes, Bayer Group in India highlighted the group’s R&D tie-ups in India and China – and more particularly the 2008 launch of school project ‘Making Science Make Sense’ in Mumbai that is now to be expanded to other cities of India.

    A number of novel ideas emerged at the round-table session including a platform for bringing about the much needed industry-academia collaboration in the research labs – targeted to fulfill the needs of the consumer. The consensus of the speakers was for an IPR legislation that would boost such a collaboration, enabling free publishing of research and, at the same time, yield result-oriented products for the industry that would benefit the consumer.

    The leaders of industry and academia along with government representatives spoke of the need for understanding consumerism with respect to product efficiency and the institutional controls of Corporate Social Responsibility. The discussion yielded some ideas for practical applications, which included a green label for commercial products to account for carbon and water usage in manufacture. Stakeholders agreed that that industry and research organizations should collaborate to work around the existing legal and bureaucratic constraints. Various case studies from the corporate sector were cited wherein partnerships with academia have helped develop cost-effective solutions.

    Heads of corporates and senior representatives of associations included HCC, Philips Electronics India Ltd, Shell companies in India, BT India, Bharti Walmart, United Technologies, IOCL, Lurgi India, Monsanto, Freeplay Energy group, TATA-BP Solar, NASSCOM, Federation of Indian Micro and Small & Medium Enterprises (FISME). Representatives from the academia included IIT Delhi, NISTAD (CSIR), and National Council for Applied Economic Research etc.

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