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IIT Madras seeks CSR funding to bolster socially-relevant R & D and incubation efforts….

Dear Alumnus/ Alumna,

IIT Madras has traditionally enjoyed a strong relationship with industry and corporates, primarily due to its world-class teaching and research capabilities. This link has been enhanced in the recent past with the launch of the IITM Research Park. The recent GoI mandate for CSR spending by companies provides one more avenue for IIT Madras and industry to team up and provide solutions to societal challenges.

IIT Madras faculty are active in pursuit of research that leads to products and services that can serve humanity well. However, the translation from laboratory to actualization is frequently a difficult one. Pilot trials are typically required to validate small-scale solutions in a real-life context. Lab solutions need to be proven on the ground. Every solution for a critical need—be it in water, in energy, in sanitation, in education, in land use—needs to be researched and developed in an academic setting, but eventually implemented in needful communities.

It is in this latter phase that IIT Madras sees a huge need and opportunity for CSR funding. The bridging between the “gown” and “town” can only be facilitated by such a funding mechanism. That last step to achieving a workable solution for one of the “grand challenges” facing India can only be taken with industry/ corporate support. We have faculty and students with great ideas that have been demonstrated in the lab. We’re inviting corporates to work with us to take these ideas out to the real world. We can then share in the pride of seeing high-quality research and technology get translated into life-changing ground realities.

Our prospectus of socially-relevant faculty R & D ideas may be accessed here:

http://alumni.iitm.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IIT-CSR-2015-eBook.pdf

Social entrepreneurship is another front where CSR funding can make a significant impact. IIT Madras is uniquely positioned to provide a boost to technology-based entrepreneurship. In order to attain organic growth and emerge effective in supporting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, IITM’s incubators are in need of strong financial and other support. While support from Government in sustaining this process is crucial, the role of the corporate sector cannot be overstated, and the Companies Act, 2013 provides an ideal route for the latter through the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) channel.

Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013 lists permitted CSR activities, and by a key recent amendment, ‘contributions or funds provided to technology incubators located within academic institutions which are approved by the Central Government’ qualify as a CSR expenditure.

IIT Madras has established two incubators recognised by Ministry of Science and Technology, Govt. of India– IITM Incubation Cell and Rural Technology & Business Incubator– which hence qualify to receive funds from Indian and foreign companies operating in India as part of fulfilling their CSR obligations under the Companies Act 2013. A vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem needs strong capital inflows to fuel startups to become enterprises. In collaboration with corporates, IITM incubators, aim to promote Incubators as entrepreneurial hubs with intimate private sector engagement. Funds will be utilized for seed and early-stage investments in incubated companies, and for creation of facilities for rapid growth and sustenance of start-up ventures.

IIT Madras invites the corporate sector to partner with us and contribute to IITM’s start-up vision for the nation through CSR. IITM’s impeccable record, growth and global position provide unmatched potential for CSR activities, with assured impact, value and visibility

Here’ss the link to our incubation prospectus for CSR funding:

http://alumni.iitm.ac.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IITM-Incubators_IITMIC_RTBI_CSR-eProspectus-2015.compressed.pdf