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These innovations are high tech yet frugal in application

New Delhi, July 6 (India Science Wire): An anti-pesticide dermal gel, a low-cost insulin pump, new method for screening drugs against malaria and kala-azar, an early diagnosis method for osteoporosis, utilisation of plastic waste for production of fuel range liquid, novel and light-weight thermal insulating ceramics, rapid and non-destructive method for detection of insect infestation and real-time visual tracking of lung tumours

These are some of the 21 innovations that were bestowed the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards for 2019. The awards, founded by the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI), are given jointly with the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). The awarded teams of students are given Rs 15 lakh each to further work in their ideas and selected technologies are given further assistance.

Giving away the awards, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu called for a national innovation movement to promote new ideas and innovations designed to improve living conditions of the people and generate wealth. He stressed the need to tap the huge talent present in every section of the society to build a new and inclusive India. He urged young scientists to work on simple, low-cost but hi-tech innovations to make people’s lives comfortable and address challenges such as pollution, climate change, diseases and help improve efficiency in agriculture as well as industry.

The awards are given to young student innovators in three categories. MLM or ‘More from less for many’ frugal Innovation award is given to potential technologies that econmise on the use of material, are extremely affordable and are amenable to sustainable manufacturing. The SRISTI socially relevant technological innovation award is given to products or prototypes that address unmet social needs or improve the functioning of existing solutions and are ecologically compatible. The technological-edge award is given for ideas that push the frontiers in any technology domain.

Prof Anil Gupta, founder of SRISTI and CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow, said the awards have been successful in igniting innovation and entrepreneurship among students. Since 2015, total of 15 student teams have got grants totalling Rs 7.66 crore and 13 of them have set up business enterprises or startups. Another 17 teams have applied for patents for their innovations and technologies and nine were planning to so soon. Four student teams have got grants worth Rs 50 lakh from BIRAC so far.

Dr R A Mashelkar, National Research Professor, said there was a need to combine innovation with passion and compassion, as some of the award winners had done. These innovations are at the cutting edge of technology yet keep the needs of common citizens in mind.

By Dinesh C Sharma

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