Introduction: The Modern Temple- IITMRP
Set in the city of Chennai, is the IIT Madras Research Park (IITMRP). Before you start visualizing a park or start thinking of some complex scientist’s nest, hold your horses! Because what we’re looking at is an extremely unconventional, the first of its kind in India. Going with the tagline “India’s leading deep-tech start-up hub”. However, this research park boasts of an excellent record of incubation in rural, social, and industrial technologies. It aids start-up companies by providing them the necessary infrastructure and strives to achieve innovative solutions in established companies. The institute also consists of two state-of-the-art conferencing facilities. Subsequently, they are named after the esteemed personalities, Sir C V Raman and S Ramanujan. Dubbed as a ‘modern temple’ by Union HRD Minister, Mr. Prakash Javedkar, another interesting fact about this prestigious establishment is that all of its facilities are completely eco-friendly.
The Beginning- The Mastermind behind the idea
Founded in 2009, IITMRP, under the successful leadership, of its founder, visionary Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala, is the first university-based research park in the country that has now become a benchmark for innovation ecosystems, barring all geographical boundaries. Companies have been incubated and nurtured under the leadership of its founder. Prof Jhunjhunwala fondly says that it’s the park that keeps the faculty together.
Infrastructure of IITMRP
Sprawling over a vast expanse of about 11.42 acres, the research park has a sophisticated appeal. Consisting of five individual towers connected by skywalks at multiple levels. In addition to this, 1.2 million square feet of workspace, including both formal, informal, and networking lounges. The workspace is connected to IITM via the aptly named Industry-Academia Bridge.
Setting an example: The Green Campus
IITMRP is situated amidst a lush green carpet of courtyards, and also employs clean water technologies. Besides this, the institute has also adopted an Integrated Building Management System and high performance, double glazed glass for its buildings in order to conserve energy. Topping it off is the energy-efficient cooling systems. That maintain the entire place at a pleasant temperature, irrespective of the seasons.
To mention a few, the faculty of IITM proudly say that the entire place had survived without power for four days during the floods in Tamil Nadu, thanks to the innovative 125 Watt solar panel, that enabled the continual operation of lights, fans, laptops, and even charged mobile phones.
A globally accepted voice engine that speaks and responds to 16 different languages is the brainchild of the team that has worked at IITMRP. It enables farmers to locate good markets at the right price in addition to acting as an aid to learning English and other languages.
Another remarkable solution provided by a team of IITMRP is the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU), developed by Prof. Mohanashankar and his team, which can perform highly complex cataract surgeries even in the remotest, rural areas under a safe and sterile environment.
The initiation of this research park has spurred a collaboration of faculty, students, and passionate researchers, paving the way for several unconventional and award-winning startups to emerge from the Incubation Centre. The success of the efforts of the administration led to the planning of 50 other such research parks, spanning across the country, as a part of the Start-Up India initiative by the Central Government of India.