Grown necessity of academic-industrial partnership: An expert interview with Dr. Ramjee Pallela

Grown necessity of academic-industrial partnership: An expert interview with Dr. Ramjee Pallela
Academic sector being the core hub of basic research when partnered with an industry could pave ways to various application oriented research outcomes for better production of products and technologies. Most of the industries could interact with their regional universities in order to solve business problems, which could lead to more valuable products. This could sound like an impossible act because it is always believed that, the basic research performed in academics is very far in bringing change on the industrial innovation cycle. But in the recent past, various industrial experts have started to understand the importance of academic knowledge in bringing new innovations in their manufacturing processes. In an interview with Dr. Ramjee Pallela, an academician associated with IKP Knowledge Park, following valuable insights on the need for an academic-industrial partnership were obtained.

Dr. Ramjee Pallela is a well-respected research specialist with a PhD from Osmania University, Hyderabad (Pedestal workstation: CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad). He has more than 10 years of research experience in his field of expertise with 27 national and international publications and 14 books, respectively. He is currently responsible for managing the Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) scheme of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a Government of India Enterprise at IKP Knowledge Park (IKP), Hyderabad, India.

According to his views, technical skills from an academic institute or a university would be helpful for an industry to scale-up certain technological innovations in the form of strong collaboration between them. Moreover, the project management skills and marketing, and business commercialisation views from the industry can streamline the project activities as per the milestones to foresee the deliverables in more realistic way. A cautionary advice for igniting these collaborations is that both the parties should negotiate the technical and monetary objectives in more transparent way to set the goals clearly.

He suggested that, a well strategised scheme for the academic-industrial collaborations would be the one that appears to bring forth mutual benefits and mutual contributions among both the parties for bringing a strong societal impact. The societal issues or public needs should be brought to a single platform for brainstorming. This could be the simplest way to dig the potential innovations like publications and patents with respect to research problems and address them in public forums or meetings to be discussed by various senior academic experts and industrialists. This will result in identifying the most sustainable, feasible, affordable and potentially commercialisable innovations. Business and marketing mentors either from private (e.g. IKP) or government sectors like BIRAC would help these parties to collaborate strongly through facilitation of intellectual property and technology transfer.

He claims that, it is high time that the academia sector step forward and understand the need to lift the research to an implemented form and understand the real outcomes for real implications in the society in major segments like agriculture, healthcare, alternate fuels or bioenergy. Thus, rather than just researching for personal appraisals through simple publications and patents, there should be a reverse in the whole process from the start, i.e. from the need for problem leading towards a perfect solution. The availability of funding resources and mentoring on business plan, commercialisation, intellectual property and technology transfer issues are really lacking in many of the state universities, which would certainly uplift the innovations into real implementable deliverables. The end-user utility has to be considered as a benchmark to initiate any such projects so that the time and money can be saved and alternatively there can be a good scope of implementing these innovations in a specified duration of time.

Hence, there is a strong need for more policies and schemes to channelise the academic sectors in engaging in any operational industrial research, protecting their rights and building a good track record in application oriented research; thus, providing both the parties a ground to negotiate their objectives in a very open manner to achieve their goals. Thus, a well framed academic-industrial partnership will help an industry that is facing economic pressures in searching new concepts and methods to remain profitable and competitive in the market, and also benefit the academic sector that is facing problems like funding and infrastructure.
How to cite this article:
Deepa Mary Stanly. Grown necessity of academic-industrial partnership: An expert interview with Dr. Ramjee Pallela. BioLim O-Media. 27 July, 2017. 5(7).
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