• Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

IIT Madras Hosts Technology-Led National CSR Summit, showcases technologies aimed at ‘Building India 2047’

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) organized the IIT Madras National CSR Summit – ‘Building India 2047 – Technology for Better Tomorrow’ on the campus today (17th February 2024) with a focus on ‘Technology-Driven Social Impact’.

The flagship CSR Summit brought together stalwarts from Corporate India to address prevailing societal challenges and enable collaboration through scalable and sustainable technological solutions towards ‘Viksit Bharat @2047.’

The event saw participation from industry, PSUs, corporate firms and business leaders from across the country. The inaugural IIT Madras CSR Awards (2023) were presented during the summit, which was graced by Chief Guest Dr. Palanivel Thiagarajan, Hon’ble Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services, Government of Tamil Nadu, alongside faculty, researchers, and students of the Institute.

IIT Madras along with its associated entities, raised a historic amount of Rs. 231 crore in funding from alumni, industry and individual donors during the financial year 2022-23. IIT Madras was the pioneer institute to enable industry-academia collaborations including consultancy and sponsored research as well as CSR with industry. The institute has a professionally-managed Office of Institutional Advancement that spearheads its fundraising activities via corporate firms, alumni, and donors to raise funds for the Institute.

Delivering the Keynote Address, Chief Guest Dr. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services, Government of Tamil Nadu, said, “We are also at a very unique time in the technology evolution, not just IoT, Industry 4.0 and AI but in many ways, we are at an inflection time as seminar as the late 1990s that saw the development of the Internet and the 1980s that saw the development of PC. It is a particularly a good time where this kind of profound research is going to provide multiplier effects and benefits.”

Dr. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan added, “Events and Initiatives such as these from the Research institutions where innovations are to be really developed are as vital if not most vital. If we are really looking for long-term investments, then, these kinds of (CSR) channels are extremely important. It is not surprising that an institution like IIT Madras has understood this early, created a lot of relationships and leveraged it over the years, and has come to the point where they can afford to give awards for their best partners.”

Further, Dr. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan said, “I am particularly happy that in the tenure of Prof. V. Kamakoti, a son of soil of Tamil Nadu, as Director of IIT Madras, the inclusion agenda of ensuring that Government school students, those who can ill-afford to pay but have the talent, have been encouraged and welcomed in as well as the extent of efforts IIT Madras is taking to improve the functioning of School Education Department of Tamil Nadu are commendable. I think his tenure will go down as one that transforms the connectivity between IIT Madras and the broader community and the State of Tamil Nadu.”

The Institute has emerged as a market leader in the unique space of leveraging technology to drive social impact through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) collaborations. IIT Madras stands as the preferred partner for over 160 leading corporates, PSUs and institutions, driving projects worth over Rs. 450 Crore via CSR initiatives across India over the past five years.

These projects span diverse social themes, from agriculture and Artificial Intelligence to energy, health and skill development, as well as emerging areas of collaboration including hydrogen, sustainable supply chains and retail technologies.

Addressing the gathering, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “We, as a technology institution, if we start working on an important Exploratory project, wherein there is a high-risk technology and if we are able to achieve success, it could have a phenomenal impact…Let us look at a Deep tech example. Today, within five years in low earth orbit, we need close to 1,00,000 satellites. These satellites have a lifetime of five years. So, they have to be retired and new satellites have to replace them. Where are rocket engines for such huge numbers? From here came the challenge, can we 3D-print rocket engines? It takes two months to make a rocket engine now, which has several soldering points that actually reduce the overall reliability of the system. Our students have now developed 3D printing of rocket engines with no soldering intervention. Four rocket engines can be 3D printed in 72 hours. This is going to be a revolutionary change and some of the first grants for this project came from grants.”

Several insightful panel discussions – CSR Heads’ roundtable, CxOs’ roundtable, stalls displaying various tech-collaborations at IIT Madras and networking sessions with leaders in industry and academia were organized along with a visit to key centres of excellence at IIT Madras.

The seven IIT Madras CSR awards presented on this occasion were adjudged by an external awards partner and a distinguished jury comprising global experts and business leaders, recognizing seven outstanding CSR initiatives. Additionally, various corporate partners received accolades for their impactful engagement with the institute.

Highlighting the ‘Collaboration Opportunities with IIT Madras’, Prof. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, said, “As a country, we are very aspirational. The students I see are not happy with a Bank Officers job or a private sector IT Job. Their aspirations are far more aggressive and more aspirational. Each and every one of us needs to step up to fulfil their aspirations,  be it in the form of encouraging start-ups or taking risky bets on technology development that you know today has a 99% chance of failure but that 1% chance of success is sufficient to change the game.”

Delivering the Welcome Address, Mr. Kaviraj Nair, Chief Executive Officer, Office of Institutional Advancement, IIT Madras, said, “The National CSR Conclave at IIT Madras, showcases the vital role CSR funding plays in advancing scientific research and fostering innovation. With generous support from corporate partners, we are able to drive translational research and bring cutting-edge innovations to fruition. This conclave serves as a platform for enabling meaningful dialogue and collaboration, where industry leaders, academic experts, and policymakers come together to explore new avenues for partnership and innovation. Together, we are shaping the future of scientific research and paving the way for a brighter, more sustainable tomorrow.”

IIT Madras continues to collaborate with corporates, PSUs, and institutions under the CSR Act, focusing on technology-driven projects that contribute to the UN-SDGs. Donations to the institute are eligible for 100% tax exemption.

Some Examples of Research-led Projects with major social impact at IIT Madras include

Ø  Developing improved design of septic tanks to prevent groundwater pollution

Ø  Design and development of cost-effective wireless broadband solutions for rural areas

Ø  Hyperlocal air pollution monitoring

Ø  Microgrid systems for village electrification

Ø  Designing Agri transport system

Ø  TB Detection using Urine

Ø  Breast Cancer Detection Using Thermal Imaging

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