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A colloquium on "Catalyzing Research and Innovation to address emerging needs"

~ To mark the setting up of Innovation Center at MARG Swarnabhoomi in strategic collaboration with Virginia Tech, USA ~

~Energy Harvesting, Cognitive Radio and Nano Technology identified as core thrust areas ~

~Attended by Jim Duffey, Secretary of Technology, Virginia State, USA~

Chennai, November 18, 2011: Indo-American Chamber of Commerce in association with MARG Ltd & Virginia Tech today organised a colloquium on "Catalyzing Research and Innovation to address emerging needs." The discussion focused on the urgent need for R&D to develop new or customized products and services that address features of affordability, scalability, durability and sustainability.

A distinguished panel addressed a gathering of like–minded thinkers, social entrepreneurs, scientists and educationalists apart from others. Jim Duffey, Secretary of Technology, Virginia State, USA was the key note speaker of the panel discussion. Some of the other panelists included – John E. Dooley, Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, James Golsen, Principal Commercial Officer, U.S Consulate, Raman Govindarajan, Chairman, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (Tamil Nadu branch) and GRK Reddy, Chairman & Managing Director, MARG Group.

The panelists stressed upon different facets of global economic growth and the industrial revolution which acted as catalysts in creating new economies causing the big leap in development, and upliftment of the standard of living of the masses. It also discussed on the research & innovation priorities for India and the need of R&D to develop new or customized products & services that are tailor made for India.

Jim Duffey, Secretary of Technology, Virginia State, USA, said "The evolution and usage of all industrial development across North America, Europe and Japan has been heavily influenced by the affordability and needs of those societies. Even though India benefited from most of these technologies, the hugely different social construct in India calls for a new direction of customized research and development to suit our specific and unique needs".

At this juncture when India is fast emerging as a global Research and Innovation hub, MARG and Virginia Tech, USA are jointly collaborating to set up a Center of Research through Virginia Tech's Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (VT-ICTAS). The Center will be located in the smart eco-system of MARG Swarnabhoomi, the campus of education, research, innovation, industry and living (located mid-way between Chennai and Pondicherry, on the scenic East Coast Road). This Innovation Center proposes to address large scale research opportunities by challenging traditional disciplinary and academic approaches. The three identified initial focus areas of Research will be

  • Energy Harvesting
  • Cognitive Radio and
  • Nano Technology

The speakers opined that offering quality products and services at affordable price has always been the biggest challenge in India. With nearly 600 million people in the lower income group, the needs and priorities of India differ from the developed world. There is an urgent need for R&D to develop new or customized products and services that address features of affordability, scalability, durability and sustainability in areas of housing, education, energy, health care, transportation, infrastructure, environmental conservation, public policy, governance, urban planning etc. It also requires innovative approaches supported by interdisciplinary research transcending global boundaries

As a part of the elite panel, GRK Reddy, Chairman & Managing Director, MARG Ltd. said, "Research and Innovation will drive the Indian Economy of the future. At MARG Group, we try and innovate constantly and we are conscious that India today requires a leadership role in cutting edge research and radical thinking as a platform for breakthrough innovation. I am confident that our collaboration with Virginia Tech to set up a Innovation centre at MARG Swarnabhoomi is not just timely but will also soon influence every aspect of our life through affordable new products & services, thereby improving living standards of billions in India and around the world"

While discussing the 3 areas of collaborative research and innovation that MARG and Virgina Tech i.e. Energy Harvesting, Cognitive Radio and Nano Technology, the speakers stressed that these are critical product development areas that will radically reshape our economies, labour market, social structures and indeed our entire relationship with the natural world.

Companies are setting up Research & Innovation (R&I) centers in India to serve the local market as also to deliver new products faster to the global markets. 300 MNCs have already setup their R&I centers in India. MARG Swarnabhoomi, christened as the "Land of New Thinking" and uniquely integrating education, research, innovation, industry and living for co-existence of educational institutions, manufacturing & research companies, IT services firms, housing and healthcare facilities all under one roof , is only leading this trend.

Commenting on the need of research initiatives, John E. Dooley, The Vice President for Outreach & International Affairs, Virginia Tech, said "The research areas such as Energy Harvesting, Cognitive Radio and Nano Technology have far reaching implications and business opportunities for various industries and could result into affordable new products and services for improvement of the living standards of billions of people inside and outside India. With active participation and collaboration by the industry, academicians and researchers, it is possible to discover better solutions that could make a difference in terms of National/Global impact."

With concerted efforts by public & private sectors catalyzed by a 'reverse brain drain", a favorable Research & Innovation environment has been created in India. Although, investment in R&D has been negligible (0.8% of GDP in the last decade) for a long time in India, this is now likely to move forward towards the trend in developed countries (investing in the range of 2.5% to 4.5% of their GDP)

Adding to the discussion, Raman Govindarajan, Chairman, Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (Tamil Nadu branch), said "Congratulations to MARG and VIRGINIA TECH for this wonderful facility in Tamil Nadu for Innovation and Advanced Research on very useful subjects to the society like Energy Harvesting etc. This event re-iterates the emergence of India's on Education Sector, besides creating quality professional workforce, which is now the envy of the world, besides having projects like this which will uplift of the quality of life for the common man"

The colloquium ended with positive estimates on growth of research and innovation in India and its likely impact on India's economy and growth as a 'super-power'.

About IACC

Established in 1968, the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) is a non-government, industry led and industry-managed organization, playing a proactive role in India's development process and serves as a much needed link between the business communities of India and the United States of America. IACC is the only bilateral Chamber of Commerce in India, which is committed to development of Indo-US business and trade relations.

The major objective of IACC is to promote Indo-American business, trade and economic relations. IACC promotes bilateral trade, investment and technology transfer, facilitates business collaborations, joint ventures, marketing tie-ups and strategic alliances through a set of proactive business-oriented initiatives.

In addition, the chamber will initiate debates and prepare issue based white papers on Indo-US trade related issues in the context of Double Taxation, Intellectual Property Rights and Totalization Treaty.

IACC acts as a catalyst for sustainable growth of business between India and the US. In its four decades of existence, IACC has established operational connectivity with a host of business, research and developmental institutions in India and US in order to leverage each others capabilities for enhancing Indo-US business relations.

About MARG Ltd.

MARG Limited (BSE: 530543), incorporated in 1994 and headquartered in Chennai, is an infrastructure, real estate development and services company. The Company is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and its shares are traded on the NSE under the category of 'Permitted Security'. The holistic regional development undertaken by the group is unlocking economic prosperity and creating inclusive & sustainable growth models.

With over two decades of reassuring presence and the credit of pioneering the development of economic growth centers, MARG's portfolio spans across the entire infrastructure value chain - urban and industrial infrastructure, urban residential clusters, marine infrastructure & services, malls and EPC division. The group is expanding its sectoral presence with airport projects in Bellary and Bijapur and Multi-level car park projects. Listed by Dun & Bradstreet among "India's Top 500 Companies 2010", today MARG Group has projects worth more than Rs. 5000 crores under execution, a seasoned human capital of more than 1000, global partners in the Infra space and offices spread across India, Singapore and China. The MARG CSR brand – MARG Parivarthan complements these business verticals. More information on MARG is available on http://www.marggroup.com

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH

Virginia Tech, a land-grant university, is the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is among the top research universities in the United States. Founded in 1872, the university's campus covers more than 2,600 acres. It has enrollment of approximately 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 50 states and more than 100 countries study in 180 academic degree programs. Virginia Tech is engaged in graduate education, scientific and technological collaborative research, and scholarly outreach programs in different disciplines.