Prof. Ajay K Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), Government of India has formally launched the Bengaluru Science & Technology Cluster (BeST) at the plenary session of the Bengaluru Tech Summit, 2022.
BeST is a collaboration of more than fifty organisations from Bengaluru, including industry partners, major academic institutions, start-ups, civil society organizations, and government bodies.
The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) coordinated the effort in partnership with Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), India’s leading biotech research and innovation hub supported by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Govt. of India.
A funding proposal for BeST was submitted by Principal Investigator (PI) Prof. Govindan Rangarajan (Director, IISc) and co-PIs Prof. Ambarish Ghosh (Professor IISc) and Dr Taslimarif Saiyed (CEO, C-CAMP). The funding was recently sanctioned by the office of the PSA. A science and technology cluster is a collaborative ecosystem in a city or a region in which scientists, engineers, social scientists, and entrepreneurs working in academia, government labs, and industry can identify and collaborate to solve some socially relevant problems.
On the recommendation of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), the office of the PSA supports the S&T clusters being established as formal umbrella structures for S&T organizations in various cities to collaborate more effectively while retaining their autonomy. Five more clusters at Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Pune, and Jodhpur are currently in operation, said the press release issued by C-CAMP.
BeST, the latest in this set of clusters, has identified health & wellness, urban life, and futuristic technologies as its core sectors and has set up teams to work on areas of One Health, Digital Health, Precision Agriculture, Urban Transportation, Monsoon & Climate Change, Quantum Technologies, Active Matter & Robotics and Jet Engine.
Prof. Sood explained that the BeST Cluster is envisaged as a platform of active collaboration for the entire R&D ecosystem in Bengaluru, cutting across disciplines and mandates but retaining their autonomy.
Co-Lead of the initiative, Dr Taslimarif Saiyed, at the launch said that “Bangalore is a city of science, innovation and opportunity. The BeST cluster launch could be a landmark moment for science and technology in India and possibly the world. We aim to bring together stakeholders with shared ecosystems, identify and address problems first with locally relevant solutions, but also scale-up nationally and internationally by building global competitiveness. BeST activities will be based on this ground-up pyramid model.”
Co-Lead Prof. Ambarish Ghosh said, “Bengaluru tech summit is the ideal launch-pad for the BeST cluster. Impact of the BeST can be defined in many ways. In addition to immediate social and economic impact at a city scale, we must also consider the impact on sustainability and being globally competitive.”
Prof. G. Padmanabhan (former Director of the Indian Institute of Science, IISc) and Shri S Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder of Infosys, were also present during the event. (India Science Wire)