Editorial Team

The technology business incubator of IIT Kanpur, Startup Incubation and Innovation Centre (SIIC) signed an MoU with the Defence Innovation Organisation on 22 April 2022 in the presence of Hon’ble Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi to become a partner incubator for the flagship program iDEX-Prime. iDEX-Prime will support startups for projects up to Rs 10 crore to add to the evolving innovation ecosystem nationally across various domains ranging from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced Imaging, Sensor Systems, Big Data Analytics, Autonomous Unmanned Systems, to Secured Communication.

The event witnessed participation from Prof. Ankush Sharma, Co-PIC, Innovation and Incubation IIT Kanpur, Mr. Piyush Mishra, COO, SIIC IIT Kanpur, Mr. Jatin Mishra, Manager – Bio Programs, and Mr. Keshav Pareek, Asst. Manager. The incubation ecosystem at IIT Kanpur will support startups and innovators engaged in the defence domain, working in line with the 38 identified problem statements shared by Defence forces under DISC 6 Challenges. The DISC 6 oversees the involvement of seven newly founded military corporations, the Indian Coast Guard, and organizations under the Ministry of Home Affairs, in addition to the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

Commenting on the successful MoU signing ceremony, Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Director, IIT Kanpur said, “The iDEX program is a great initiative by the Defence Ministry to attain “Atmanirbharata” in our defence sector through multi-stakeholder collaboration. IIT Kanpur is proud to be a key partner incubator in DIO’s iDEX-Prime program to support the startups in achieving the stated goals under the program. This partnership will definitely leverage our institute’s infrastructure and the research and development pool to take strides in making Atmanirbhar Bharat in the defence sector.”

Prof. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, PIC – Innovation and Incubation IIT Kanpur, said, “It is indeed an honor to be partnering with Defence Innovation Organization and join hands for shared goal of supporting innovation to achieve self-sufficiency for Indian Defence services. I’m thrilled at this partnership and hopeful that the startup ecosystem currently in action at IIT Kanpur does justice to it by supporting and harnessing the innovation in the Defence sector.”

Ministry of Defence’s iDEX intends to build an ecosystem that fosters innovation and technology development in the Defense sector leveraged by multi-disciplinary research and development (R&D) institutes, universities, enterprises, startups, and innovators. The program is a significant step toward actualizing self-sufficiency for the Indian Military.

The Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework was formulated and approved by the Ministry of Defence in order “to operationalize and institutionalize the effort to reach out and engage the smaller enterprises, startups and innovators, which have the competence, flexibility and adaptability to supply the Indian military with innovative and ingenious technological solutions.”

The iDEX Prime program is launched with six problem statements from the Armed Forces for resolution by startups & innovators with a grant of Rs 10 Crores. The challenges are as follows:
• To develop an Al-based Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) for identifying and marking mines in a minefield.
• To develop Advanced Truss Bridges
• To develop 11m ‘all electric’ Work Boat
• To develop an Automated Celestial Navigation system
• To make Expendable Active Decoys
• To develop Signals Intelligence System for Hilly Terrain and High-Altitude Area

IIT Kanpur, being one of the partner incubators for the program, would guide startups in the domains of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Advanced Imaging, Sensor Systems, Big Data Analytics, Autonomous Unmanned Systems, and Secured Communication to achieve the six stated goals.

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