In April 2016, the IITGN was awarded Government of India (GoI) funding to launch a major institute-led research park anchored to the institute’s campus. The GoI goals for funding several new institute-led research parks included: (i) recognition of the role technical higher education plays in human resource development, industry productivity, and quality of life; (ii) a strategy for spurring innovation through applied research that drives academia to partner with industry; and (iii) a mechanism for the research park to accelerate higher education’s role in fostering workforce development to drive applied research to build the knowledge-sector economy. This GoI initiative is strategically aligned to other major GoI efforts, notably the Start-up India and Make in India initiatives that aim to spur industrial growth, innovative research and development (R&D), and entrepreneurship. Thus, this research park program activity is a signature initiative of the GoI to foster closer university and industry collaboration and drive innovation-led economic development based upon fuller utilization of higher education assets.
Building on historic U.S. Government (USG) support for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), USAID has provided capacity building services to the IIT in Gandhinagar (IITGN) and several other new IITs under a Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) signed by USG and Government of India (GOI). In an expansion of this support to IITGN, USAID decided that the IITGN research park development was an excellent opportunity to energize university and industry research collaboration
The IITGN research park concept defines a 100-acre research park campus adjacent to the new IITGN 400-acre campus. The approach fits well with the IITGN campus’s long-term land and master development plan. The launch of the park is supported through a grant to IITGN awarded on a competitive basis from the GoI’s Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Higher Education. The infrastructure plan for the park aims to create a new geographic space to build Institute and industry collaborations, facilitating increased research and development and building an ecosystem to create a talented workforce linked to robust applied research programs in tune with industry needs. The park will seek to build collaborations that play to key State of Gujarat industry strengths and needs and attract Pan-Indian and global company presence. Phase 1 of the park will include 26,000 square feet of built-up space inside the new Palaj campus and is defined as Phase I (2016–2018). Phase 2 (2017–2020) will see the build-out of adjacent land to an estimated 100,000 square feet of additional space. Phase 1 begins immediately with the dedication of one newly constructed building (Block 9) to the research park’s initial office space. This Block 9 also houses the established Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center that IITGN launched in 2015 with national and state funding.
The RTI and IITGN research park activity under the Data for Education Programming in Asia and the Middle East (DEP-AME) task order of the Education Data for Decision Making (EdData II) contract supported: (i) consulting and advisory support to IITGN to launch its research park planning, including park development strategies, stakeholder and industry partnerships, and park governance; (ii) IITGN representatives’ exposure to leading model and best practices at existing research park efforts in Research Triangle Park, NC; and (iii) assistance with local stakeholder coordination and partnership promotion.