BITS Pilani launches PhD programme to foster deep-tech startups

BITS Pilani PhD-DRIVE will provide students with a stipend and access to prototyping grants during the programme’s duration.

BITS Pilani launches PhD programme to foster deep-tech startups (Image Source: Careers360)BITS Pilani launches PhD programme to foster deep-tech startups (Image Source: Careers360)

Tanuja Joshi | August 18, 2023 | 05:41 PM IST

NEW DELHI: Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani has launched a PhD programme aimed at cultivating startups based on PhD research. The initiative, named PhD ‘Deep-tech Research, Innovation, Value Generation and Entrepreneurship’ (DRIVE), will admit students with expertise in technology and science who aim to do a startup.

According to the institute, as part of the curriculum of PhD-DRIVE, the participants will undergo entrepreneurship training, engage in an incubation program, secure funding for product development, and access the expansive BITS alumni network for further investment opportunities.

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The PhD-DRIVE programme will accept candidates throughout the year, with notifications posted across BITS Pilani's official website and social media platforms. Scholars will be stationed within various centres of excellence established by BITS such as ‘Semiconductors’,’ Bio-Cyber Physical Systems’, ‘Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning’, and Medical Diagnostics. Participants will also get a stipend and access to prototyping grants during the programme’s duration.

The programme will focus on deep tech and deep science startups. PhD-DRIVE aims to produce entrepreneurs who will have expertise in translating research into successful business ventures as per BITS Pilani.

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The institute stated that it has collaborated with various partners like DST-supported PIEDS, BIRAC-supported BGIIES, and DST NM-ICPS-supported BioCyTIH, to guide aspiring entrepreneurs in their startup creation. This partnership network with investment firms, government laboratories, industry leaders, corporate entities, and BITS alumni will help PhD students to find funding opportunities. According to BITS Pilani, a leading venture capital firm Speciale Invest has already offered its support to the programme.

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V Ramgopal Rao, vice-chancellor of BITS Pilani said, “ The world requires our best researchers and academics to put their innovative research to use in solving the biggest challenges facing humanity. As a country, we haven’t done enough in the area of Deep Technology and Deep Science ventures, where a startup takes a long time to become viable. With this new program, we want PhD scholars to become an entrepreneur along with becoming an innovator, and not just look at an academic career post their PhDs”.

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