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The Annual School for Grassroots Innovations Kicks-off today at NIAS

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Photo : Siddharth Kankaria / Research Matters

The National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru, along with the National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF), Gandhinagar, the Trans Disciplinary University (TDU), Bengaluru, and the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Energy and Development (MGIRED), Bengaluru, are organizing the first edition of the ‘Annual School for Grassroots Innovations’ -- a programme that brings together scientists, students, innovators and industry representatives to find solutions to local problems and promote sustainable development.

The 9-day event started today at 9:30 AM at NIAS, Bengaluru, and will feature lectures and demonstrations, interactive sessions with innovators, field visits, and public talks/panel discussions. It will host 50 participants for the residential programme drawn from research institutes, social enterprises, startups, Non-government organizations, media and other walks of life, working in different parts of India. The theme for this year is ‘Energy and Water’. These participants were invited to submit proposals on innovative ideas around the theme.

The objectives of this programme are to expose the participants to the pervasive and prevalent culture of creativity in our country, to introduce them to the various principles, processes, and practices related to grassroots innovations, to make participants understand the role of intermediary organizations in an innovation value chain, to apprise them about the grassroots innovations in energy and water and their applications, to provide a platform for lateral learning among practitioners, innovators and participants, to assess the gaps in research and policy in grassroots innovation and to identify the paths ahead. 

Grassroot innovations play a big role in solving common challenges faced by the society. Larger initiatives like Smart Cities Mission on Swacgh Bharath can only be successful if there are ample innovations at the grassroots that involve the community at every level. Often, such a solution would require the involvement of not just scientists and engineers, but persons from different walks of life, including innovators, policy makers, institutions, creative individuals and communities, bringing a multidisciplinary approach to finding solutions.

“Fostering these innovations not only empowers innovators and generates employment, but can also be instrumental in fighting poverty and promoting sustainable development by employing bottoms up approach”, say the organizers of the programme.