Innovation: Making ourselves future-ready

Author: ETHealthworld, Healthfiles l April 21, 2020 l Image Credit: Inc.
The last few years, India has committed towards fostering an innovation culture and the COVID 19 crisis could prove as an opportunity to focus on creating a scientific temperament that promotes research in the healthcare sector.

According to the Global Innovation Index 2019, India is the 52nd most innovative country in the world. India has the capability, the capacity, and the talent pool required to become a powerhouse of innovation. The Government has also immensely helped in nurturing innovation by launching forward looking initiatives like; StartUp India, Make In India, Digital India etc. The key areas that we need to focus are: building an enabling infrastructure; supporting, recognising and rewarding high risk innovation, strengthening Government, industry & academia partnership and making available opportunities for investors to fund such innovations. And, all this can flourish only in an enabling and favourable policy environment.

It will be worthwhile to look at international models: Boston, Massachusetts has emerged as a hub for biopharmaceutical research with more than 430 biotech companies, an investment of USD$4.8 Billion and over 113,000 jobs. The presence of prestigious institutions such as Harvard and MIT and their inspiring contribution to recombinant DNA Technology coupled with several reputed medical institutions have facilitated the creation of a strong scientific culture that has been responsible for churning out highly trained life sciences graduates year after year. Other factors include the presence of biotech and life sciences companies, research institutions and hospitals.

We can create these innovation hubs in India, only when we create an environment that fosters an innovation mind-set and a favourable ecosystem that promotes innovation. Well-funded and government backed world-class hubs, that have clearly defined policies which encourage innovation including IP protection, as well as active participation from innovation-driven private enterprises will go a long way in creating such centres of excellence. World class research facilities, recognition and remuneration will be crucial to attract the finest minds in India and abroad to be a part of this eco-system. In the past, we have seen tremendous success in solving large scale challenges though PPP model. The coming together of government, research-based private enterprises and academia could result in augmenting such centres and accelerate innovation.

The future is all about innovation. In the bio-pharmaceutical industry, innovation promotes development of new diagnostic tools, treatments and cures to address unmet medical needs. Let’s remain steadfast in our commitment to research and development in healthcare that will allow patients to enjoy a better quality of life.

Every crisis is an opportunity. An opportunity to reflect on shortcoming, identify the gaps, improve responses, to avoid it in future. Let COVID 19 Crisis be the turning point for India to emerge as one of the finest bio-pharmaceutical hubs. Let us take this as a learning opportunity and make ourselves future-ready.