DIC-PU : Leading a value chain in Chandigarh region

Ministry of Human Resource Development launched the National Initiative for Design Innovation in the Twelfth Plan, wherein 20 Design Innovation Centres (DIC) and one Open Design School (ODS) have been setup in the country. A National Design Innovation Network (NDIN) links together these centres. Panjab University feels privileged to have been given the opportunity in 2015, to establish a Design Innovation Centre on its campus, with the university being the Hub. PU feels fortunate that the DIC project positioned it to work closely with three other highly reputed institutes: CSIR-CSIO, PEC Deemed to be University and HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences in their important role as the Spokes. The last 4 years have been an outstanding experience of the four partners under the DIC, who made a perfect complement, and each institute benefitted from the synergy of distinct strengths.
The DIC at PU has demonstrated how, within a short time of four years, it became an overwhelming centre of attraction for engineering graduates and post graduates. The design-centred synergy catalysed a variety of technology-driven projects around a plethora of ideas selected after idea competitions and Hackathons conducted under the DIC. The platform of DIC has been laying emphasis on using design education at UIET for applying engineering for societal good and for improving health and the quality of life. This led to rapid growth of projects around smart applications, smart manufacturing, big data handling, machine learning, artificial intelligence, small energy harvesting, health and disease diagnostics. The DIC-PU and the Chandigarh region has emerged as a hub for innovations around bio-engineering, medical devices and assistive technologies. The DIC has led to catalysing and supporting six StartUp companies during the last two years, raising the bar of innovations and, the quality of research publications from UIET.
The DIC trained students have shown a surprise by securing placements with handsome offers by global leaders like, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Infosys etc. Some of the DIC interns have come out as winners at national Hackathons organised by AICTE, MHRD, Deloitte etc. One of the DIC Projects was selected nationally and the Team Leader is currently undergoing a training sponsored by AICTE at Carleton University, Canada. The Canada India Acceleration Workshop is being conducted from Jan 19 to 31st. The DIC has played a distinct role in raising the ambitions and performance of faculty and students. The globally competitive design research at the DIC-PU has captured the attention of universities abroad. The faculty and students at the DIC have been receiving offers for exchange visits, international fellowships, partnerships and consultation projects from universities in Europe, as also from local industry.
More than 40 prototypes and Proofs of Concepts developed at the DIC hold high promise for commercialisation. A number of local companies have given Letters of Intent for co-development of the POCs. Eight patents have been filed by the DIC-PU. The students and faculty are vibrant with brilliant ideas to design novel products and low cost substitutes. Ten different types of clinical trials with the devices and technologies developed at the DIC are in progress at some of the most prestigious medical institutes, including AIIMS, PGIMER and GMCH. These have been conducted on nearly 400 human subjects. The DIC has been attracting funds nationally, globally and from industry. The constituent institutes have been able to leverage more than Rs 850 Lakh on the strength of the outcome of DIC. However, it requires continued and expanded support in the coming years to take the early stage innovations forward, without losing time. Scale up and validation of the POCs can lead to the development of market ready products and path breaking leads in due course of time.
This status report is a brief compilation of the current status of the outcome of the DIC in Chandigarh region, based on the work done during the past 4 years. It is presented in Two Parts. The Part One gives details of several indicators of contributions by the DIC-PU. The Part two gives details of the innovative Proofs of Concepts, developed at the Hub and the Spokes at the DIC-PU for socially useful applications of design technologies.

This report is an acknowledgement to the unfathomable support given by MHRD in bringing knowledge transformation in Chandigarh region. We hope the DIC-PU will continue to meet with the expectations of MHRD and continue to serve the society through unfathomable expansion of innovative ideas, validation of the POCs, new applications of design engineering and launch more intense partnerships with industry.