Reminiscence of attempts made for Technology Transfer and Academic Entrepreneurship at Manipur University

Dr N Irabanta Singh
Contd from previous issue
In another project entitled “ Biological control based integrated Parthenium Management for saving environment health  and biodiversity in North-East India” funded by DOB/GoI (22nd  June , 2015 to 21st December, 2018), the intensity of Parthenium infestation was high in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, medium in Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh and low in  Meghalaya, Sikkim. In Mizoram, Parthenium  was not found all as surveyed sites Mexican beatles 2,38,000 in No.s) procured from Directorate  of Weed Science Research, Jabalpur were  released in all the states of North-East India during 2015 to 18  except Mizoram. These Mexican beetles  fails to  acclimatized in the climatic condition  of North-East India.  For  biological control of Parthenium, Cassia tora seeds where bought and broadcasted in previously Pathenium infested region before the onset of monsoon. It was observed that Parthenium population was reduced by 28% to 30%.
Awareness among the people of North-East India about the ill-effect of Parthenium and its management was conducted by visiting  educational institutions, research centre and many localities where  Parthenium  infestation are high.  Articles related to Parthenium had been published in the local Newspaper (English Version) to create awareness among the people of North-East India.         
(b)    Extension Bulletin
Under team leadership of Prof. N.I. Singh, an extension  bulletin in Manipur version on “ BGA biofertilizer was released during 1994 for use by the local farmers and extensive workers under the leadership of  Prof. N.I. Singh, another extension bulletin in Manipuri  version on  “BGA and Azolla biofertilizer technology for rice”  was also released by Prof. I.S. Khaidem , VC., Manipur University during 1994 for use by the local farmers and extension workers
Under the team leadership of Prof. N.I. Singh, an extension bulletin entitle “Artificial Cultivation of Pleurotus (Oyster mushroom) in Manipur” (Manipuri  version) was also published in 2000 with financial assistance from, the Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education, Dehra Dun. The bulletin was released by Dr. J.K. Sharma, Director. Kerala Forest Research Institute, Peechi on 22nd April, 2000 who visited Life Sciences Department, Manipur University, as an expert to Assess the progress of research work on “Wild Edible Fungi of Manipur”.       
Under the team leadership of Prof. N.I. Singh, another extension bulletin  “A Guide for artificial production of Agaricus, Auricularia and Pleurotus spawns” was also released during 2002 with financial assistance from D.S.T., Government   of India for the benefit of local growers.
Three extension bulletins on “ Biological Based Integrated Management of Parthenium” (English, Bangla Manipuri and Meitei Mayek Versions) prepared by Prof. N. Irabanta Singh, Principal investigator, DOB/GoI Twining project for Parthenium Management  in North-East India were released on 17 November 2018 by ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Shri Jarnail Singh, IAS (Retrd), Administrator, Manipur University at the conference hall of the Vice-Chancellor, Manipur University. Parthenium hysteriophorus (Congress Grass) is a herbaceous,  erect, and annual plant belonging to family Asteraceae (Compositae). The plant is poisonous, pernicious, problematic,  allergic and aggressive weed using a serious threat to human beings and Live-Stock. Parthenium can be managed by its natural anemies  like injects, fungi, competitive plants. Host species Mexican beetles proved beneficial in countering  Parthenium, Biological control agents such as introducing Cassia tora (Thounam Macha) can also reduced Parthenium by 28% to 30%.  
The 21s century University is an entrepreneurial university with a mission of economic development, in addition to research and teaching, and interdisciplinary organizational structure that facilitate knowledge-based innovation (Etzkowitz, Webster, Gebhardt, and Terra, 2000; Rothaermel, Agung, and Jiang, 2007). A university in which research is routinely scrutinized for both commercial and scientific potential is becoming the prevailing academic institution (Etzkowitz, 2003). Universities need to be entrepreneurial institutions in order to fulfill their purpose of fostering creativity and responsiveness to scientific, technological, and economic changes in society (Grigg, 1994). Such universities have the internal capabilities to translate research results into intellectual property and economic activity. It seems that technology transfer will become more important to economic development over time. * Through technology transfer, universities contribute to the stock of technical knowledge and technologies that firms can draw on for innovation and hence economic growth (Bercovtiz and Feldman, 2006). Also, the growing entrepreneurial activity of American universities is connected to another trend - an intensifying of the links between research and innovation (Hicks, Olivastro, and Hamilton, 2001). Thus, it is important that universities continue to develop their technology transfer practices along with their research activities and that government policy supports universities becoming  inore entrepreneurial.
In order to facilitate future technology transfer success and continued economic growth and competitiveness, several changes must occur. First, Universities will have to overcome barriers to technology transfer. These include informational and cultural barriers such as insufficient rewards for university researchers, university-industry culture clashes, bureaucratic inflexibility, unskilled and understaffed TTOS lack of entrepreneurial talent throughout the university, the perception of declining federal R&D support. and the concern that university-industry cooperation will interfere with academic freedom, and - arguably - the existence of the traditional linear view of technology transfer itself (Siegel, Waldman and Link, 2003: Lee, 1996; Kirby, 2006; Behrens and Gray, 2001). Conquering these barriers will require universities to create more incentives for faculty members to engage in entrepreneurial activities, such as rewarding technology transfer in promotion and tenure decisions (Siegel, Waldman and Link, 2003). Faculty should be educated about commercial opportunities. This would include not only working with their TTO - or other boundary spanning organizations - but also learning projects management and other business practices to ensure successful academic-industry cooperation (Laukkanen, 2003). Personal relationships between scientist and industry contacts should be fostered as they might prove even more important than contractual relationship (Siegel, Waldman, Atwater and Link, 2004). It is also important that the organizational structure of universities is constructed to facilitate seamless technology transfer activities. An appropriate organizational structure may include a specialized and decentralized TTO with sufficient autonomy to develop relationships with industry, within the context a supportive institutional and policy environment (Debackere and Veugelers, 2005). Universities need better staffing practices for TTOs; TTO staff need marketing, technical and negotiation skills (Siegel, Waldman, Atwater and Link, 2004). TTO staff must understand the culture and function of the academic enterprise and of the industry sector to put together licensing deals (Powers and McDougall, 2005). A properly organized and staffed TTO can greatly increase the productivity of a university’s technology transfer activities. Universities could conceivably pursue organizational options that focus less on intellectual property protection and more on other, more effective means for disseminating and commercializing new technologies.
Business activities of the academic  community including students and research workers can be performed as a result of  technology transfer of which the University begin to operate on a commercial basis as a seller  of certain goods and services such as modern technology . The technology developed at the Manipur University can be tried as a academic entrepreneurship for socio-economic development.
The writer is the former Professor (Higher academic grade)/ Life Sciences and former Dean,  School of Life Sciences, Manipur University.