Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India in a rapid response to combat COVID-19 pandemic approved setting up of a Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) at a total cost of Rs 56 crore to scout, evaluate and support the innovations and start-ups that address COVID-19 challenges. The Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), a technology business incubator at IIT Bombay supported by DST has been identified as the implementing agency of the CAWACH.
Given the impact of COVID-19 as a pandemic that has jolted countries across the world to take immediate actions and scale up responses to detect, treat and reduce transmission to save people’s lives, DST is playing a critical role to pace up India’s efforts to fight the crisis.
While the nation is under a health emergency, various solutions to address the pandemic are being undertaken at research institutions & laboratories. Urgent measures are being taken by the governments at both Centre and State level to shore up these efforts and infuse resources in various forms to contain the further havoc of COVID-19.
DST’s effort at this hour of need is to support R&D initiatives in this direction by boosting innovations offering comprehensive solutions like ventilators, diagnostics, therapeutics, informatics and other intervention for control and mitigation of COVID-19.
The support will be provided to startups at different stages for fast-tracking commercialisation process and journey and scale-up across geographies which will have a significant impact in the long term.
The CAWACH’s mandate will be to extend timely support to potential startups by way of the requisite financial assistance and fund deployment targeting innovations that are deployable in the market within the next 6 months.
CAWACH will identify up to 50 innovations and startups that are in the area of novel, low cost, safe and effective ventilators, respiratory aids, protective gears, novel solutions for sanitizers, disinfectants, diagnostics, therapeutics, informatics and any effective interventions to control COVID-19.
It will provide access to pan India networks for testing, trial and market deployment of these products and solutions in the identified areas of priority COVID-19 solutions. This will help to address various challenges faced by the country due to the severe impact of COVID-19.
“CAWACH program of DST is focused on leveraging the youthful energy, intelligence and extraordinary innovative potential of our technology incubators and startups and empowering them for scale-up to speedily address the multi-dimensional challenges of COVID-19 across respiratory aids, disinfection systems, protective gear and coatings, information and monitoring assists, diagnostics, and a plethora of other relevant materials, devices and solutions”, said Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science & Technology.
DST is taking a lead from the front and upping efforts across its wide resource network of highly committed institutions, researchers, experts, incubators, innovators and startups in the hour of this grave national need and health crisis.