Leveraging bionanotechnology for sustainable and inclusive growth: New CFI publication

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The Center for Frugal Innovation has published a new report on prospects of Indo-German collaboration in ensuring affordable healthcare with the help of bionanotechnology, also known as nanobiotechnology or nanomedicine, depending on the context. The report with the title “Leveraging bionanotechnology for sustainable and inclusive growth : prospects for Indo-German collaboration in ensuring affordable healthcare” has been prepared by Dr. Sadhana Tiwari and Prof. Dr. Rajnish Tiwari, and published by the Consulate General of India, Hamburg.

Abstract of the report

The field of bionanotechnology, sometime also referred to as nanobiotechnology, has emerged from the intersection of nanotechnology and biotechnology. Today, it constitutes one of the fastest growing research fields due to its enormous potential. A particularly promising area of application for bionanotechnology is Life Sciences or Healthcare, where nanomedicine can help with advance diagnostics and targeted, patient-specific treatment in an effective and speedy manner while reducing the use of resources. Thus, bionanotechnology shows high compatibility with principles of “affordable excellence” that lie at the roots of the modern concept of frugal innovation.

India and Germany both have made substantial progress in this field and many research institutions, universities, startups and established enterprises are active stakeholders of this industry, along with government bodies. Biomaterials, biosensors, functional systems, drug transport/targeting and implants are the five most active technology fields in Germany’s nanobiotechnology sector, while a strong focus can be observed in the application areas of diagnostics, medical devices, therapeutics and regenerative medicine within the Health/Pharma sector. These areas coincide with India’s thrust areas of research that is, however, still largely concentrated in research institutions. A bilateral cooperation between India and Germany can be highly rewarding as it can use complementary strengths of the respective ecosystems and help each other in overcoming their weaknesses, e.g. in ensuring translational research, developing common regulatory/safety standards, better utilization of resources & infrastructure, and creation of cutting-edge knowledge through joint research and exchange programs for researchers, scientists, students and entrepreneurs to intensify interaction.

The study suggests a three-pronged approach for a bilateral cooperation: (a) identify promising avenues of cooperation, (b) pool resources, and (c) develop frugal solutions that have high chances of diffusion across the globe. The potential market-size and the lead market function of India in the field of frugal innovations can help the solutions that are developed in bilateral (or eventually multilateral) cooperation achieve faster commercial success while raising standards of living for all potential beneficiaries of the scientific progress, across the globe. This would make a very valuable contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #3 related to “Good Health and Well-being”.

About the authors

Dr. Sadhana Tiwari is a postdoctoral scientist at the Institute for Nanostructure and Solid State Physics of the University of Hamburg. She specializes in conceptualization of “affordable excellence” targeted at societal development by reducing total cost of ownership, minimizing use of natural resources and enhancing quality. She was awarded a joint PhD degree by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B, Mumbai, India) and the Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) for her research in the area of Bionanotechnology. Before choosing a research path, she studied Biotechnology and Nanotechnology earning MSc and MTech degrees from G.J. University of Science and Technology, Haryana. Her specialization is in the development of biosensors. She collaborates with the Center for Frugal Innovation of the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) in her research on affordable biosensors.

Prof. Dr. habil. Rajnish Tiwari is professor for Business Administration and Global Innovation in the faculty onlineplus (OLP) of the Hochschule Fresenius University of Applied Sciences at its Hamburg Campus. He has co-founded the Center for Frugal Innovation at the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) of Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and is a member of its Board of Management. He has acted as an Adjunct Faculty at Manipal Institute of Technology in India and has advised Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as a member of the Advisory Circle for its Innovation and Technology Analysis program (2014-17) with a special focus on “New Global Innovation Pathways”. Dr. Tiwari is a co-initiator and co-organizer of the series of (biannual) India Weeks in Hamburg. He also heads the Hamburg chapter of German-Indian Round Table (GIRT), dedicated to promoting the bilateral economic relations.

About the study

Publication of this report was financially supported by the Economic Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India.

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11420/12580
DOI: 10.15480/882.4326

Invitation to join online workshop: “Lifelong learning in the age of digital transformation”

TIM-TUHH invites all interested persons to an online workshop on Friday 15 Oct. 2021 (11:00 – 12:30 hours CEST) on the theme of “Lifelong learning in the age of digital transformation: Chances and challenges for institutions of higher education”. The workshop is a part of the Erasmus Days 2021. A direct registration link is here.

This online session which will be moderated by Dr. Rajnish Tiwari from Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) is concerned with the disruptive opportunities and challenges that digital transformation brings to higher education institutions. Based on insights generated in the VISION project, funded by the European Union, we will share our results and discuss with the invited speakers and participants the following issues:

  1. How can institutions of higher education turn disruptive challenges into promising opportunities?
  2. How can the requisite competencies for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship (CIE) be imparted to those that need it the most efficiently and effectively?
  3. How can we use the approach of frugal innovation (“affordable green excellence”) to enable lifelong learning and mitigate the global societal challenges by ensuring social inclusion?

In addition to the presentation of project results by Dr. Rajnish Tiwari, the workshop will be enriched by sharing of insights and experiences by the following three invited speakers representing different contexts:

Dr. Aravind Chinchure: Aravind Chinchure is a renowned innovation and strategy leader from India with experience spanning 25 years in R&D, innovation, business growth, entrepreneurship, start-up investments, M&A, intellectual property, consulting and education.

Aravind Chinchure

He is founder and CEO of QLEAP Academy which has been established in partnership with Indian and global universities to create 21st-century professionals and leaders. The Academy offers various executive courses to build skills, competencies, and leadership in the areas of creativity, innovation, industry 4.0, entrepreneurship & intrapreneurship by outcome driven experiential learning. Aravind is also a part of the VISION project community, where he has acted as a “key influencer”.

According to Aravind, “Changes caused by digital transformation and Industry 4.0 are radically faster than anything experienced yet. I will share my insights on how to convert this challenge into an opportunity for higher educational institutions in creating new-age talent empowered with 21st-century skills.

Prof. Dr. Hendrik Müller: Hendrik Müller is Professor of Business Ethics at the University of Applied Sciences Hochschule Fresenius (HSF).

Hendrik Müller

For the department onlineplus he serves as Vice Dean for Studies and Teaching and Academic Director of the Examination and Seminar Centre Hamburg. After his studies in Oxford and a doctorate in Classical Philology and History, he gained extensive professional experience in both academia and business in Germany and the UK.

The department onlineplus at HSF has recently launched an innovative teaching format, called the “mixed mode”, which Hendrik will introduce to the audience. This format puts the learner at the centre by allowing students to engage in individual and flexible alifelong learning, depending on their learning preferences, time commitments or life situation. The study programme thus adapts to the student’s life and not vice versa.

Luise M. Degen: Luise Degen is a doctoral candidate and research associate at the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH).

Luise M. Degen

She is also part of the development team for the TIM Master’s programme GTIME (https://www.g-time.org). At the institute, Luise supports lectures/seminars and helps to introduce new learning approaches into these courses. For her Master’s thesis, she developed a conceptual approach for a Berlin-based creative consultancy to integrate blended learning concepts into their offers. Thus, she experienced both the educational view and the practical view on new learning approaches. She will thus share perspectives that include views from students, teaching assistants and edtech companies.

Those interested in joining the online session are welcome to so so. Please register yourself using this registration link.


Full project name: “Envisioning the Future of teaching and coaching for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship” (ERASMUS+ project, grant number: 612537-EPP-1-2019-1-SI-EPPKA2-KA). The announcement at the VISION project site can be reached here. Also see an announcement by the EMUNI University, Piran (Slovenia).


Photo credits: respective persons.

Presentation of the VISION study results at Hochschule Fresenius

On June 24, 2021, Dr. Rajnish Tiwari was invited to present key results of the “VISION” project at an online research colloquium of the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences (“Hochschule Fresenius”, “HSF”), which was attended by scholars from the university’s Faculty OnlinePlus spread across not only Germany but also outside. The colloquium was organized and moderated by Prof. Dr. Gudrun Glowalla, Vice-Dean Research, of the Faculty OnlinePlus of HSF.

Faculty OnlinePlus of HSF specializes in offerings of distance education and has recently introduced an innovative study format called, the Mixed-Mode, which combines elements of online “anytime, anywhere” education with targeted in-presence classes for specific topics. The Mixed-Mode does not have a fixed-semester and students can flexibly choose any one of the several study and examination centers for a specific module. The Ministry of Sciences in the Federal State of Hesse has officially recognized this format.

With this, the Mixed-Mode format and the blended learning it enables, seem to have several connections with the core findings of the currently ongoing VISION project, of which TUHH is a consortial partner (full project name: “Envisioning the Future of teaching and coaching for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship” (ERASMUS+ project, grant number: 612537-EPP-1-2019-1-SI-EPPKA2-KA).

Empirical investigations conducted for the VISION, e.g. in the form of literature reviews, expert interviews, and stakeholder workshops, suggest that the digital transformation possesses an immense potential to promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship (CIE), which crucial to meet the challenges of SDGs, especially in the global South, and ageing societies in the global North. Life-long learning in a user-friendly, resource-savvy and effective manner is critical to achieving these objectives. Reskilling and upskilling of the workforce can be achieved in a highly individualized manner with low costs, high quality (e.g. through use of artificial intelligence, virtual reality etc.). The anytime, anywhere formats can substantially redurce the (opportunity) costs for learners while enabling significant economies of scale for providers of such education. Detailed results of the project were later presented at the R&D Management Coneference 2021.

For more information on the VISION project, see the project website and/or contact Dr. Rajnish Tiwari at TUHH. It is planned to cooperate with HSF to enable mutual learnings. Dr. Tiwari has also accepted a professorial position at HSF, where he is also excpected to stengthen this innovative teaching format with his expertise gained through VISION.

Organization of a track on Frugal Innovation and Digitalization at RADMA 2021

On July 7, the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM), via its Center for Frugal Innovation, co-organized a special track on the theme of “Frugal Innovation and Digitalization: Crossing Boundaries and Creating Impact” at the recently concluded R&D Management Conference 2021 (“RADMA”). RADMA took place in an online format in 2021 after its postponement in the previous year due to COVID19 related disruptions.

The track, which was originally proposed for 2020 was reactivated and fresh papers were invited from the scholarly community. A total of eight papers were accepted for presentation after a peer-review process. The following two papers with (co-)authorship of TIM scholars were presented at the conference:

(1) Morimura, Fumikazu / Tiwari, Rajnish / Herstatt, Cornelius: “Does frugal innovation matter in the COVID-19 crisis? An investigating into the impact on consumer resistance to home energy management system in Japan” (collaborative research with the University of Kobe, Prof. Morimura from the University of Kobe presented the paper).

(2) Tiwari, Rajnish / Buse, Stephan: “Promoting Creativity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship with Frugal Means: An Investigation into the Role of Digital Transformation” (results drawn from the study conducted under the VISION project, presented by Dr. R. Tiwari).

This track was organized in a cross-institutional and cross-country collaborative project by Suchit Ahuja (Concordia University, Canada), Rajnish Tiwari (Hamburg University of Technology, Germany) and Stephanie Cadeddu (University of Montréal, Canada). The track was very well attended and led to insightful discussions.

Here are some slides used by Rajnish Tiwari for his opening remarks at the session. The tack was organized in partnership with OpenInnoTrain.

Breakthrough inventions or affordable excellence?

The renowned Johanna Quandt Foundation organized a discussion panel with participation of CFI to discuss the the supposed contradiction between breakthrough inventions and frugal innovations on July 2, 2021 in Bad Homburg (near Frankfurt am Main) in Germany. The discussion was organized as the inaugural event of a 2-days workshop with award-winning journalists from Germany. The panel discussion, which also included opening statements in the form of presentations, involved Ms. Barbara Diehl (SprinD GmbH – Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation) and Dr. Rajnish Tiwari (Center for Frugal Innovation dof TUHH, and Hochschule Fresenius, Hamburg). Both speakers agreed that there has to be no inherent and non-resoulable contradiction between breakthrough inventions and frugal innovations. On the contrary, many breakthrough inventions have a frugal character and vice versa (see, e.g. the talk by Dr. Shyam Vasudeva Rao [from minute 09:31 onwards] or this report of the New York Times on iBreastExam for early detection of breast cancer).

Dr. Rajnish Tiwari used the motto Living in a frugal “AGE” for his presentation, where the term “AGE” was used as an acronym signifying “affordable green excellence”. He emphasized that ecologically sustainable and economically affordable high-quality solutions are no more a mere theoretic “luxury” discussion. Such frugality-based solutions rather constitute an imperative in the race to meet the challenges of sustainable development goals (SDGs) in a world faced with rapdily depleting natural resources. Digital transformation, in his view, is a potent enabler for the frugal AGE.

A cornerstone of his talk was built by the results of an ongoing study titled “Envisioning the Future of teaching and coaching for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship” (ERASMUS+ project, grant number: 612537-EPP-1-2019-1-SI-EPPKA2-KA). This study shows in a particularly impressive way, why frugality and the breakthrough-character of an innovation solution can go hand-in-hand.

Empirical investigations based on mixed-methods (literature review, expert interviews, stakeholder workshops) suggest that the digital transformation possesses an immense potential to promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship crucial to meet the challenges of SDGs and ageing societies as it enables life-long learning in a user-friendly, resource-savvy and effective manner. Reskilling and upskilling can be achieved in a tailor-made (individualized) manner with high quality (e.g. through use of artificial intelligence, virtual reality etc.) with anytime, anywhere formats that substantially redurce the (opportunity) costs for learners while enabling significant economies of scale for providers of such education. Detailed results of the project were later presented at the R&D Management Coneference 2021, where additionally also Prof. John Bessant in his keynote addressed the need for frugal solutions.


In German: Programm des Johanna-Quandt-Wirtschaftsstipendiums 2021