Leveraging bionanotechnology for sustainable and inclusive growth: New CFI publication


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

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.

Bahnbrechende Erfindungen oder erschwingliche Exzellenz?

Am 2. Juli 2021 organisierte die Johanna-Quandt-Stiftung anlässlich des Johanna-Ouandt-Wirtschaftsstipendiums 2021 eine Paneldiskussion mit dem Titel “Von bahnbrechenden Erfindungen und erschwinglicher Exzellenz – unterschiedliche Innovationsansätze im Dialog” und der Beteiligung des CFI. Die Diskussion fand in der Form eines Auftaktpanels für die zwei-tägige Präsenzveranstaltung in Bad Homburg mit geladenen Gästen statt. Diskutanten waren Frau Barbara Diehl (SprinD GmbH – Bundesagentur für Sprunginnovationen) und Dr. Rajnish Tiwari (Center for Frugal Innovation der Technischen Universität Hamburg, und Hochschule Fresenius, Hamburg). Die beiden Diskutanten betonten, dass es keinen inhärenten Widerspruch zwischen bahnbrechenden Erfindungen und frugalen Innovationen geben muss. Damit kann eine innovative Lösung durchaus gleichzeitig frugal und bahnbrechend sein. Denke man in etwa an die vielen Lösungen im Gesundheitsbereich (siehe beispielsweise den Vortrag von Dr. Shyam Vasudeva Rao [ab Minute 09:31] oder diesen Bericht der New York Times über iBreastExam für die Früherkennung von Brustkrebs).

In seinem Impulsvortrag unter dem Motto Living in a frugal “AGE” hebte Dr. Tiwari hervor, dass ökologisch nachhaltige und ökonomisch erschwingliche hochwertige Lösungen in den kommenden Jahren unerlässlich sind und damit den Imperativ frugaler Innovation bilden. Er verwendet das Akronym AGE für “Affordable Green Excellence”, die z.B. durch die digitale Transformation ermöglicht wird.

Den Kern seines Vortrages bildeten die Ergebnisse des am Institut laufenden ERASMUS+ Projektes “Envisioning the Future of teaching and coaching for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship” (Förderkennzeichen: 612537-EPP-1-2019-1-SI-EPPKA2-KA). Denn die erzielten Erkenntnisse scheinen auch das bahnbrechende Potenzial frugaler Innovation zu besitzen.

Empirische Untersuchungen aus diesem Projekt, die auf Literaturanalysen, Experteninterviews und mehreren Workshops basieren,zeigen, dass die digitale Transformation ein immenses, nahezu disruptives Potenzial für die Förderung der Kreativität, Innovation und Entrepreneurship besitzt, indem sie lebenslanges Lernen (Reskilling und Upskilling) in ressourcenschonender Weise, insbesondere was Zeit, Aufwand und Kosten anbelangt, ermöglicht. Lernende können sich neue Kompetenzen maßgescheinedert nach eigenen Wünschen und Bedürfnissen (“anytime, anywhere education”) aneigenen. Damit wird ein besonderer Bezug zur “affordable green excellence” hergestellt. Die Ergebnisse wurden später detaillerter auf der R&D Management Coneference 2021 vorgestellt.

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