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Nandan Nilekani Donates Rs 315 Cr to Boost IIT-B's Research & Startups

Nandan Nilekani donates Rs 315 crores to IIT Bombay, fueling innovation, research, and deep tech startups. His cumulative support now exceeds Rs 400 crores. Explore the transformative possibilities through the monumental donation!

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Swati Dayal
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IIT Bombay Nandan Nilekani

Nandan Nilekani, the co-founder and chairman of Infosys Ltd and UIDAI announced that he is going to donate Rs 315 crores (USD 38.5 million) to his alma mater, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay and it isn't the first time has done so. The donated funds will play a pivotal role in establishing state-of-the-art infrastructure, fueling research in emerging fields of engineering and technology, and cultivating a thriving ecosystem for deep tech startups at IIT Bombay. 

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With this support, the institute aims to foster innovation, attract top talent, and propel ground-breaking advancements in the field.

Speaking about the donation, Nandan Nilekani said, “IIT-Bombay has been a cornerstone in my life, shaping my formative years and laying the foundation for my journey. As I celebrate 50 years of my association with this esteemed Institution, I am grateful to give forward and contribute to its future. This donation is more than just a financial contribution; it is a tribute to the place that has given me so much and a commitment to the students who will shape our world tomorrow.”

A Longstanding Bond: Nilekani's Association with IIT Bombay

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This substantial contribution builds on his previous grants worth nearly Rs 85 crores.

This year’s contribution brings the cumulative value of his financial support to over Rs 400 crores so far. Today in Bengaluru, Nandan Nilekani and Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri, Director of IIT Bombay, formally signed the Memorandum of Understanding. 

Nandan Nilekani, who pursued a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at IIT Bombay starting in 1973, has now made a remarkable donation to commemorate the golden jubilee of his association with the institute. This generous contribution not only reflects his enduring bond with his alma mater but also stands as one of the largest donations ever made by an alumnus in India.

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In a tweet, Nandan Nilekani said, “To mark 50 years of my association with @iitbombay, I am donating ₹315 crores to my alma mater. I am grateful to be able to do this”.

Pegging it as the beginning of a new era of IIT Bombay, Director Prof. Subhasis Chaudhuri said, “This historic donation will significantly accelerate the growth of IIT Bombay and will firmly set it on a path of global leadership. IIT Bombay is committed to building research and academic excellence that can make India a leader in scientific discovery and its translation towards solving the pressing challenges facing humankind. Nandan’s contribution will catalyse philanthropic contributions towards advancing research & development at universities in India.”

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Fueling Innovation: The Role of Donated Funds in Establishing State-of-the-Art Infrastructure

The donated funds will play a pivotal role in establishing state-of-the-art infrastructure, fuelling research in emerging fields of engineering and technology, and cultivating a thriving ecosystem for deep tech startups at IIT Bombay. With this support, the institute aims to foster innovation, attract top talent, and propel ground-breaking advancements in the field.

Throughout the past five decades, Nilekani has maintained a strong connection with the Institute, assuming various roles and contributing significantly to its growth.

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From 1999 to 2009, he served on the Board of the IIT Bombay Heritage Foundation, demonstrating his commitment to supporting and preserving the institution's legacy. Additionally, Nilekani played a crucial role as a member of the Board of Governors from 2005 to 2011, actively participating in the strategic decision-making processes.

Recognizing his outstanding achievements and contributions, Nilekani received the esteemed Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1999, highlighting his exceptional accomplishments and impact in his field. Furthermore, in 2019, during the 57th convocation of IIT Bombay, he was bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate, further affirming his remarkable achievements and association with the institute.

His initial contribution totalling up to Rs 85 Crores over the years, was instrumental in constructing new hostels, co-financing the School of Information Technology, and establishing India's first university incubator, thereby significantly boosting the Indian start-up ecosystem. 

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Cultivating a Thriving Ecosystem: Support for Deep Tech Startups at IIT Bombay

In line with its vision, IIT Bombay aims to establish cutting-edge centers of excellence in key areas such as artificial intelligence, green energy, quantum computing, and more. By nurturing a thriving ecosystem for deep tech startups and providing top-notch research facilities, living spaces, and academic resources, the institute strives to create an environment conducive to excellence for both students and faculty members.

IIT Bombay’s Plans For Coming Decades

IIT Bombay’s strategic plan for the coming decade includes setting up world-class centres of excellence in strategic areas such as Artificial Intelligence, green energy, quantum computing and others, nurturing a deep tech start-up eco-system, and providing best-in-class research, living, and academic facilities to students and faculty. 

The plan envisages fundraising of about USD 500 million over the next five years. Nilekani’s anchor contribution of USD 38.5 Million will help the Institute kick-start its plans and inspire others to join this transformative initiative.

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