CSR Incubator

Kishore Shah

The writer speaks about a 21st century healthcare solution through visionary philanthropy

In this era of the pandemic, it is absolutely imperative for our country to develop a strong base in clinical research but it is easier said than done.

Modern day cutting edge clinical research involves integration and confluence of three sciences namely basic sciences, engineering and technology and clinical sciences.

Medical schools in the US and Europe have successfully integrated these three disciplines and created educational ecosystem resulting into tremendous breakthroughs but has also accelerated in building an emerging business ecosystem which opened up a global market. A prime example is the development of mRNA vaccine for covid-19, this was developed based on the research conducted at Pennsylvania Medical school and had a huge impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.

What does it demonstrate?

That a medical school which is predominantly assumed to confine to clinical curative (largely reactive) service and impart stereotype medical education like conveyor belt mode if transformed by creating confluence of the three disciplines namely pure sciences, engineering and technology and clinical sciences can create a global impact and equally push a strong sustainable business ecosystem to deliver ‘more for less for more’.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to build such integrated educational ecosystem in our country largely because these three disciplines namely basic sciences, engineering technology and clinical sciences operate in silos and they are often practiced in different institutions like AIIMS, JIPMER, IIT, NIT which hampers the performance of sustainable high end medical research in the country there by slowing down the growth, evolution of ‘MEDTECH’ segmentan emerging industry sector.


IISc, a 112 years old pre-eminent research institution for Science and Engineering based at Bangalore was the first to sense this need to build a medical school which will integrate all the three streams – basic sciences, engineering and technology and clinical sciences.The Visionary Director Dr. Govindam Rangarajan and his team set out to create a blueprint with no legacy to guide them. The team reached out to experts worldwide, the core of this initiative was to provide quality and affordable healthcare for patients, quality medical education and state-of-the-art research to build innovative solutions. To do all this, the team would need a certain required quantum for advanced diagnostic research which called for a minimum 800 bedded super specialty hospital alongside state-of-the-art labs, world class faculties, funds for internship etc.

The project projection grew exponentially both in terms of complexity, financial outlay as it unfolded from concept to Blueprint. Enthusiasm coupled with anxiety and at times its humongous nature was exhaustive and overwhelming but the team at IISc were all set to break the ceiling, their determination, zeal and energy could not be eclipsed even when they realised that the entire project cost was in tune of INR 900 crores!

It is rightly said that if you desire something passionately the entire universe conspires to make it happen. The IISc team started to network with the community and in one such outreach they were introduced to Parthasarathy, Founder of MindTree Consulting and his better half Radha, who were exploring to fund education and healthcare projects under CSR/philanthropy.

The entire concept of Medical Research School resonated and energised them to an extent that Parthasarathy roped in Subroto Bagchi, co-founder MindTree and his better half Sushmita Bagchi. The quadrant met the IISc team and the entire atmosphere was charged with energy, joy of co-creation, the shared values bonded them instantly and created the required momentum to propel the project. The overall feeling was of building an institution which will shape the history of science and transform the healthcare.

The outcome of their discussions, deliberations was that both Parthasarathy and Bagchi family assured a donation of `425 crores! A single largest funding ever received by IISc in several decades and this may also be the single largest donation given to any academic institution in India by a donor who is not running that academic institution.

The project is moving ahead for ground breaking in April and aims to launch academic program (dual degree MD – Research and PhD program/dual degree MD-MTech) which will steer the post-graduate students to do clinical research in India.

The PG students will be rotated in all the three verticals – the biology lab, nanotechnology and computers (data sciences and AI) for few months, so as to enable them to explore the area of research. They will spend the next four to five years both in hospital focusing on patient care and also at research labs almost on a daily basis and this is a perfect recipe for bringing out innovative solutions, the first batch is likely to be inducted in June 2024.

What can we learn, internalise and implement from this unique visionary philanthropic initiative?

We are at crossroads in Goa, a new Government will soon take over and will have next five years to reinvent, rejuvenate the state, coupled with a new Chief Secretary and a renewed hope among the community.

We have Goa Medical College, Asia’s first medical school, now armed with a super specialty hospital, we have GEC, NIT, IIT and Goa University which has a rich legacy for offering courses in pure sciences under leadership of a new VC.

Goa is also a pharma hub with 28 plus units, few of them have global research centres and a promising MSME cluster.

Goa now has excellent infrastructure with six lanes highways, two international airports, ports and extremely conducive socio-economic and cultural indicators making it a perfect place to replicate such projects and programs.

Goa’s population density, blessed with bio diverse nature, topography makes it an ideal place to build something similar.

Parthasarthy-Bagchi Hospital in IISc is a picture-perfect example of welfare based growth and development. It is an offshoot of simple awareness of felt needs, community involvement and long term focus towards prosperity and well-being of all the stakeholders.

Such interventions not only create diverse and inclusive employment opportunities but they support existing industrial clusters, MSME and startups and since their impact is global, it rubs one and all to raise the bar leading towards sustained prosperity and building a ‘MEDTECH’ industry segment.

The CSR and philanthropy in Goa is still in nascent stage, the intent is good but it clearly lacks in fundamentals which I will touch upon in my next articles, there is no doubt that philanthropy and CSR in Goa has a huge untapped potential.

Goa is blessed with philanthropists who have contributed towards education /sports/art in past but now we need a paradigm shift and a more integrated and long term approach in CSR and philanthropy.

I am sure as you read this article you may be inclined to try out something similar it would be a measure of success. But as a philanthropist/CSR head if you truly and seriously understand the underlying principles and fundamentals through the story of ‘Parthasarathy- Bagchi Hospital – IISc’ and then chart your CSR initiatives.

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