AICTE has given directions to the technical institutes and engineering colleges of India to draft a policy of “conflict of interest” for startups that are established by the faculty members. This policy will be helpful in ensuring that the regular duties of these faculty members do not suffer.
The regulator of technical education of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had recently devised a policy for the startups initiated by students of the technical institutes of the country. However, there does not exist a policy for defining the dos and don’ts for the faculty members that are involved in the startups on campuses.
As per the policy for students’ startups, the participation of faculty members in activities related to the startup will be considered legitimate. This will be in addition to research and development projects, teaching, management duties, and industrial consultancy and it will be considered while evaluating the annual performance of the faculty.
A senior official of the AICTE said that norms and regulations should be created by institutes for faculty members who run startups. This will result in better coordination of the institute’s entrepreneurial activities. He also said that only those technologies which originate from within the same institute should be taken for faculty startups. The official further said that the institutes should develop a policy on ‘conflict of interest’ for ensuring that the regular duties and responsibilities of a faculty member do not suffer because of his or her involvement in the activities of the startups.
According to the AICTE, permission is given to the faculty members for setting up their own startups even without the involvement of students but they are required to distinguish the on-going research at the institution from the work done for the startup. The official said that the role of a faculty member may vary from being a direct promoter, owner, consultant, mentor or as an onboard member of the startup. Faculty startup may comprise only the faculty members or students or faculty of other institutions or alumni or other entrepreneurs.
The official added that in case of selection of a faculty startup by an outside accelerator, national or international, leave of one semester or more might be given to the faculty, depending upon the decision made by the review committee of the institute. The committee will also be responsible for deciding if the leave granted will be paid or unpaid.
The startup policy that was notified by the AICTE last month has been developed in order to facilitate the efforts of the HRD Ministry to bring uniformity across higher education institutes. This uniformity will be in terms of technology licensing, intellectual property ownership management, and institutional startup policy.