Finding Innovative & Creative Solutions for Society (FICS) is a NUST’s flagship program which, for the past 08 years, continues to promote innovative ideas with high social impact. FICS ’21 was launched on December 02, 2020, with yet another exciting chapter for this year. During November-May 2021, CAC conducted 6 Idea Generation sessions to stimulate the innovative thinking process of the students. To spark such thinking, various Industry Experts conducted these sessions online. Despite the Covid situation, a total of 257x ideas were submitted from 17x NUST Schools and Colleges across 16x SDGs.
During Stage 2, a new Evaluation App was developed and has also been made live on the FICS website (fics.nust.edu.pk). IP awareness sessions for all NUST schools / colleges were organized between March 10 – 12, 2021 timeframe. These sessions highlighted importance of IP filing in the context of FICS. Stage 2 Evaluations were conducted virtually during Mar- April 2021, where 168 projects presented their ideas to a panel of 40 Industry and Alumni Judges. 61 out of 168 teams were eventually shortlisted for the final round of the competition, held at the Jinnah Auditorium on Thursday June 10th, 2021 where they demonstrated working prototypes of technology-based innovative solutions to a panel of 29 industry judges. The top teams were awarded a six-month free incubation space at TechOne – NUST’s Incubation Centre.
President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), Mr. Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, joined us on the Grand Finale and Closing Ceremony of FICS 2021. He commended the efforts of NUST for building trust between industry and university. Mr. Vardar was extremely pleased with the quality of prototypes displayed at Stage 3. He assured NUST of his complete support and continued interaction to take this initiative to new heights.
Addressing the audience, the Chief Guest, Dr Rizwan Riaz, NUST Pro-Rector Research, Innovation & Commercialization (RIC) particularly urged S&T universities to play an instrumental role in bringing about improvements to the standard of lives of communities at large through technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship. He said FICS is a perfect example of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, consisting of many critical components, working efficiently in unison to create the desired output. He complimented the winners and runners-up for pulling through the rigorous 3-stage competition and acknowledged the efforts of faculty supervisors and the management of NUST Schools and Colleges. He also made a special announcement that FICS 2022 will be an international level competition.
Apart from the Prototype Development Fund (PDF) sponsored by the NRTC, FICS is fortunate to have patronage from a diverse set of industries, which includes seed fund for the promising projects. FICS ’21 sponsors and partners included NRTC, Central Asian Cellular Forum (CACF), Grana, SI Global Pvt. Ltd. engineering Pvt. Ltd. Arkhitech, and Alfoze Technologies Pvt Ltd.
The author is working as Manager, at Corporate Advisory Council, Research, Innovation & Commercialisation (RIC) Directorate, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) and can be reached at email@example.com.