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University of Toronto launches India Innovation Institute. Rotman Professor appointed inaugural director

Toronto, October 6, 2011 - The study of innovation takes a global step forward yesterday with the launch of the India Innovation Institute at the University of Toronto – a joint venture of the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Rotman School of Management.

“The India Innovation Institute is designed to be a hub for researchers across the university and around the world,” said Professor Janice Stein, Director of the Munk School which will house the institute. “It will bring together faculty and students who are looking at problems of innovation in which India is engaged –and that’s innovation across the spectrum: innovation in technology, innovation in service, innovation in process and social innovation.”

Today, India is a leading global innovator. And by 2050 it is expected to be the fifth-largest economy in the world, with average household income matching that of the United States and UK. Its projected population of 2 billion will make it the largest country in the world.

“We’re looking forward to collaborating on this new initiative as we already enjoy deep ties with many institutions, companies, scholars and students from India,” said Peter Pauly, Vice Dean, Academic, at the Rotman School of Management. “We will also be able to contribute our academic expertise in the management and business aspects of innovation.”

The study of innovation, which attracts researchers in many disciplines, has tended to focus on the experiences of the developed world. The India Innovation Institute will help scholars learn from the innovative practices of organizations in developing countries.

“There is fantastic work being done in India,” said Stein. “And our interest lies in situating that work in a comparative perspective, a global perspective.”

In addition to helping U of T researchers engage with colleagues in India and around the world, The India Innovation Institute will foster new, multidisciplinary collaborations. Professor Dilip Soman, Corus Chair in Communications Strategy and a professor of marketing at Rotman, will be the institute’s inaugural director.

“This is a joint initiative of the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Rotman School of Management,” said Stein. “We are also engaging with colleagues in the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Engineering, the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law. What we’ve learned as we’ve built teams that go into the field is that we each bring a different piece of the picture but when we create these integrated teams we understand the dynamics of innovation in a way that no single perspective would bring.”

Stein said some research projects, including a study on biotech innovation in India and China, are already embedded in the institute.

“And there will certainly be international collaborations that will come out of this, not just with colleagues in India but also three-way partnerships where India is engaged in a trilateral way with researchers in China and Canada,” Stein said. “It’s very exciting and a wonderful way for the University of Toronto to engage with our colleagues in India, in the most dynamic and stimulating piece of what India is doing in the world and what Canada should be doing more of in the world.”