National Innovation Foundation – India

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Nif logo.jpg

Type: Autonomous Body of Department of Science and Technology, Government of India
Established: 2000
Employees: 150
Address: PO Amrapur, Gandhinagar, Gujarat India

National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. It was set up in February 2000 at Ahmedabad, Gujarat to provide institutional support for scouting, spawning, sustaining and scaling up the grassroots innovations across the country.


NIF conducts a biennial national competition[1] for grassroots green technologies, developed by farmers, mechanics, artisans and others, through their own genius, without any recourse to professional help. NIF then gets these innovations validated with the help of experts and ascertains the novelty in these innovations by conducting Prior Art Search (PAS). If the innovation is deemed novel, NIF files a patent on behalf of the innovator in his/her name. NIF also funds value-addition initiatives in these innovations to upscale them and make them more useful for a larger segment of people.

To determine the feasibility of the commercialising of technology, NIF conducts market research and test marketing. The technologies which are found to be commercially viable are licensed to willing entrepreneurs.

Being organised since 2008, IGNITE[2] is an annual competition for student’s ideas and innovations conducted by NIF in partnership with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). Some state education boards also partner in the same. All students up to Standard 12 from any school (and of the same age group but out of school) in India are eligible to participate in the competition. The IGNITE awards[2] are announced on October 15, the birthday of Bharat Ratna Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, which is celebrated as the Children's Creativity and Innovation Day by NIF. In 2015, IGNITE competition was renamed as Dr A P J Abdul Kalam IGNITE competition.

NIF is mandated to build a national register of ideas, innovations and traditional knowledge (TK) practices related to agriculture, plants, animal health and human health. NIF has been able to scout and document over 3,10,000 examples of technological ideas, innovations and traditional practices.[3] Since its inception, NIF has also recognised over 847 grassroots innovators, young students and outstanding traditional knowledge holders in its various national awards, providing them a platform to showcase their creativity. Through the collaborations with various research and development (R&D) and academic institutions, agricultural and veterinary universities and others, NIF has helped in getting thousands of grassroots technologies validated and value-added. It has also set up a Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) for product development, apart from strengthening in-house research and development facilities for the initial validation of herbal technologies. Pro bono arrangement with patent firms has helped NIF file over 1040 patents (including eight filed in the USA and 28 Patent Cooperation Treaty applications) on behalf of the innovators and outstanding traditional knowledge holders. Of these 72 patents have been granted in India and five in the USA. In the same time period NIF has filed up to 21 Design registrations for innovations of the grassroots and student innovators.

NIF has also filed applications for 71 plant varieties developed by farmers at the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers' Rights Authority (PPV&FRA). Of these, 9 have successfully been registered. In addition to this 10 trade mark applications have also been filed.

NIF has transferred 109 technologies to different licensees. The grassroots-to- global (g2G) model that NIF is propagating is set to change the way the world looks at creativity and innovations at grassroots.

NIF has set up a Technology Business Incubator (NIF) - NIF Incubation and Entrepreneurship Council (NIFientreC),[4] which is a Technology Business Incubator (TBI) incorporated with the financial support from Department of Science and Technology (DST). Its objective is to nurture grassroots innovators and technology with the help of youth in a ‘sanctuary of innovation’ distributed all over the country through ex and in situ incubation by hand holding, mentoring, linking them with designers, fabricators, contract manufacturers etc., to convert innovation into social and/or economic enterprise by connecting these with investments. 14 grassroots innovation based enterprises have been successfully registered as start-ups recognized by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Govt. of India as a part of incubation activity under NIFientreC.


  1. ^ "Announcement - National Innovation Foundation - India".
  2. ^ a b "Dr A P J Abdul Kalam IGNITE Awards - National Innovation Foundation-India".
  3. ^ "Scouting, Documentation and Database Management (SDDM) - National Innovation Foundation-India".
  4. ^ "NIFientreC - National Innovation Foundation-India".