While the rest of the world prefers to complain about the lack of facilities, Vishal Kandukuri went ahead to find a way to turn innovative scientific ideas put forth by students into reality.
They say it is better to light a candle, than to curse darkness. While most people simply complaining about the existing conditions in our country, there are few who would go one step ahead and actually try to bring about a change.
India, the second largest populated country in the world, faces difficulty in providing a proper ecosystem for students in research and development initiatives. If they want to pursue research as their career, most of them are forced to move abroad. Many academicians complain that neither universities nor the government have the funds to promote research.
This is where Vishal Kandukuri, an alumnus of P Indra Reddy Memorial Engineering College, Chevella, decided to step in and bring about a change. He worked towards solving the problem that many students face in the country — inability to turn their innovative scientific ideas into reality. He launched V Adept Energy (VAE), a research organisation that helps innovators, graduates and young scientists in the areas of Physics, Engineering and Renewable energy by providing them with mentorship and possible fund assistance.
Talking about idea, he says, “A country’s development is largely dependent on its ability to innovate things. The rate of innovation is purely dependent on the research capabilities provided. But very little has been done to encourage and utilise the young population for our nation’s growth. The idea is to use young minds to create scientific innovations.”
“Funds are not a major problem for some students. Parents are ready to fund their projects. However, they don’t know how to take their work forward. I was unable to continue my academic research due to lack of direction and mentorship. That is how I decided to set up this company when I was in my first year of engineering in 2008. At the time I neither had money nor the managerial skills,” he adds.
Vishal had to partner with a business firm and work for a couple of years to start V Adept Energy. “To gain managerial skills and to have the necessary funds to turn my idea into reality, I partnered with Coherendz, a business development firm with expertise in developing web-based technology solutions for businesses. I worked as COO for four years, while continuing my engineering and all my earnings were directed towards VAE. In 2010, I moved on to a lesser influential role at Coherendz and launched VAE.
Talking about the challenges he faced, he says, “It was difficult to divide my time between my academics and VAE. The company became a reality at the cost of my studies and health. I would sleep for around five hours and didn’t score my desired percentage in my engineering exam. Getting mentors for the company, who are prolific in different areas like physics, engineering and renewable energy on board is another big challenge. However, overtime we got some like-minded people.”
In 2011, Sai Rakesh, a postgraduate diploma holder in industrial engineering from NITIE partnered with Vishal and joined the company. He is now guiding the company to achieve its objectives. “Rakesh has similar objectives and provides good insight. Together we are trying to drive the organisation,” says Vishal.
He goes on to add, “We are able to support 25 scientific ideas of students and individual innovators by mentoring. We believe this number will significantly increase in the future with awareness and by bringing more mentors on board. We are also trying to expose innovators and aspiring researchers to funding bodies like government, individuals, and companies.”
Although, VAE is a non-profit organisation; it did not raise funds but sustained itself with self-funding from the founders. “We did not raise funds initially but worked together. Now we are in talks with MNCs to support research,” he says.
The organisation is looking for funds to support research and also for mentors, who can devote their time to support the scientific ideas. “There is a high level of transparency; either a person can fund the scientific project or the organisation for its sustenance and everyday operations,” he says.
Talking about his future plans, he says, “We want to have tie ups with global like-minded organisations and work collectively to bring about a change in the country and in the world.”
They also want to organise knowledge seminars, expert talks and lectures through which the research knowledge can be seamlessly shared between aspiring researchers.
Process for mentorship
- Students can put their idea across to VAE by visiting their website.
- Mentors of related research areas will go through the idea and check the potentiality and feasibility of idea.
- Young researchers can reach out to their mentors during mentors’ free time.
- VAE keeps track of the progress from mentors and researchers through out the process.