(September 30, 2022) It was in 2021 April that SKAN (Scientific Knowledge for Ageing and Neurological ailments), a non-profit focused on medical research related to aging and neurological disorders was set up. The same year it announced a grant of ₹20 crore to Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee to sponsor a Chair Professorship, three Faculty Fellowships, create a lab and also to fund joint research projects.
Ashok Soota, who is the CEO of Happiest Minds Ltd and the chairman of SKAN, is also an alumnus of IIT Roorkee. “I’m delighted to have this opportunity to give back to my alma mater through this grant. There is negligible private funding towards medical research in India and I was pleased to see that IITR is doing excellent work in this area,” Soota said in a statement. “I see this as a good opportunity for me to contribute and also fulfill these needs of IIT-R,” he added.
Along with sponsoring Chair Professorship and Faculty Fellowships. the grant will also be used to establish a wet-lab in IIT-Roorkee. “After a long gap, we are seeing an India-based IIT alumnus make such a generous grant to his/her IIT. Through this gesture, Mr. Soota has also made a beginning in terms of directing private funding to support medical research in India,” said Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, director, IIT Roorkee.
With a career spanning over four decades in the technology sector, Ashok Soota has headed three leading IT companies and taken two of them public. After working with Wipro, he moved to start his own company with IT provider Mindtree, and later loved out of it to set up Happiest Minds in 2011, which he is now planning to take to the Dalal Street for a debut in the next five years with an IPO.