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Indians Win Global Indus Technovators Award
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Indians Win Global Indus Technovators Award  
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Sunday, January 22, 2006 The Indian Business Club at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has honoured 10 young innovators and entrepreneurs of South Asian origin with 2005 Global Indus Technovators Awards.

This year's outstanding winners, a diverse mix of academic researchers, business executives and social entrepreneurs, have been chosen in four broad categories: biotechnology/medicine/healthcare; materials and devices, information technology and grassroots technology.

The awardees in the area of information technology are Pravin Bhagwat, founder and CTO, AirTight Networks, and Rizwan Virk, co-founder and CTO, CambridgeDocs.

Pravin, based in Pune and recognised as a wireless networking pioneer, conceived and built first-of-a-kind outdoor Wi-Fi network, connecting two cities and several villages in North India. Through his work, he has proved that a low-cost solution to rural connectivity problem is possible. This network, currently operational, enables residents of a remote north Indian village to make affordable voice calls everyday.

Rizwan, a Pakistani-American technology visionary based in Boston, through his company, provides a Java-based, cross-platform technology for repurposing existing unstructured and semi-structured content and readying it for multi-channel publishing. Once transformed, the content can be made available for delivery through XML-based Web Services.

In the biotechnology/medicine/healthcare category, the award was shared by Ravi Bellamkonda, professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, Nimmi Ramanujam, associate professor, Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University, and Krishnendu Roy, assistant professor at University of Texas, Austin. Their laboratories work towards developing novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies to combat life-threatening human ailments, such as cervical and breast cancer, peanut allergy and scars.

Amit Goyal, scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and Yagyensh Pati, co-founder and CEO, Numerical Technologies, Inc., bagged the honours in the category of materials and devices. As seminal leaders in the area of advanced materials and semiconductors respectively, they have made path-breaking contributions in high performance super-conducting wires and the manufacture of semiconductor devices.

The two winners in the area of grassroots technology are Balaji Sampath (India) and Association for India's Development (AID), Chennai; and Vikram Sheel Kumar and Vishwanath Anantraman, co-founders, Dimagi, Inc. Sampath and AID Chennai have made important and noteworthy contributions in devising sustainable models for healthcare, computer education and information centres in Indian rural areas. One of its project, Arogya Iyakkama, was recently adjudged one of the ten best projects in the world by UNICEF.

Vikram and Anantraman, through their firm Dimagi, design intelligent data systems to immediately address real world global health issues such as HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health and diabetes. Vikram has earlier been honoured with `Ten outstanding Young Americans Award' and was recently named `Global Indian of the Year for 2005' by the Times of India.

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