Nikhil Agarwal

CEO, Foundation for Innovation and Research in Science and Technology (FIRST), IIT-Kanpur, India

Nikhil Agarwal is India's foremost innovation and policy expert. He is currently the CEO of the Foundation for Innovation and Research in Science and Technology (FIRST) at IIT-Kanpur. FIRST is responsible for all the incubation, innovation, research and startup activities at IIT-Kanpur. In 2018, he was appointed as vice chairman, Mahaashmita Livelihood Rural Accelerator Program, Government of Maharashtra - a program in joint collaboration with Maharashtra State Rural Livelihoods Mission and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry. In 2017, he was nominated as fellow of IC2 Institute, University of Texas at Austin. In 2014, the Indian Prime Minister urged the Indian diaspora to return to the country to serve the motherland. Nikhil responded to the call to join the government of Andhra Pradesh as chief executive officer of the Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society (APIS) to kick start the statewide innovation agenda between 2015-2017. He was involved in developing large scale innovation projects such as cyber security innovation park, rural innovation labs, incubation centers, startup ecosystem, setup of a INR 1 billion startup fund to name a few. He is instrumental in forging important national and international relationships for the state. Nikhil received an MPhil in technology policy from University of Cambridge and Ph.D. in science & technology studies from University of Edinburgh in United Kingdom


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