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Rajendra Lagu Fellowships for Technology Immersion

- A prestigious fellowship program of the Venture Center -


  • For whom: Current or recent students of engineering and technology
  • Project: Sharply focused technology projects; Part of the project needs to involve developing a commercialization/ business plan
  • Project duration: Minimum 2 months
  • Host: Project needs to be one offered by a start-up/entrepreneur in the Venture Center innovation ecosystem or POC Project Manager at Venture Center
  • Training: The project shall begin with a short training by Venture Center mentors on technology development and commercialization.
  • Stipend: Venture Center shall provide a subsistence stipend for the fellows. Venture Center shall fund a hot desk on our campus for the fellows.
  • Certificate: All fellows who complete the program successfully will get a Certificate of Award and Completion.
  • Number of fellowships per year: 3 max
  • Launched: 16 March 2015
In honour

Dr Rajendra Lagu

Late Member of Board of

Directors of Venture Center;

Founding member, SINE at IIT-B;

Founding member, ISBA.


Innovation/ Incubation Expert.


  • (24 Nov 2023) Applications open throughout the year. Calling Applications for 2024 fellowships.
  • (1 July 2015) Call for applications 2015. Applications open throughout the year.


The Rajendra Lagu Fellowships for Technology Immersion is a fellowship scheme for young engineering students instituted by the Venture Center (located at National Chemical Laboratory, Pune) with the aim of providing exposure to and immersion opportunity for hands-on technology development and technology entrepreneurship. Dr Rajendra Lagu was passionate about transforming engineering education in India and imparting depth and experiential learning to students. Dr Lagu was also a keen supporter of entrepreneurs and incubators. This fellowship aims to honor his memory by supporting a theme close to his heart. The fellowship has been instituted at Venture Center, thanks to a donation by the Premnath family & Mr. Maninder Gulati.


  • To provide young engineering students an opportunity to work on a technology development project in a research environment and learn/ explore avenues for taking technology to the market. To provide an opportunity for students to work closely with a technology entrepreneur.
  • To support and encourage technology development and commercialization efforts by start-ups and entrepreneurs in the innovation ecosystem of Venture Center.
  • To help young engineers explore and experiment with career opportunities in technology startups.

Eligibility criteria:

  • For the applicant:
    • Current undergraduate student or student recently finishing undergraduate studies in engineering/technology
    • Applicants with strong interest in technology. Track record and previous experience tinkering with technology, building prototypes, conceptualizing solutions to problems will be a plus.
    • Students showing evidence of leadership and resourcefulness will be given preference.
  • For the type of project:
    • The larger project has to be focused on technology development/ advancement or prototype development or proof-of-concept establishment/ validation.
    • The student project can be a part of the larger project.
    • Typical projects will have one or more of the following components: a) a problem/ need, b) a proposed solution, c) a strategy to demonstrate that the solution works, d) activities to advance the technology towards commercialization.
    • The project needs to core to a start-up in the Venture center’s innovation ecosystem or help create a new start-up.
  • For the host and technical mentor:
    • The host/technical mentor for the project needs to be an entrepreneur in Venture Center’s innovation ecosystem and network. The POC Project Manager at Venture Center shall also qualify for initiating such proposals/ applications.
    • The host/technical mentor needs to have adequate facilities and research funding to support other costs and resource needs of the project.

Benefits for the applicant:

  • Experiential learning opportunity in internship mode with an experienced technical mentor
  • Short training sessions on Venture Center’s concepts and framework for technology development and commercialization
  • Certificate of Award and Completion from the Venture Center for receiving and completing the Rajendra Lagu Fellowship.
  • Subsistence stipend for the fellows

Benefits for the host/technical mentor:

  • Opportunity to engage young and energetic engineers/engineering students on exploring and developing the technology development and commercialization case. Opportunity to zoom-out and explore the larger picture.
  • Opportunity to identify young people who might be interested in taking the technology ahead as entrepreneurs.
  • Overhead support for the fellow

How to apply:

  • Applicants need to first get in touch with entrepreneurs/startups in the Venture Center innovation ecosystem to identify suitable projects for undertaking during the fellowship period. A list of companies affiliated to Venture Center can be found at
  • Applicants can apply anytime during the year.
  • Apply to the contact person given below with the following 5 documents:
    1. Resume or CV
    2. Summary of proposed technology project (max 1 page)
    3. Summary of what will be scope of work that the applicant plans to carry out during the fellowship period (max 1 page)
    4. Short essay on the applicant’s career goals and aspirations (max 500 words)
    5. Letter of support and recommendation by the host/technical mentor
  • The Venture Center management team shall review all applications, and carry out phone interviews with the applicants and/or hosts/technical mentors.
  • The results shall be announced within 3 weeks of receiving the application.

Other notes:

  • Venture Center reserves the right to offer more or less number of fellowships per year and/or decide on fellowship durations as per need so as to maximize impact of the program.
  • Venture Center reserves the right to make changes to the program from time to time based on learning from the program.
  • The Venture Center reserves the right to combine the Rajendra Lagu Fellowships with other fellowships/ internships (or supplement other fellowships/ internships) as long as there is no conflict of interest or commitment between the two.

Contact person:

Human Resources Department
Venture Center
100, NCL Innovation Park
Dr Homi Bhabha Road
Pune - 411008
Phone: 9172232215

Fellows: Past

YearNameAcademic BackgroundStartup / Innovator / Mentor Worked with
2015Nikita SurveMS( Material Science ) from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), NY, USA
B.Tech (Polymer Engineering) from Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), Pune, India
Dr. Nilay Lakhkar
CEO, Synthera
2018Aditya suru B Tech (Chemical Engineering) from IIT- Guwahati, IndiaMr. Tanuj Gigras
CEO, Nayam Innovations
2018Anirudh NairSocial Science and Business (Double Major, Bachelor's) from Minerva Schools. SF, USAMs. Aishwarya Nair
(Social Innovation Immersion Program Fellow)
2019Deepika DixitB.Des, Product Design from MITID, Loni, PuneYashoda Padhye
(Social Innovation Immersion Program Fellow)
2021Vaidehi LondheMSc (Biotech) from IBB, UoPMr. Chinmay Khare
CEO, WissenKraft Labs Pvt Ltd
2022Aayushree GhorpadeB. Tech (Textile Technology) from VJTI, MumbaiMs. Divyakshi Kaushik
CEO, Anatomech Pvt Ltd


This fellowship has been instituted by Venture Center thanks to a donation to the corpus of Venture Center by:

Dr Premnath V.

Dr Manisha Premnath.

Mr. Maninder Gulati.
Maninder Gulati, an alumnus of IIT Bombay was mentored by Dr. Lagu. Dr. Lagu was instrumental in helping him in activities at The Entrepreneurship Cell or popularly known as e-Cell IIT Bombay