CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx

ARTICLE


Science in Industry and the Academy


At least 5.1 lakh patent applications were filed in India between 2005-06 and 2017-18, according to the data compiled by the Department of Science and Technology, Govt of India, as part of the latest Science and Technology Indicators (STI 2019-20) released recently. Data shows 76 per cent of these applications were filed by "foreigners resident abroad" and the rest by Indians. The silver lining is that the number of Indian applicants is slowly increasing. Between 2005-06 and 2009-10, 18 per cent of patents were by Indians. This increased to 24 per cent for the next five years and for the three years thereafter, more than 30 per cent of the patents were filed by Indians. At the same time, India improved its ranking in the global innovation index by five places to 52nd in 2019 from 57th position in 2018.

According to a report titled 'R&D Expenditure Ecosystem', the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister said that "India's public investment in R&D as a fraction of GDP has remained stagnant over the last two decades at around 0.6 per cent to 0.7 per cent of GDP and this is well below the major countries such as the United States (2.8 per cent), China (2.1 per cent), Israel (4.3 per cent) and Korea (4.2 per cent). The growth in research and development (R&D) expenditure should be commensurate with the economy's growth and should be targeted to reach at least 2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022".

"To ensure that India leaps into a leadership role in innovation and industrial R&D by stimulating private sector's investment in R&D from current 0.35 per cent of GDP, it is suggested that a minimum percentage of turn-over of the company may be invested in R&D by medium and large enterprises registered in India," the report emphasised.

R&D in science & technology in India suffers, today more than ever, from government underinvestment. This is exacerbated by the fact that India tries to run on the same track as the wealthiest countries and the best endowed institutes in the world. Only a handful of scientists and institutions in India can afford it, and then only by monopolising an unfair share of the country's scant funds. Even these players barely compete with their chosen peers-never really at the top, but "somehow running".

This leaves most researchers and institutions with inadequate resources, and worse, feeling backward.

In terms of big international initiatives, atomic energy and space science, these are two significant investments that the government of India made very early on in the 60s and the dividends are for all to see. Besides, we set up a system for these two areas based on the traditional science model. However, unfortunately, we are not doing so in other areas such as life science or medicine. These are the areas where we need a strategy to improve our ability to compete internationally.

Another obstacle is the slow and complex approval procedures for large experimental programmes in India. The government needs to understand that research is not a question of a few experiments - it requires longer investment. Short-term projects create complications: for instance the Department of Biotechnology's new initiative, the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, works with industry and academia to try and fill some of these gaps. But BIRAC funding is staged funding; it is helpful but the budget is relatively poor.

Is there a dearth of talent in India? Certainly not and today R&D investments, in the private/commercial sector in particular, are today growing at twice the rate of government/public investment.

Is there a dearth of unstoppable achievers and innovators? Yes: because making talent shine takes a culture that is proud of its scientists and a charged intellectual environment that nurtures, mentors and drives them.

The efforts made by a handful of educational institutions such as few IITs, academies and a few others are crucial, but inadequate. The majority of science graduates in India are deprived of meaningful training. At this crucial stage in their careers, they are denied the mentoring required to instil the culture of science and the habit of analytical thinking and free questioning.

And once the scientists are trained? They work with inadequate, ill-maintained equipment, in isolation from stimulating peers, their research not always free from unscientific interference. We need to create an environment that nurtures research.

The quality of infrastructure and ecosystem for innovation in India still leaves much to be desired. Do we concentrate on industrial or fundamental science? The innovation ecosystem needs a knowledge economy driven by fundamental research, and a commercial economy driven by businesses and customers. These economies are interlinked. This also includes the funds for government/public funded research and development derived from taxes.

The bulk of spending, especially for basic research, comes from the government, through channels like direct funding of research facilities, grants to universities and private-sector researchers, contracts for specific projects, and tax subsidies. Without such intervention the private sector may not deem it profitable to invest in basic science and research. They may concentrate only on applied research projects that fetch short-term returns.

From a commercial investor's point of view, the returns from basic research seldom accrue to the inventor, especially if the new knowledge or technology can be copied at low cost. They would want governments to set up an effective intellectual property framework, for exclusive and long-lasting claims to the commercial benefits of their discoveries. Extending and expanding patent rights will also help to strengthen the intellectual property rights regime. Investment in research usually fetches later, but very impactful returns.

Investments in science and technology are not just limited to research and development, but comprise a range of intangible investments that help drive innovation. We need an appropriate level of public and private investment, effective innovation partnerships between businesses and with universities. Maybe private corporations could pool funds together through consortia to address different broad research areas. One way to do this can be to focus public investment on basic research, and private investments on further applied research.

India should also develop enabling policies that money can't buy. Senior researchers working freely with students spot raw material and connect them with more scientific mentors, nurture them and help their careers over decades. In India, researchers generally start being mentored only when they show promise as young principal investigators. Thus, a fresh returnee from a leading postdoctoral lab abroad suddenly becomes all but invisible to key collaborators or contacts at home and elsewhere. This results in the returnee pursuing quality problems fragmented into ever smaller stories for ever more publications, each of lower visibility.

How do we edge towards the big ideas? A top-down, long-term mentorship scheme starting with graduate students could prove useful. Cultivating excellence is a selective process. So it is important also to innovate for an egalitarian system. Outstanding senior scientists, visionaries who care deeply about taking their nation from good to great, must not be neutralised by those intent on preserving the ossified status quo.

India should redevelop scientific ethics and etiquette. The research community should value, for instance, collaboration with small neighbouring colleges or universities instead of recognising only international affliates. India should create a new peer-review system, research publication system and new measures of "impact" - all tailormade for our needs, problems, resources and interests. We need to believe in ourselves and not just chase world rankings - as individuals, as institutions and as a country. Most importantly, we should honour those who work on problems that are crucial to local contexts.

India needs quality multidisciplinary research centres on energy, poverty, malnutrition, health, education, air and water pollution, water conservation, climate change, unseasonal flood, drought, weather forecasts for agriculture, food security and more besides. These centres would also train the next generation of researchers to use holistic approaches. A few IITs and IISc Bangalore, has already established such centres. This step should be emulated nationwide with funding from government and private industry. Germany's Max Planck Institutes provide an ideal governing model, or the many CNRD specialised research centres in universities in France.

Organisations need to make applied research and development relevant to their business while non-government organisations, in addition to the government, need to promote and allocate funds for basic research. The role of such organisations and initiatives, in acting as a catalyst to achieve success in research and development, are pivotal to both national progress and global competitiveness (i.e. Infosys Science Foundation, Ajim Premji Foundation, M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation etc). We should foster collaborations between the government, academicians and the industry and not-for-profits, facilitating the flow of innovations from research centers of universities, to the industry, benefiting a nation's economy and its progress.

Our educational system is a spoilsport in all this. At the fundamental level, a pedagogical change must encourage scientific enquiry amongst children. Curiosity and passion are the two most important keys to becoming a scientist. A solid foundation at the primary and secondary levels of learning can help students enhance their understanding and give them the confidence to pursue research in later years. Unstructured, accommodative and flexible learning coupled with fulfilment of job roles through successful investment in R&D can ignite the spark. Our exam-based system based on regurgitation is a bit of a problem, as the scientific enterprise (even in the human sciences) depends on asking questions.

In addition, we need systemwide policies to promote women into science and technology leadership and research.

To climb out of the economic downturn and arrest disemployment, governments must be proactive in nurturing and encouraging the development of innovation ecosystems that foster basic research within industry and academia.  

ARTICLE

  • The Taj That is India
  • The BJP and Triple Talaq
  • Rohingya: A People Condemned!
  • GLOBALISATION IS THE NEW COLONISATION
  • 9 Key Qs Raised on First Day of Aadhaar Hearing in the Supreme Court
  • A Critical Analysis of Delhi's Human Development Index
  • 3 Army Divisions For 300 Terrorists In JK But No End to Violence: Certainly the Answer Does Not Lie in Force
  • TWO CENTURIES OF BHIMA KOREGAON
  • 'It is Not the Left But the Congress That's the B-Team of the BJP'
  • Kasganj: A Story of People's Unity Fractured by Engineered Hate and Violence
  • Invisible Children Of Delhi
  • India 81 in Corruption Index, Amongst the "Worst Offenders"
  • Economists Hit Out Against Move to Privatise Public Sectors Banks
  • Tripura Trades Decency For False Eldorado
  • Syria's Bloody War
  • Pakistan And China Fill Space In Maldives Willfully Vacated By India
  • The Big Private Crop Insurance Scam: Farmers Par Premium of Rs 482, Receive Rs 5 as Insurance!
  • US Attack on Syria Violates International Law, Total Hypocrisy
  • Death Penalty Is Not The Answer To Sexual Violence: Implement Justice Verma Committee Report
  • Walls on Every Side: Trying to Get Data in India
  • The Ascent of Multi-Politics In Malaysia
  • Why the Objections to Marxism are Mistaken
  • The Rise and Fall of the Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim
  • BDS Has Placed Israel on Notice
  • CURTAIN RAISER: ELECTIONS IN PAKISTAN
  • Can We Promote Peace in India, Today?
  • Burying The Two-State Solution
  • Corruption And Class Rule
  • Is Ethnic Cleansing Coming to India
  • Our Real Heroes
  • Confronting Journalism's Misogynistic Trolls
  • ASSESSING THE RETURN OF AN UNLIMITED PRESIDENCY
  • After 17 Years of War, A Peace Movement Grows in Afghanistan
  • Taking Play Seriously: Time to Make Sports A Fundamental Right!
  • Law Commission Publishes Consultation Paper on Sedition
  • Foreign Policy: Between Folly and Foibles
  • Suu Kyi's Continued Denial And Bangladesh's
  • Economy Crumbles as Fuel Prices Skyrocket, Household Budgets Hit
  • Rupee's New Low: A Dangerous Drift
  • Are We Still Ruled by The British?
  • From Anti-National to Urban Naxal: The Trajectory of Dissent in India
  • Learning the Power of Lies: Facts vs. Falsehoods in the Age of Trump
  • The Indian Economy is in a Tailspin
  • China Walks a Tightrope on The Uighur Muslim Issue
  • Is Ram Mandir a Mere Election Strategy of the BJP?
  • The Harsher Counters of India's Drug Legislations
  • BJP's Election Strategy: Data is the New Opium
  • Geographical Indication - India's Untapped Resource
  • Climate Change to Make Prediction of Furious Storms More Difficult
  • Mountain echoes for India
  • Maldives: Has the Wheel Turned Full Circle?
  • President Sirisena Needs to be Reached Sooner Rather Than Later
  • Plastic Pollution in India
  • Prejudice by Any Name
  • 29 Years After Fall of Berlin Wall, Europe Has 1,000 Km of Walls to Stop Migrants
  • The Leftover Women of Afghanistan
  • Harmony of Music and Politics of Silencing
  • The Economics of Policy: Prohibition and Free Water Supply
  • Threat to Democracy in the Age of Social or Anti-Social Media
  • Intellectual Property- A Vital Discipline
  • What Happened in Britain, and What's Next
  • Assembly Debacle: BJP Got Taken in by Its Own Fake News
  • India: Secular Democracy or Hindu Rashtra
  • Adani is Byword for Government's Climate Inaction as Australia Gears for Elections
  • How The Modi Government is Killing Off MGNREGS
  • The Year of the Gazan
  • Assembly Polls: Ten Crucial Takeaways Ahead of 2019
  • The Real Effects of Fake Propaganda on Migrants
  • Why NGOs in Pakistan Are at The Brink of Extinction
  • Dogged by Brexit
  • In My Own Voice: Citizenship Amendment Bill And You
  • Oil Giant Shell Finally Faces Its Day In Court For Complicity In Rapes And Murders in Nigeria
  • The Geopolitics of Pulwama
  • Shah Faesal Cuts Through Calls for Blood and Lays Out a Roadmap for Kashmir
  • Modi's ABC: Avoiding, Burying, Confusing
  • The Kashmir Question: A 'Made in India' Problem
  • Opposition Must Take a Stand Against the War Politics of Hindutva
  • 'Patriotism' Made Easy in Times of 'WhatsApp Elections'
  • Urban Poor Have Set Agenda for 2019 Elections
  • Will the US End Up Putting Sanctions on Every Country That Doesn't Bend to its Will?
  • Minority and Indigenous Women Human Rights Activists More Prone to Harassment UN Report
  • Tribute to Speaker Rabi Ray (1926-2017)
  • International Participation is Necessary Where State is Part of The Problem
  • Italy Takes Belt and Road to The Heart of Europe
  • The Legacy of Shaheed-e-Azam
  • In My Own Voice: Heroes or Hiroshima
  • The Modi Years
  • Election in Israel: A Race to the Bottom
  • Why Bangladesh Overtook Pakistan
  • Digital Monopoly Platforms, Modi Regime and Threat to Our Democracy
  • Elitism and Development
  • Jawaharlal Nehru and Organised Religion
  • A Brief History of the IUML and Kerla's Muslims
  • The Immunisation of Human Rights
  • How Can India Win The Struggle on Poverty?
  • The RSS's Chanakya Neeti
  • Diversity, Belonging and Multiculturalism
  • The Chinese Ambition
  • The Role City Govts Can Play in the Health of Citizens
  • Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew: Forgotten Warrior of Our Freedom Movement
  • Fighting Climate Change, Building Resilience
  • Mridula Sarabhai(the orignal anti-national)
  • Right to Education: A Dream Half Forgotten
  • Decoding One Nation One Poll
  • Tunisia Heads for Polls Amidst Economic Slowdown, Squsbbling and Crack Down on Islamic Extremist
  • Lynchings, Litchis and No Water: What the International Media is Saying Abount India
  • Blood in the Nile
  • Will the BNP Ever Again be a Major Political Force in Bangladesh?
  • 'Real Estate Brokers' Cannot Dampen The Palestinian Spirit
  • The Indian Liberal's Conundrum
  • Hope For Democracy in Sudan
  • In Depth: Water Crisis Looming Across Tamil Nadu
  • Missing Secularism in New Education Policy
  • Religion, Nationalism And Insurgency in Balochistan
  • Dim Lights, Closed Blinds: History Lessons From a Party in Power
  • Loan Waivers Need Better Designing to Prevent Farmer Suicides
  • Makimg Best Use of Sri Lanka's Strategic Location
  • FDI in Coal: Look Who's Coming to the Party
  • Weapons and the Never Ending Space Race
  • Thirty Years the Berlin Wall Brought Down
  • Reclaiming the Opposition and Political Space in India
  • An Interreligious Conference to Build Bridges in Sri Lanka
  • On 'Correcting' History and Akbar's Invasion of Kashmir
  • The Evolution of the 'Nobel Prize' in Economics
  • Close Coordination Between Turkey and Russia in Syria
  • Sri Lanka's Election Time Promises Costly to Keep
  • The India Economy and The Cobra Effect
  • Fascism: Is Liberal Use "Trivialising" This "Destructive Phenomenon?"
  • Treating the Poor as Development Guinea Pigs
  • A Not sp 'National Education Policy: Analysis Reveals Exclusion in Education Sector
  • University Fee Hikes Pave the Way for Selling Public Assets
  • The Truth About Middle Class 'Revolutions?
  • 50 Years of US Arms Trade: The Lasting Impact on West Asia
  • India Abjures Secularism in Bangladesh's View, Will Regional Cooperation Take a Hit?
  • Amidist Resistance to "De-Tribalisation", A Look at Why Jharkhand Polls are More Critical Than They Appear
  • The Dangerous Game of Citizenship: BJP Creates Divisive Agenda Through NRC
  • Revealed: US Losing Aghan War Due to "Fatally Flawed" War Strategies and Lack of Clear Objetives
  • 'Politics and Prejudice': Can Dalit-Bahujans and left Progressives Join Hands?
  • State Power's Attempts at Rewriting History
  • Afghanista's Tumultous Fourty-Year Journey
  • Nepal: Citizen's Needs Remain Sidelined as Turbulent Game of Politics Continues
  • "Enough is Enough": Secular India Revolts Against a " Majoritarian State"
  • Looking at Cuba's Revolution 61 Years On
  • Soleimani Murder Set to Spiral Out of Control, US Expected to Pressure India Under LEMOA
  • The Rise of Digital Media and The Viral Phenomenon of "Nowledge"
  • Thus Spake JP: Beware the Writing on the Wall
  • Sri Lankan Government Must Pay Attention to Problem-Solving in the North
  • Drowning Nation Clutches at Military Might?
  • India's Neighbourhood First Policy Crumbles
  • A Gobal Assault by the Far-Right
  • Delhi Riots: Historical Patterns, Complicity of Forces Point to Planned Violence
  • Behind The Protests Defending Public Education
  • Putting The Judiciary on Trial
  • "Sanctions Are a Crime": During Coronavirus Pandemic, Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela Causing Medical Shortages
  • Social Messiahs or Smart Entrepreneurs?
  • Justice Gogoi Joining Rajya Sabha Points to a Constitutional Crisis
  • A Russian "Plays Long Game" Firewall for Venezuela Against US Sanctions
  • RSS and the Question of Morality
  • Establishing COVID-19 Hospitals in Record Time
  • A New "Medical Internationalism" Needed: Cuba At the Pandemic Frontlines Even As Wealthy States Neglect Healthcare
  • Why They Suffer: The Human/Animal Conflict
  • More Books and Snowy Mornings
  • Statesmanship Required to Avert Constitutinal Crisis in Sri Lanka
  • Combating 'Hate Virus': Communal Forces Divide in times of Global Pandemin
  • How Biometric Authentication Has Excluded MAny From The Public Distribution System
  • Lessons From Iraq: Before Trump Sues China, US Must pay for Unjust War on Iraq
  • The American War System And The Global 'War of Error'
  • Demilitarising Patriotism in The Covid Fight
  • Muslims Need a Fair Media
  • Sri-Lanka: Shock of Covid-19 Wanes, Nationalist Sentiments Rise as Elections Approach
  • Covid-19 in Brazil: A 21st Century 'Reenactment' of the 19th Century Yellow Fever?
  • Iran's Fuel Tankers for Venezuela Sail to Safety Under 'Chinese Shield'
  • US Protests Bear Lessons For Sri Lanka
  • India and Nepal in For A Prolonged Standoff?
  • The Fifth Schedule: Tribal Advisory Councils and International Perspectives
  • The Asian American Response to Pandemic-Era Racism Must Be Cross-Racial Solidarity
  • Is Police Brutality Exclusive to the USA?
  • Libya's Future Seema to Rest on Arrangements Between Russia And Turkey
  • China's strategic Mind And Method: "Long-Term Planning" Behind Country's Geo-Political Moves
  • Returning Migrants: A Boon For Rural Industrialisation?
  • Why Refugees in Greece Are Afraid of the Word 'Camp'''
  • Black Lives Matter Movement And Its Lessons For India
  • US Provocations Trigger Tension in Sino-American Relations
  • Inclusive Representation Required In Sri Lanka's Decision-Making Bodies
  • Humanists At Risk: Demonising Dissent, Infantilising Society
  • Putin Anticipates 'Cascading Tension', Hints At Need To Rest World Order
  • Why the Neoliberal Agenda Is a Failure at Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
  • Covid-19 Underscores Importance of Local Planning
  • BRI Drive Post-Covid-19 Global Economic Recovery', Claims China
  • Are We Mainstreaming or Simply Trivialising Biodiversity?
  • Is Iran's Influence in Iraq Waning?
  • Green Economic Recovery: A Firm Commitment Required
  • Ease Of Doing Business VS Human Development
  • Provincial Councils The Best Option For A Peaceful Sri Lanka?
  • Revisiting the GDP Paradox
  • Coverange of Ayodhya Sparked "Convenient Collective Amnesia"
  • Prashant Bhushan And The Case of Contempt: "An Example of How Not to Write A Judgment"
  • Strengthening the Capacity of Gram Sabhas
  • Far Right Authoritarian Leaders Have Intensified The Pandemic in Their Countries
  • Congress And The Hindutva Campaign: "The Middle Path is Fast-Disappearing"
  • Trump Faces Backlash at Attempts to Suppress Mail-In Voting
  • Meeting the Covid Challenge to Define Our Nationhood
  • Capitalism's Political Problem: In Constant Conflict With Democracy
  • Anti-CAA Movement: How The 'OutSider' Discourse Dismisses Dissent
  • Centre Shirks Responsibility, "Abandons States" For Political Gain
  • Healing the Health System
  • Emerging Challenges for the International Labour Organisation
  • After Ayodhya, Kashi-Mathura On Temple Politics Agenda?
  • Unlike Today's Farm Bills, Even Britishers' Champaran Agrarian Bill Underwent Legislative Scrutiny
  • Science in Industry and the Academy
  • The US Supreme Court Has Never Been Liberal
  • Coronavirus Pandemic and Recessions: Disastrous for 'White Collar' Jobs
  • What Does Justice Mean Today?
  • Bihar's Political Ennui Can Only be Overcome by the Left
  • Gender Budget: Kerala Leads the Way, The Centre Should Follow
  • The Fight for Right to Information
  • Will Swing Voters Make Bihar Elections a Closer Contest Than Anticipated?
  • AMY Coney Barrett Sworn in as us Supreme Court Judge: Major Victory For the Right Wing
  • Thailand Protests - Youth Demand Greater Democratic Freedom
  • Unemployment a Key Issue in Bihar Elections
  • Capitalists Hungry For Land in Developing Countries Are a Threat to Indigenous Communities
  • Signals From Bihar: BJP and Left 'Sure Winners', Congress 'Neither Here Nor There'
  • Trump Lost But May Continue to Wield His Weapons of Destructions
  • Healing Divisions Post Election is The Challenge
  • 8 'Fruitless' Talks Later: XI Refuses to Budge, Modi in 'No Mood to Ruffle Feathers'
  • A Biden Presidency Hails The Return of The 'Ancien Regime'
  • Locating Nehru's Place In History
  • Why The BJP Has Shifted Focus From 'Congress Mukt Bharat' To Regional Parties
  • As People's Distress Grows, BJP Government is Busy Else where
  • The West Asia Trump Leaves Behind
  • Ambedkar's Vision Stands In Agonising Contrast to the Babri Masjid Demolition
  • Diversity in Nation Building: Recognising the Role of The Minority
  • Farmers Turn the Spotlights on Big Business
  • America's Vaccine Paranoia
  • Afghanistan: Despite US-Taliban Agreements, Peace Remains Elusive
  • ‘MOVE UP OR MOVE OUT’: THE ENTRY OF CORPORATES WILL RENDER THE SMALL FARMERS DEFENSELESS
  • DESPITE DIFFERENCES, AGRICULTURAL WORKERS RESIST NEW LAWS WITH FARMERS
  • JUDGES’ LAPSES
  • ONLINE VIOLENCE GROWS AGAINST WOMEN JOURNALISTS
  • THE YEAR THAT WAS: PEOPLE’S RESISTANCE BUILDS AGAINST HOSTILE GOVERNMENT
  • Kisan Protests Are More About Survival of the Peasantry
  • CENTRAL VISTA PROJECT: “CIRCUS AND THEATRE” IN LIEU OF “BREAD AND JOBS”?
  • FARM LAWS WILL LEAD TO RISE OF NEW ‘MIDDLEMAN’ - THE CEOS OF THE OLIGARCHY
  • REPUBLICANS MUST GET IN LINE, THEY CREATED THIS MONSTER
  • Kamalji - Goodbye My Friend!
  • Condolence Message for Mr Kamal Morarka
  • Global dynamics in 2021
  • Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan: Muslims for Composite Indian Nationalism
  • Rajapaksas Regime Under Multiple Pressures
  • Coup Attempt in Jordan Leaves a Trail
  •