The Trident Approach To Making India An R&D Powerhouse

Source: The post is based on thearticle “The Trident Approach To Making India An R&D Powerhouse” published in The Times of Indiaon 24thMarch 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 –Science and Technology

Relevance: measures needed to boost R&D in India

News: The article discusses the problems with scientific research in India and measures needed to boost R&D in India.

What are the problems with scientific research in India?

First,India wants to become a technological expert without focusing on scientific research, which is impossible. For example, without Einstein’s theory of relativity, our GPS devices would have been inaccurate by about eleven kilometres.

Second, India lacks incorporating its scientific research with universities. It is necessary to incorporate because scientific research is complex and cyclical. It needs expert scholars to dive in their thoughts on research for its successful practical working.

Third, India’s past regulatory regime didn’t differentiate between universities meant for carrying research and for teaching.

However, all these concerns have been addressed by National Education Policy 2020.

How did National Education Policy 2020 address the problems?

NEP 2020 tackles all three issues by categorizing India’s higher education system in three tiers – 1) Research universities (full spectrum, strong PhD programmes, small numbers), 2)Universities (focus on undergraduate and master’s degrees), and 3)Colleges (focus on undergraduate degrees with large numbers and low costs).

However, in order to achieve these targets a proper approach would be needed.

What can be done tofor proper implementation of the NEP 2020’s categorization?

Clustering: It involves drafting a budget that would merge city-wide scientific institutions into a single university while keeping identity and autonomy of the individual institutions.

The cluster would work together and have expertise and scale in research strategy, academic excellence, global collaboration, fund generation, etc. This would tackle the problem of university research in silos.

University engagement: Universities conducting research should be engaged with the relevant companies. It is important because 71% of global R&D spending comes from them.

For example, US and China’s R&D spending is 36 and 16 times more than India’s because their companies and universities work together.

Financing: It involves establishing the National Research Foundation (NRF) to provide universities with merit-based research funding under its supervision while also taking monetary risks on the research.

Must Read: Research and Development in India: Status, Challenges and Recommendations

What can be the way ahead?

Foreign weapon purchases have decreased by 11% since 2013, owing to the growth of R&D in defense, but there is still more to be done to limit weapon imports. This can be accomplished by providing financing for university research.

Moreover, bringing science and technology to universities will also boost size of India’s domestic defence industry, industry-creating startups, and universities.

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