Research funding up in IITs,IIT-B sees 77% jump

Lack of funding may be hampering research at the Indian Institutes of Technology and also their world rankings.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai | Published: July 3, 2011 12:31 am

Lack of funding may be hampering research at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and also their world rankings,but figures reveal that research funding at IIT Bombay has gone up by nearly 77 per cent in 2010-’11 as compared to the previous academic year. Human Resources Minister Kapil Sibal had recently said that India’s annual research funding is $8 billion a year. This is considerably small when compared to research funding in the US ($250 billion) and China ($60 billion).

As compared to Rs 102 crore in 2009-’10,the research funding from government agencies,industry and others stands at around Rs 180 crore in 2010-’11 at IIT Bombay. Around 229 projects were initiated in 2010-’11.

“This includes Rs 153 crore from government agencies,Rs 22.2 crore from the industry and remaining from other sources. It includes international funding to the tune of Rs 9.5 crore. While the rise in contribution from the industry is not significant (last year it was Rs 19 crore),it is nonetheless encouraging. What is further important is that we are getting more number of projects worth over Rs 1 crore,” the office of the dean of research and development,IIT Bombay,said.

The sponsors include MHRD,Ministry of New and Renewable Energy,Department of Science and Technology,Indian Space Research Organisation,Ambuja Cements,Unilever Industries,TTSL,Samsung Industries,Yahoo India,Noikia Siemens Network-Germany,Xerox Corporation-USA and National Securities Depository Limited-India.

Faculty members said it showed that both government bodies and the industry were becoming more responsive and was reposing faith in the ability of IITs to deliver results. “Even in 2010,the funding was up by 40 per cent; it increased from Rs 72.8 crore in 2008-’09 to Rs 102 crore in 2009-’10. The overall trend is thus very promising and shows that research and development is increasingly gaining importance in India. A similar growth can be seen in patenting and publications at IIT Bombay,so research is on the right path,” said a senior professor at IIT Bombay.

The number of Indian patent applications went up from a little less than 10 in 2006-’07 to 56 in 2010-’11 at IIT Bombay.

A similar trend can be seen in other IITs too. At IIT Delhi,for instance,research funding has gone up from Rs 40 crore in 2006 to Rs 120 crore currently. “We have seen a three-fold jump in the last five years. A majority of the funds,however,come from the government agencies,Department of Science and Technology and several ministries. Research and development in most Indian industries is not at the same level as it is internationally. Hence,contribution from the industrial sector is still much smaller,” said Surendra Prasad,IIT Delhi director.

Agrees IIT Guwahati director Gautam Barua. He said while the institute had got several big projects in the past two years,it is largely from government agencies and a major change is yet to be seen in the corporate sector. “As the Indian economy is growing,more money is now available with government bodies. We get substantial funding from public sector undertakings (PSUs). Funds also come from the medium and small scale industries. ”

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