IITB Central Library 2.0 Service

IITs eyeing higher corporate funding for their research projects

Posted on: September 8, 2011

Source: Economic Times

MUMBAI: The Indian Institutes of Technology, India’s premier technology institutes, are eyeing higher corporate funding for their research projects. IITs want to decrease their dependence on government research grants and look attractive to corporates for research tie-up.

While IIT Bombay’s research fund grew by 80% to 180 crore from 100 crore last year, only 22 crore came from the private industry. “Although our research is funded predominantly by the government, the funds from the industry are growing much faster and we are focusing on that. We want to have to have a broader linkage with the industry,” says Professor Rangan Banerjee, Dean of R&D at IIT Bombay.

And they are doing this with support in setting up research laboratories, creating collaborative projects between faculty and students and getting research projects sponsored. IIT Kharagpur’s research fund has been hovering between 120 and 170 crore for the last five years, but the institute expects the number to grow. It has attracted 120 crore funding from Damodar Valley Corporation to carry out advanced research in power technology. “We are making concentrated efforts to make IIT Kharagpur a hub for innovation,” said Professor Chakraborty, dean of Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy (SRIC) at the institute.
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Professor Banerjee of IIT Bombay says the institute want to sustain a 40% growth in R&D fund year-on-year after having doubled forecast. IIT Madras too is expecting to increase its research fund to 200 crore this year from 150 crore in the last financial year. The institute has already clocked in 120 crore this year.

These institutes are also promoting research at the college level. IIT Delhi invites students to spend the summer doing research on a subject of their choice. Apart from using alumni donations, the college also funds student and faculty projects with a seed money of 1 crore.

” The idea is to be in the forefront and not lag behind. Efforts like these give us more exposure and help in competing with the universities abroad,” said Prof. SN Singh, Dean, Industrial Research and Development at IIT Delhi. The institute is involved in a major project in the field of nanotechnology with a 50-crore grant from the information technology ministry.

Such collaborations with the government and the industry is shaping a new approach towards research. According to Singh, encouraging faculty and students to get involved in research will give them more exposure. The variety and scope of the projects are also interesting. For instance, the government of India has set up a tea engineering research center at IIT Kharagpur for revamping tea making technologies.

“We want to promote interdisciplinary research at IIT. If we are able to take on our problems and try to solve them, it will bring out immense learning,” said Chakraborty.

Patent filing too is beginning to gain as much importance as research itself. IIT Bombay for instance, looks for patent-worthy ideas from thesis and dissertations submitted by graduate students. The spurt of activity happening on the licensing side is giving fillip for the IITs to push reseach further. IIT Bombay received around 24 crores of licensing revenue this financial year.

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