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Strengthen research in tier-II and tier-III universities to improve the quality of researchers in the country – Dr Akhilesh Gupta
Dec 16, 2023

Strengthen research in tier-II and tier-III universities to improve the quality of researchers in the country – Dr Akhilesh Gupta


The 13th edition of National Higher Education Summit 2023, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry in association with AICTE and AIU,  was held on 16th Dec 2023 with the theme “Leveraging industry academia partnership for Societal Development’. The summit brought together higher education fraternity to deliberate on how industry and academia can together address societal issues like climate change, disaster prevention, cyber security, and application of Generative AI.

Dr Akhilesh Gupta, Secretary, Science and Engineering Research Board apprised the audience of the inequalities prevalent in research funding, infrastructure constraints and the dichotomy that exists between good faculty and good students. He explained the components of ANRF funding. He stated that in India that 65% of research funds goes to IITs and NITs. Only 11% of grants goes to state universities. Only 10% teachers are research based and overall research manpower is low in the country Funding being quality based is not translated to tier II and III universities as impactful and translational research output and patent fling is low. He called for new research culture and curiosity to find solutions. He apprised the stakeholders about the government’s new innovation fund that will foster post-doctoral fellowships between industry and academia. He prioritized the need to solve the poor industry and international connect of universities. As a way forward, he emphasized action towards strengthening research in tier-II and tier-III universities and improving the quality of researchers in the country.

Dr Naushad Forbes, Past President, CII, Chairman, CII National Higher Education Committee, & Co Chairman, Forbes Marshall stated that India has Heterogenous (Central, State and Private) higher education system (more students in higher education than many countries). Since last 15 years, there has been tremendous increase in engineers and management professionals. One of the major challenges in India is the availability of specialized trained faculty and quality of higher education. He emphasized that a lot of scope for industry is present to contribute to highly trained professionals and scale up of efforts (internships, guest lectures, etc). He suggested that existing industry-academia fellowships should expand to foster innovative research and industry should actively recruit Ph.D scholars. Their research should be shared among industries of relevance for efficient mapping of candidates. He also highlighted the issue of lower salaries for doctoral candidates and advocated for parity.

Mr Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, CII National Forum on Industry – Academia Partnership for R&D and Innovation highlighted the need to facilitate the collaboration of Industry and Academia and enable a transformational partnership towards enhancing focus and investment in R&D and Innovation. He apprised the participants of a dedicated Forum - CII National Forum on Industry-Academia Partnership for R&D and Innovation which would enable synergising this partnership in a concentrated and accelerated manner and foster enhancement of the National spending on R&D from the current 0.7% to 2.5% of GDP by 2030 in close partnership with Academia. He emphasized that collaborations would lead to Research Commercialization, Economic Growth, Culture of Excellence and Global Competitiveness. He focused upon few challenges like cross purpose conflict, Cultural Differences, Conflict of Intellectual Properties, Skill Gap, Unstructured Collaboration Frameworks and Resource Disparities which act as a deterrent to realize the full potential.

Prof D Parthasarathy, Dean – School of Public Policy, Nayanta University put forward his views on how technological advancements can foster societal growth. He highlighted that quality of Polytechnic institutes needs a revamp so that labour intensive MSMEs can prosper as diversity in this sector is susceptible to market risk. Gender gap in labour intensive sectors and inequalities need to be addressed. Access to innovation is driven more by social networks than policy reforms. He emphasized that the skill gap between academia and industry needs to be addressed on priority.

Prof Vivek Suneja, Head & Dean, Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi stated that given the heterogeneity of the sector, skills and jobs are to be mapped effectively and pay parity must be achieved. Incentive structure around important research themes should be formulated, and startup ecosystem can act as a facilitator in India. Dr Chanchal Samanta, Chief Manager – R&D, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. shared his experience with oil industry and stated the need for upscaling industry research fellowships in the country to build a conducive environment for innovation. He called for active collaboration between academia and industry.Mr Harshet Jain, General Manager – Business Development, Panacea Biotec shared his experience around hiring talent, gap between right skills and hiring. He focussed upon the importance of holistic learning, curiosity, and values in the contemporary world and Vocational education prioritization for enhancing productivity. Ms Febin M F, Head – Academia Business, L&T Edu Tech highlighted the importance of artificial intelligence and IoT in the emerging world, to be used for innovative projects across engineering domains.


16 December 2023

New Delhi

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