IITs lead in inventions in country
True to its reputation, the Indian Institutes of Technology are the real hub for scientific inventions in India with other universities including the prestigious Indian Institute of Science lagging far behind.india Updated: Oct 17, 2006 12:23 IST
True to its reputation, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are the real hub for scientific inventions in India with other universities including the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IIS) lagging far behind.
A study on patent activity in India by the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS) has found that IITs account for more than 55 per cent of the total patents registered by the universities in India. Analysing data for 1990-2002, it was revealed that 80 patents of the total 171 granted to Indian universities were registered by IITs.
Second to IITs was Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology with a figure of 41 followed by IIS at 19. The figure for the remaining 18 universities or educational institutions is in single digits. However, IIT has no patent against its name in the US.
The good news for IITs is that unlike other educational institutions they have stepped up research activity since 1999 resulting in the registration of as many as 40 patents during the period. Others registered only about 29 innovations during the corresponding period.
IITs have also out-scored other institutions in the area of collaborative research though not much activity has been noticed in this sector by NISTAD. "The university industry interaction is limited but it is a still a good beginning," the study states.
The interaction with industry apparently helped IITs to conduct research in almost all the sectors, a distinction unique to the country's top technical education institutions. They have inventions in their name in basic chemicals, machine tools, electronic items and even medical equipment.
The issue of falling scientific research vis-à-vis Indian universities highlighted by eminent scientists like Professor CNR Rao, head of Scientific Advisory Council to the PM, also finds mention in the study.
The universities contribute only three per cent to the total patents registered in India whereas the pharmaceutical companies have taken a lead in Intellectual Property Rights regime, the study states.
Still, the record of Indian universities is better than the US universities. According to data with United States Patent and Trade Organisation (USPTO), the American universities' contribution to patent activity is 'insignificant'.