Research projects rise at IIT-Bombay, but fewer patents filed
The research work at IIT-B has witnessed a 17% rise this academic year, but the number of patent filings has dropped by 25%.mumbai Updated: Aug 13, 2017 00:47 IST
The research work at Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) has witnessed a 17% rise this academic year, but the number of patent filings has dropped by 25%.
According to IIT-B’s annual report for the academic year 2016-17, released at its 55th convocation ceremony on Saturday, the faculty and researchers at the Institute started working on 924 new research projects — 17% more than the previous year. These include 297 long-term sponsored projects and 627 short-term consultancy projects. The institute generated Rs393 crore in revenue through the new and existing research and development activities, up from Rs255 crore in 2015-16.
The number of patent applications filed by the institute as dropped to 109 this year from 143 in 2015-16. The institute couldn’t provide a definite reason for the fall. “The decision to file a patent is taken by faculty members. Besides, the process to file for a patent is very costly,” said Devang Khakhar, IIT-B director.
The majority of these projects are commissioned by various government agencies and ministries such as the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and the ministry of science and technology. In 2016-17, 76% of the institute’s external grant for research and development came from the government, while 18% was from the private sector. Last year’s largest sponsored project was at Centre for Propulsion Technology, for which the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) committed an outlay of Rs160 crore over five years.
“Generally there’s a positive growth in research and development at IIT-B. However, whenever the institute starts a big project, the funding sees a spike,” said Subhasis Chaudhary, former deputy director of the institute and a professor at the electrical engineering department.
However, another professor from the same department suggested that while the government continued to fund new projects at the premier institute, some of the existing projects had been given a short shrift. “We are yet to receive funding for the second phase of the Centre of Excellence in Nanoelectronics.”
Some faculty members and students said that the institute was increasingly focussing on application-based research rather than fundamental research, allowing the cash-strapped IIT-B to monetise its work. “The government expects us to come up with some product after research,” said Abhijit Majumdar, a faculty member in the department.