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7 Indian varsities among Asia's top 20

A new UNESCO report says, "IIT graduates are today the object of intense courtship by US universities."

india Updated: Jan 22, 2006 14:04 IST

India's share of Global Expenditure on R&D (GERD) rose significantly between 1997 and 2000 but it still lags behind China as the two countries challenge the Japan-US-Europe triad in science and technology at the beginning of the 21st century, according to a new UNESCO report.

The just-released UNESCO Science Report 2005 said India's share of GERD had risen from 2 per cent in 1997 to 2.5 per cent in 2000 while China's share soared to 8.7 per cent in 2002 from 3.9 per cent in 1997.

The report highlighted the stress India lays on development of human resources and notes that seven Indian universities (all Indian Institutes of Technology except IIT Guwahati, and Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani) figure prominently on the list of Asia's top 20 universities.

IITs, in fact, has received a full page on the 285-page report. "IIT graduates are today the object of intense courtship by US universities," the report said.

However, the most notable development for India has been the crossing of the historic threshold of 1 per cent for the GERD-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio in 2004, thereby matching the achievement of China, it said. As a whole, the world devoted 1.7 per cent of the GDP to R&D in 2002.

India spent 20.8 billion dollars on science and technology in 2002 as against 72 billion dollars by China, according to the report.

The report has singled out Asia for praise on the rising global expenditure on R&D. "The most remarkable trend is to be found in Asia where the global expenditure on R&D has grown from a world share of 27.9 per cent in 1997 to 31.5 per cent in 2002," it said.

The figure for North America including the US is a reduced 37 per cent (down from 38.2 per cent in 1997). Europe's share is also down to 27.3 per cent in 2002 compared to 28.8 per cent in 1997.

"As far as Asia is concerned, it is now clear that the so-called newly industrialised Asian economies, together with China, to a lesser extent, India have become serious contributors to global expenditure on R&D," the report said.

The report compared the commitment of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to science and technology to that of Jawaharlal Nehru saying the incumbent wants to rebuild the science base in Indian universities and debureaucratise science and technology institutions.

First Published: Jan 22, 2006 12:21 IST