Ahmedabad: Infosys Co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan on Sunday said that private sector could play an important role in facilitating enhancement of investment in research and development (R&D) and augment commercialisation of the fresh business ideas.
Speaking at the Centre-State Science Conclave at Ahmedabad, Gopalakrishnan stressed on funding support for knowledge creation, dissemination and application and highlighted the role of structures, co-location of industry and academia, as well as incentives like tax breaks. “At least 1% of CSR from the industry should be spent on solving present problems like drinking water, cancer, anti-microbial resistance and also on open-ended future problems,” he added.
Many industries leaders at the conclave discussed the roadmap and way forward to augment financial resources for research and development by enhancing the private sectors’ contribution and developing collaborative funding mechanisms at the Center-State Science Conclave on Sunday.
Akhilesh Gupta, Senior Adviser, Department of Science and Technology (DST), said that incentives like restoration of R&D tax deduction, philanthropic funding, and creation of an environment for FDI might encourage private investment in research.
He highlighted the need for innovation in MSMEs, increasing the scope of models like Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Technology Development Board (TDB), cluster model involving co-location of industry and academia, as well as steps like bringing back industry products funded by government to the government to promote the involvement of private sector in research.
Gupta pointed out that with 100% FDI permitted in research, some states like Karnataka have aggressively attracted FDI in R&D, and other States can emulate such practice.
Taslimarif Saiyed, chief executive officer of C-CAMP, Bengaluru, spoke about India’s positioning as emerging leader in the biotech start-up world and increasing valuation of the country’s biotech industry. He underlined the necessity for mid-stage funding for start-ups and collaborations with Venture Capitals (VC) and industry. “Models, where VCs & industry can partner with government including state governments to take early fruition to scale, should be incentivised,” Saiyed added.
“With health becoming more and more important globally along with agriculture and climate, the importance of biotech sector is rising, and an early stage funding for deep science and deep tech could help use this opportunity,” Saiyed pointed out.
“Experimentation is needed with STI governance policies inspired by successful grassroot implementation models,” Mugdha Sinha, Principal Secretary (S&T), Government of Rajasthan, advocated. She further said that science should be posited as a service provider to all departments – an interphase connecting the dots, and policymakers need to be exposed to what science entails. “Tier 2 industries that require government hand holding need to be identified,” she added.
Amit Prashant, Director, IIT Gandhinagar, emphasised on strengthening the bridge between research organisations and the industry through collaborations with for translational research.
The panel of the conclave organised by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, jointly with the Government of Gujarat at Science City, Ahmedabad, served as a platform for exchanging ideas on funding mechanisms to strengthen investment in R&D.
Dashboard to share best tech practices
The department of Science and Technology has decided to set up a dashboard to share the best technology practices among the Centre and the States.
Presiding over the concluding session of the two-day “Centre-State Science Conclave” at Science City in Ahmedabad, Union Sc & Tech Minister Jitendra Singh said a high level mechanism will be developed by the DST to monitor and coordinate the follow up action of the conclave.
The Minister also asked the States to appoint a Nodal officer in each States to coordinate and cooperate with the special committee for knowing and sharing the best practices.
Giving an example of heli-borne technology launched from Jodhpur, Rajasthan in October last year, Singh said, to start with, the States of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana were taken up for this latest heli-borne survey. “If the same technology is uploaded on dashboard, other States may join and share this CSIR technology from source finding to water treatment and thus benefit millions of people across the country,” the Minister added.