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HRD Ministry proposes to set up National Research Foundation

Ministry sources said the National Research Foundation (NRF) will leverage more resources from the industry to support 500 collaborative research projects between Indian institutions and universities abroad.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi |
January 29, 2017 3:52:51 am
National Research Foundation, india research grant, hrd research work, National Research Foundation hrd, india news India lags way behind internationally in terms of its spending on research.

The HRD Ministry is working on a proposal to establish an agency with a seed grant of Rs 500 crore to bolster the country’s weak research output. According to ministry sources, the National Research Foundation (NRF), in addition to its own seed grant, will leverage more resources from the industry to support 500 collaborative research projects between Indian institutions such as IITs, NITs, IISERs and reputed universities abroad.

India lags way behind internationally in terms of its spending on research. The country spends just 0.85 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on research as opposed to China which spends 2.10 per cent, USA 2.74 per cent, Japan 3.58 per cent and Israel, which contributes 4.11 per of its GDP to this cause.

As a result, only four patents are filed per million population in India. China files 396 patents per million people, South Korea files 2,962 and Japan files 2,250 patents. “NRF will be an umbrella body which will establish research priorities and provide 50 per cent of the funds required for research projects that fit the bill. The NRF will work with Science and Engineering Research Board and Indian Council of Medical Research and finance some of their research. It will also help the IMPRINT programme, which is facing financial problems at this moment,” said a ministry official, who did not wish to identified.

IMPRINT is a single window mechanism for funding India-specific research across IITs and other prestigious institutes, which was launched by the ministry with much fanfare last year. Of the 250-odd MoUs that were signed by different ministries with centrally funded educational institutions, only 60 have taken off. Many ministries haven’t honoured their commitment of pitching half the funds required for research and technology development.

The NRF proposal was also pitched to the Prime Minister during the presentation made on January 13 by the group of secretaries working on education. The HRD Ministry is keen that the NRF is announced in the Union Budget that will be presented on February 1. Last year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced announced creation of a Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) with an initial capital base of Rs 1,000 crore which will leverage funds from the market and work to create infrastructure in top institutions like the IITs.

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