In recent interview Gopalakrishnan said till now, research was not a focus area for the government as its priorities were addressing basic needs such as education, healthcare, drinking water and affordable housing. It is encouraging to see investments go up. But when it comes to research, are not we far behind?
He said, “But now we are in a position to start allocating more money towards research and the government is already doing it.”
“If you look at the focus of our academic institutions, they were towards education. Only very few were focused on research. As more investments come in, more organisations will start looking at research. Another problem is also that research as a career is also not very attractive.”, he added.
When he was asked on how you view the current funding landscape for research activities, he said, currently, the funding for research in only 0.7 percent of the GDP, of which 0.6 percent is from the government and the rest from private sector and philanthropy. This should increase. Funding towards research and development should be at least 3 percent of GDP, of which 1.5 percent from the government and the rest from the private sector. If you look at the focus of our academic institutions, they were towards education. Only very few were focused on research. As more investments come in, more organisations will start looking at research.
Expressing concerned over career in research in India he said, “Another problem is also that research as a career is also not very attractive.”
On ‘How can we make research an attractive career option?’ he suggested that firstly, more startups need to come out of research institutions. This is increasing. For instance, deep tech startups, which come out research institutions, now account for about 18 percent of total startups.
Secondly, we need to have more industry involvement in research. When they do research in institutions, these institutions get ideas and then, recruitment happens through that collaboration.
He said, “I suggested that the CSR money should be used for research. Of the 2 percent CSR spend, 50 percent of it can be used for research.”