Govt gives thrust to research through new university

CSIRs 37 laboratories to be hub of activities

The move aims to bridge the research and development gap with China.

The proposed Academy of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (AcSIR) with a deemed university status, has found favour with the Union Human Resource Development and the Science and Technology ministries.

The academy is expected to produce 1,000 PhDs in science and about 120 PhDs in engineering annually, from the fifth year onwards.

Currently, the CSIR produces 400 PhDs every year. The degrees are granted by various universities, even though the researches are carried out in CSIR laboratories.

“We need to create a mechanism wherein the CSIR gets its due credit, and set up an academy which shall enable the CSIR to grant degrees is a sine qua non now,” said Union Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan.     

The Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research Bill, 2010, which will pave the way for setting up the academy, is awaiting government approval before being introduced in Parliament.

“It is a national imperative to let the CSIR set up a degree- awarding Academy for Scientific and Innovative Research, which should be multi-disciplinary and help researchers create knowledge and economic wealth,” said Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal.

In the 1980s, India produced more PhDs in engineering sciences than China. But the table turned upside down in the last two decades.

In science and engineering, India produced 6,318 PhDs in 2003 against the corresponding figure of 12,238 in China, 9150 in the UK and 28,900 in the US. In engineering alone, India produced only 779 PhDs while the figure for China stood at 8,054, for the UK 2,040 and for the US 8,400.

A National Knowledge Commission survey shows that during 1991-2000, the number of doctorates grew by mere 20 per cent in India as against 85 per cent in China.

There are just over a lakh of R&D workers in India compared with 10 lakhs in China. Shortage of qualified engineering students impacts the economic growth.

According to the bill— a copy of which is available with Deccan Herald—AcSIR will take advantage of more than 4,000 scientists in diverse branches of science and engineering.
A big advantage is the zero brick and mortar expenditure as existing CSIR infrastructure will be put to use.

The expenditure finance committee memorandum prepared in April suggests an expense of Rs 19.1 crore in the 11th Plan and 61.79 crore in the 12th Plan, which will be spent on the salary of the academy staff, travel and miscellaneous expenditure.

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