n the last few years, the institutes in India have been promoting sponsored research, which has seen a quantum leap at the top Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
While IIT Madras has recorded a 394% growth, IIT-Delhi has seen a 300% growth, The Times of India reported. In fact, with a total earning of Rs 536.54 crore worth of sponsored projects in the financial year 2018-19, IIT-Madras has also become the first IIT ever to cross the 500 crore-mark. Meanwhile, IIT Delhi, Guwahati and Bombay also recorded more than 300-crore earnings through industry research.
The growth observed by IIT-M has doubled in the past 5 years in consultancy projects. In fact, these sponsored projects also include funding from industries as well as government agencies.
Prof V Kamakoti, Associate Dean (industrial consultancy and sponsored research) at IIT-M, told TOI, “We had been giving thrust to translation research – idea to product. One such manifestation is the IIT-Madras research park, the first of its kind. That basically focused our research towards the need of industry and society.”
While the sponsored research funding was Rs 108.49 crore in 2014-15 for IIT-M, it has now gone up to Rs 536.54 crore in 2018-19. This indicates a steady growth of 10-15% annually. Meanwhile, IIT-B has also had a surge in their funding receipts in 2016-17, after which, the flow remained steady. Milind Atrey, dean (research and development) at IIT-B, told TOI, “The faculty is expected to support the research with funding from external agencies after a stipulated period. I see a positive growth in the number of industries visiting the institute in recent years, and about 30-40% of these results in some kind of collaboration. ”
He added, “The Centre is now looking at releasing multi-institutional funding, where two or more IITs can collaborate with an industry, to make optimum use of their specialisations.”