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Friday, December 28, 2018

Improving Technology Commercialisation- strategy papers from India and USA

Towards close of 2018, we see two important strategy papers. NITI Aayog released paper titled- Strategy for New India. NIST released paper titled- Return on Investment Initiative forUnleashing American Innovation. Commercialisation of technology developed in universities with public funding is one of the issues.
What India says
“Lab to Land” time is too long. Renowned public funded institutions like the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) etc., along with prominent universities across the country, have developed many frontline technologies. However, the rate of transfer of these technologies to industry and for societal benefits is low. The major weaknesses of public funded R&D and technology institutions like CSIR, DRDO, BARC, ICMR and ISRO are their poor marketing skills and information dissemination. Some measures for enhancing technology commercialization by public funded institutions are provided below: 
1. Value addition centres may be set up in each of these institutions for (i) up-scaling technologies, (ii) improving technologies from Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4 to TRL 6/7, (iii) demonstrating industrial scale pilot production, (iv) coordinating with investors to incubate entrepreneurs, (v) bridging the gap between industry and technology development teams, (vi) enabling formal technology transfer, (vii) enabling commercialization and marketing and (viii) providing technology support during production. 
2. DST should create a National Technology Data Bank in coordination with all publicly funded R&D institutions. This will provide a central database for technologies that are ready for deployment or under development. 
3.Public funded research institutions should consider shifting their focus to the development and deployment of socially relevant technologies in areas such as clean drinking water, sanitation, energy, affordable healthcare, organic farming, etc. These technologies have large potential for commercialization.
What Americans say:
Measures of technology transfer in the U.S. from 1996 to 2015 demonstrate over $1 trillion in economic growth and millions of new jobs. Critical technologies such as life-saving drugs, vaccines, and medical devices, the internet, global positioning system or GPS, and countless other innovations underpinning every aspect of the American way of life are traceable to groundbreaking work at Federal Laboratories, federally funded universities, and private sector R&D organizations. Removing impediments to effective technology transfer and collaboration will accelerate economic value creation. The PMA includes the Lab-to-Market (L2M) cross agency priority (CAP) goal, which aims to improve the transfer of technology from federally funded R&D to the private sector to promote U.S. economic growth and national security. The L2M CAP Goal is organized around the five strategies, which also serve as the organization for the chapters in this green paper: 
1. Identify regulatory impediments and administrative improvements in Federal technology transfer policies and practices; 
2. Increase engagement with private sector technology development experts and investors; 3. Build a more entrepreneurial R&D workforce; 
4. Support innovative tools and services for technology transfer; and 
5. Improve understanding of global science and technology trends and benchmarks.

Indian strategy document is silent on engaging private sector. Can government funded institutes scale up technology from TRL 4 to TRL 6 without involvement of private sector?

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