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Research and Development in India

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Research and Development in India

December, 2013


India has been ranked as the world’s sixth most ‘innovative’ country, according to multinational conglomerate GE's Annual Global Innovation Barometer. India is increasingly seen as a product development destination and firms are now offshoring complete product responsibility.

Innovation capacity is the driving force behind the country’s growth and competitiveness. Innovation and research and development (R&D) are becoming the focus areas of India’s growth story. A strong interaction between R&D activities and business fosters the dynamics of innovation generation. India with its strong workforce, good engineering talent and a partner-friendly government is focusing on research based innovation and implementation of quality new ideas for growth and progress.

India plans to set up a dedicated Rs 5,000 crore (US$ 809.06 million) fund—India Inclusive Innovation Fund—to boost scientific innovations that can improve the life of the common man. The Union Government will initially contribute Rs 100 crore (US$ 16.18 million) to this fund, said Mr P Chidambaram, Finance Minister, Government of India.

Indian engineering research and development (ER&D) industry is expected to treble from the current size of US$ 10– US$ 11 billion by 2020, according to National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom). With India home to 750 ER&D companies at present, the number of people engaged in this sector will also grow three times from the current 400,000, said Mr Som Mittal, President, Nasscom.

Indian R&D Sector and Global Impact

The services sector which includes R&D, testing and analysis besides other related segments attracted foreign direct investments (FDI) worth US$ 38,562 million between April 2000 to September 2013, an increase of 19 per cent to the total FDI inflows in terms of US$, according to data published by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).

Wipro has been ranked as a leader in the global R&D service provider survey conducted by Zinnov Management Consulting, for the fourth successive year. The ratings are based on five key parameters—scalability, R&D practice maturity, breadth of R&D services, innovation and ecosystem connects.

Japanese companies are keen to establish telecom gear test labs in India even as the government prepares to invite bids from private lab operators to pave the way for local testing from July 2014.

Furthermore, three more academic institutes have signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) separately with the International Centre for Promotion of Enterprises (ICPE). The signing of MoUs is expected to go a long way in promoting professionalism and executive development in Public Enterprises of India and Slovenia.

Key Developments and Investments

Big innovations are required and will continue, but the idea here is to open opportunities for effective, high-volume and low-cost solutions, highlighted Mr Gopichand Katragadda, Chairman and Managing Director, GE India Technology Centre (GE-ITC). From a smart medicine pack that keeps a tab on a person taking tuberculosis (TB) medicines to technology that identifies the right blood vessel for an intravenous procedure, innovations are now coming in small packages.

The following are some of the key developments in the sector:

  • The Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) has signed 5 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the country's five leading research, academic and business institutions—Indian School of Business (ISB), Institute of Public Enterprise (IPE), Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) and YES Bank Ltd.
  • Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Australia have signed an International Cooperation Agreement to collaborate in academic programmes and in frontier areas of research in media and communication.
  • Dell has opened its India design centre for its storage technologies and has realigned its domestic R&D unit. The facility will focus on developing software, integrating aspects involving back-up of emails and related storage.

Some of the major investments:

  • The University of Michigan has entered into tie-ups with the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) between NCAER and the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center (SRC) is aimed at promoting collaborative survey research.
  • National ICT Australia Ltd (NICTA) and Infosys will jointly set up a centre of excellence in optimisation algorithm to solve complex problems related to supply chain for clients in Australia, according to Mr Hugh Durrant Whyte, CEO, NICTA.
  • Tata Motors Ltd plans to invest about £30 million (US$ 49.17 million) in the National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC) for R&D.
  • Hero MotoCorp has entered into a joint venture (JV) with Italy-based Magnetti Marelli for developing powertrains and next-generation electronic fuel-injection systems. The companies will invest US$ 8.5 million over the next 3 years and a total of US$ 27 million over 10 years in the JV, HMC-MM Auto Ltd.
  • Henkel Adhesive Technologies India has set up its first innovation centre in India. The centre will focus on technologies and solutions for customers across the automotive and transportation industry in South Asia, West Asia and Africa.