27 Jun Academia-Industry Collaboration by Prof. Kanchan Luthra
With age demographics in favour of India, India today stands at a point of innumerable opportunities in research and innovation. The education sector at the management level is going for a change in the curriculum structure. The need of the hour is to have more value based education that lead to higher employability. India is at the stage where one in every four student entering the world employment market is an Indian.
What is required is to have strong connect between the industry and the academia in terms of research, the curriculum being taught, the skills being developed and the values being inculcated. The digital era provides ample opportunities for the tie up with the industry in terms designing new programmes, training, and skill development that will benefit both the academia and the industry. Augmented reality and IoT make it possible for academic community to immerse itself in the real world scenarios and thereby build better practical appreciation – Ganesh, 2016
The best example of successful industry academia collaboration is the study of medicine. The students get to visit the hospitals and understand the techniques and methods being used treatment of patients. This model can be emulated in other fields of education also.
The training programmes and live projects also add to the collaboration leading to a pool of probable employees. As academicians, it is difficult to fully understand the needs of the industry and pursue applied research. A connect between the two major pillars of growth would always enhance the growth rate of the country.
The Research Park set up at IIT Madras has led to a lot of research, innovation and connectivity. Mentorship from both educationist and industrialist will guide the students in their entrepreneur projects. The Tata Social Enterprise Challenge in collaboration with IIM Calcutta organised a competition where more than 160 business plans were submitted from across the world. The winners received Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1 Lack respectively. This was an initiative taken by the Institute and the Industry for inclusive growth of the country.
The best example is the “Powai Labs”, India’s first chip design verification firm. The project was started by Reapan Tikoo, a student of IIT Bombay. There was a lot of scope in the project, so along with his guide Prof. Madhav Desai, a company was started within the IIT campus. Looking at the innovative technique and the future scope the project was funded by Texas Instruments.
India presently ranks a dismal 81 (at the bottom of the BRICS countries) in the 2015 Global Innovation Index which noted that the biggest issue facing the country is its education system. The lack of applied research in academics leads to a divide between the industry and the education system.
The investment in terms of manpower and money is very high, and it is not necessary that the returns will happen immediately. Most of the times the returns are long term. Another major factor is the lack of integration between the two bodies. The perception of research driven projects are poles apart for both, so the way to approach is also different.
The cultural environment for both industry and academics are completely divergent in nature. Industry perspective is competition driven where targets are of prime importance. Academics on the other hand are publication driven. Educational environment is dealing more with pure science whereas the industry environment is applied in nature.
The future of educational development will be enhanced with tie up with the industry. For this it is essential that the government promotes Industry-Academia Collaboration through effective policies. Increase in applied research will make sure that the workforce joining the industry is more employable.