'India needs to bridge gap between academia and industry'

New Delhi: Unlike the developed countries, industries in India rely upon their own research instead of the research conducted at higher education institutes, feel scholars. "There's a huge gap between industry and academia. Companies have their own mindset, they do their own research and don't want our research. While in countries like the USA, they reach out to scholars or colleges and use their work," says Sauravh Bharadwaj, a post-graduate mechanical engineering student at IIT-Guwahati. Bharadwaj is one of the 18 -- best in class -- scholars from Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Sceince (IISC) and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) who spent a week at Rashtrapati Bhavan under a programme started in 2013 by President Pranab Mukherjee to encourage maestros from art or academics. They interacted with the reporters on Friday, the last day of their stay, and shared their experience. "There is an urgent need to fill the gaps between industries and academia here. In the West, industries support the research at institutes," said Ankit Saxena, another scholar from Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department, IIT-Roorkee. Pointing out a risk-fearing factor, some scholars also felt "gap between funding and fear of failure is a problem". "we depend on Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) scholarships only. Projects require more money," said another scholar. Social environment, lack of awareness about scholarships, stereotyped image of pure science are among other issues that scholars feel should be dealt with if India has to surpass China and western nations. "There are many scholarships offered but the level of awareness among the students is very low. Due to which several scholars don't even know of the scholarships offered," says Anjishnu Bose, an under-graduate student at IISC Bangalore. "They (officials) say that everything is on the website but you have to dig deep to know about the scholarships or fellowships," a research scholar said.  Another scholar said that India has only three per cent of contribution in the international research papers, which is way low for a country that aspires to be a "World Guru". Anjishnu, who wishes to explore the area of Cosmology and Astrophysics, felt that there is a need for more science students. "There are not enough science students but there are many engineers. Only few universities excel in science courses they offer. Parents stereotype pure sciences as a career in darkness," Anjishnu said. Meanwhile, scholars see a hope in the upcoming endeavours by the government, which includes "Start-up India" and the Prime Minister's Fellowship Scheme for Doctoral Research. "Steps like PM fellowships can perhaps bridge the gap between industry and academics in India," said Ankit Saxena.