Funding for research and innovation is improving: Clarivate Analytics

Clarivate Analytics, State of Innovation India’, Jay Nadler, CAGR,  GDP,  ministry of HRD JAY NADLER, CEO & ARVIND PACHHAPUR,
vice-president, IP & Science, Clarivate Analytics

Clarivate Analytics accelerates the pace of innovation by providing insights and analytics to clients around the world, enabling them to discover, protect and commercialise new ideas, faster. Recently, it brought out the ‘State of Innovation – India’ report that looks at the Indian innovation landscape against the backdrop of patent trends in Asia. “We are a data analytics provider and our mission is to accelerate the pace of innovation,” says Jay Nadler, CEO, Clarivate Analytics. Nadler and Arvind Pachhapur, vice-president, IP & Science, Clarivate Analytics, deep dive into the Indian innovation scenario and discuss key insights from the report, in an interaction with Sudhir Chowdhary. Excerpts:

What are the key findings from the ‘State of Innovation—India’ report (2015-17)? What are the broad trends that have emerged with regard to patent activity in the country?

Jay Nadler: Globally, India ranks sixth in terms of number of patents published, considering European Patent Office as a single entity. If you come one level down and look at just Asia, India comes out fourth as China, Japan and Korea are ahead of India.
Asia is a hot spot of innovation. Every year Clarivate Analytics publishes the Top 100 Global Innovators list, and 45 corporations on this list are from Asia. This number has increased considerably from the past year. India is poised to grow rapidly, if we look at the growth rate for 2012-17, only China (15.5%) is ahead of India (10.8%). Given the right impetus, if India continues to steer forward at the same rate, it will march ahead on the Asian as well as world charts.

Arvind Pachhapur: Within India, we have analysed the India priority inventions, that is, the applications first filed in India. The top technology categories in terms of volume of India priority patents published in the period 2015-17 are computing, polymers and plastics, communication and pharmaceuticals. The list for 2012-17 remains the same, the only change being the order of communication and pharmaceuticals on the list. In terms of growth rates (CAGR) during 2012-17, the top categories are computing (25.5%), communications (25%) and automotive (24.1%). Of these, automotive (44.2%) and communication (41.7%) have further picked up pace in 2015-17. It is motivating to note that of the 10 categories which we found to be the top 10 focus areas for Indian innovators, all of them showed an accelerating growth rate but for electric power engineering that showed a decline in growth rate in 2015-17 compared to 2012-14.

We are seeing more pivotal innovation from the pharmaceutical organisations. We are also witnessing rapidly increasing interest amongst the academic community in life science programmes. This will also reflect in the growth of patenting in the years to come.

Nadler: Another finding of the report hints towards the increased convergence of technology in different sectors. As an example, innovation in automotive is increasingly not purely about mechanical engineering. The communication and computing aspects increasingly play an important role with the convergence of technologies.

Is research getting adequately funded in India?

Nadler: The situation on research funding is improving. Across sectors, research is not adequately funded at this point. It needs huge funding not just by the government but also by the private sector. The intention is there, the clarity of thought is there and the policies are there. It takes time to turn the ship but it is moving in the right direction. If we look at the percentage of GDP which goes to research funding, India still has to catch up with developed economies as well as other key Asian countries such as China and Japan. It is improving with increased awareness and with the right policy and initiatives shaping up in the country on research and innovation.

Some amount of product-oriented research does happen out of IITs. How do you see that?

Pachhapur: The IIT system has featured consistently on the list of Asia Pacific’s Most Innovative Universities (Top 75) by Reuters. IITs are at the forefront of research and innovation, not only they have taken research seriously but they have also been converting their ideas into intellectual property and commercialising it. The active research parks and close collaboration with the industry also re-affirm this. Majority of IITs use our research platforms such as Web of Science and Derwent Innovation for variety of use cases across the innovation life cycle. We will see more outcomes as the universities continue to take the right initiatives in hiring the right faculty, publishing research in good quality journals, moving towards applied research and ensuring that there are close industry partnerships.

Do you think the introduction of new policies such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Start-up India’ has an impact on the patent filing activity across sectors?

Pachhapur: A strong government push has led to an increase in patenting activity in India. Other countries such as China and Singapore have also done this successfully. In some cases, it is connected to a funding grants and policies; in some cases it is about incentives for publishing research and patenting ideas and innovation and it certainly provides focus.

Initiatives such as the National Institutional Ranking Framework implemented by the ministry of HRD has also created increased awareness and focus among universities and small institutions on research and innovation in view of weightage given to both research output and innovation output in the rankings. We are also noticing hackathons aimed at young students and graduates, providing them a platform where they can present their ideas and be exposed to funding and mentoring avenues.

The setting up of Patent Facilitation Centres is another impetus to the start-ups that are typically less aware of intellectual property (IP), why it is required and how you can file patents. Another benefit of these centres is that it helps in the commercialisation of IP—valuation of patents and finding commercial partners.

How do you see the dispersion of product innovation outside Silicon Valley and in India?

Nadler: The cost of living is incredibly high in Silicon Valley, and it is starting to drive people to other geographies. We did a recent analysis on Industry 4.0 technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analytics, industry automation and others; Asia is way ahead in the game.

Pachhapur: The start-up ecosystem in India is developing rapidly, supported both by the government as well as the private sector. Now we see automotive R&D ecosystems in Chennai, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Pune and Chennai, to mention a few. The government is also creating ecosystems for life sciences and biotechnology, for example, in Karnataka and Telangana. This will lead to more product companies emerging in India.