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 Deep technology and Research Funding |

 Deep technology and Research Funding

Context

∙ The Finance Minister announced a Rs 1 lakh crore fund to provide long-term, low-cost or zero-interest loans for research and development.

What is deep technology?

∙ Deep tech refers to advanced and disruptive technologies that have the potential to trigger transformative change, and provide solutions for the future.

∙ The term is used to describe cutting-edge research in nanotechnology, biotechnology, material sciences, quantum technologies, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, data sciences, robotics, 3D printing, etc. 

Advantages of  Deep technology

∙ Solving Complex Problems: These technologies play a key role to address complex global challenges like climate change, hunger, epidemics, energy access, mobility, physical and digital infrastructure, and cyber security.

∙ Increased Efficiency: Deep technologies enhance productivity by automating repetitive tasks, optimizing processes, and enabling predictive analytics. This leads to cost savings, improved resource utilization, and faster decision-making.

∙ Enhanced Decision-Making: Deep learning algorithms and predictive analytics empower organizations to make data-driven decisions based on insights extracted from large datasets. This enables better forecasting, risk management, and strategic planning.

∙ Job Creation: While deep technologies may automate certain tasks, they also create new opportunities for skilled workers in areas such as software development, data science, engineering, and research. This contributes to economic growth and employment generation.

Challenges for Deep technology

∙ The deep tech projects are time- and money-intensive, with relatively high funding requirements.

∙ Inadequate budget: India’s expenditure on research is far below the global average. Absolute spending has increased, but expenditure on research as a share of GDP has come down.

∙ India currently spends just about 0.65% of its national GDP on research and development activities whereas the global average is about 1.8%.

∙ Bureaucratic delays: Even where funds are available, delays and interruptions in disbursal often affects projects. Complex bureaucratic requirements contribute to delays.

∙ Reduced budget allocation: Also in recent budget allocation the highest increase is for CSIR, ( about 9%), and the Department of Space has received only a 4% increment.

∙ The budget of the Departments of Atomic Energy and Biotechnology, and the Ministry of Earth Sciences have been reduced.

 Deep technology and Research Funding |

The National Deep Tech Startup Policy (NDTSP)

∙ It was piloted by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, and is currently awaiting government approval.

∙ The idea is to create a deep tech startup ecosystem by offering the right incentives to companies that invest time and money in innovation and research.

∙ The NDTSP suggests the steps that need to be taken in this regard:

∙ Create opportunities for long-term funding; 

∙ A simplified but stronger intellectual property rights regime; 

∙ Tax incentives; 

∙ A conducive regulatory framework; 

∙ Development of standards and certifications; 

∙ Nurturing of talent; and 

∙ Linkages between industry, research centers, and educational institutions.

WayForward

∙ With the recent initiative Startups and other private sector ventures will obtain seed money for their projects and are expected to get benefitted.

∙ However to raise R&D spending there is a need to have increased partnership with the private sector. 

∙ Efforts are being made to create better synergies between industry, research labs, and educational institutions in order to broad-base both research activity and the funds to support it.

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