New Delhi: Public expenditure for nano-technology development in India has hovered around $7 million per annum as against $395.5 million of Germany, $301.1 million of France, $180 million of UK, $233.5 million of South Korea and $102.4 million of Taiwan, according to an Assocham-Frost & Sullivan report on Nano Technology.
India also fares relatively lower in funding nano-technology projects from its private sector contributions which vary from more than 50% in US, 2/3 in Japan and 36% across emerging Asian countries as against 22% of India.
EU leads global nanotech based scientific publications by a share of almost 41% followed by US and Canada with 24%, Japan 13% and rest of Asia Pacific with 14%. In India, the percentage is as meager as 8%.
* Over last few years, China has shown considerable aggression when it comes to scientific publications. However, number of citations which is a direct indicator of the quality of research conducted, greatly vary across regions.
* Smaller countries like Switzerland, which have relatively lesser number of publications to its name, receive more than 10 citations per paper, followed by Netherlands and US with 9.2 and EU countries with 6.68 per paper, thereby, delivering cutting edge research.
* Aggressive publications from countries such as China – almost 5 times of that from India, receives a mere 2.42 citations per paper, whereas India receives 3.15, second only to Australia, thereby reflecting the credibility, relevance and confidence of the global research fraternity.
* Global nanotechnology development although at nascent stage is gradually evolving and not just restricted to US and EU but is equally spread across the Asia Pacific. While R&D efforts in the West are largely restricted to design and development of cutting edge pharmaceuticals and drug delivery systems, it is centered on devices, gadgets and other areas in the Asia Pacific.
* In a SWOT analysis the Paper points out that neighbouring countries like China are investing hugely in the biotechnology sector and are attracting investors worldwide. Cheap labour and production costs offer immense opportunity for companies to employ the workforce available in China to enhance productivity and manufacturing of biotechnology based drugs in an efficient manner.
*Availability of workforce that is as competent as that in the Indian subcontinent poses a retention threat for biotechnology industry in India.
* Unlike the west, Indian bioresearch community has not favored the prospects of industrial tie ups. The disadvantage that researchers envision is the limitation of free will and pursuit of desired projects. Scientists believe that for the most part, biological research carried out by them is geared toward understanding fundamental principles of life as opposed to commercializing their discoveries and inventions.
* Majority of scientific progress in India is not commensurate and coexistent with interest of life science industrial setup in India.
* There is dearth of venture capitalist firms and funds that would be willing to invest toward the development of new establishments in life sciences.
* Lately, few venture capitalist firms such as Morgan Stanley and ICICI Ventures have stepped into the biotechnology sector. But their thrust has been more on biotech products and less on biotech R & D.