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Indian ministry of defence R&D opportunities

Monday 12 December, 2011

Dr. S Sundaresh of the Indian Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) gave a talk @ GITAM (where I teach) on opportunities in research & development with DRDO. He talked about 3 things:

  1. national r&d services
  2. an overview of DRDO
  3. academic interactions with DRDO

1.  India’s growth trajectory is 9%, fueled by the IT industry which is capturing world markets.  Investments in economic reforms are adding to industrial growth & employment.  An emphasis on manufacturing is enhancing exports.  But many of these exports are service-oriented & not producing new products.  Foreign companies are investing in design centers which are creating 3D modeling programs for UK firms, etc. for example.  India must be a leader to sustain this growth.  There are 6 industries where India has the potential to lead in new technologies:

  1. nanotechnologies
  2. bio-technologies
  3. robotics
  4. cyber-security
  5. energy
  6. space

2.  Ideas taken to DRDO often start @ universities as the seeds of ideas, such as UAV’s (unmanned  air vehicles) & LCA’s (light combat aircraft) in aeronautics.  DRDO works with 40-200 partners on these programs.  In electronics, they’re 3D CAR (control air radar).  They have 3 labs in naval systems for sonar.  They’re developing a number of missiles, such as AGNI & NAG which can carry 1-ton warheads & have ranges of 700-5K km.  They also work in materials, demand systems (tanks), & engineering systems (bulldozers, modular bridges, UMV’s (unmanned vehicles), URV’s (unmanned repair vehicles), & ROV’s (remote operated vehicles).  They even have created snow models to recreate avalanches.  DRDO’s partner ecosystem requires finances, domain knowledge, & established facilities, which includes research universities, industry, & users.

3.  DRDO has a directorate which deals with academic institutions for intellectual property rights issues.  Between 2006-11, they’ve had:

  • 20 directed research areas
  • 180 institutions involved
  • 350 ongoing projects
  • 250 PhD researchers
  • 150 crore Rupees funding
  • 10 patents filed
  • 2K papers published

They have 6 ER programs & 2 centers of excellence.  Their thrust (pardon the pun) areas are:

  • AR&D (aerospace) -1400 projects
  • NRB (naval)-198
  • LSRB (life sciences) -238
  • ARMREB-(armaments) 136

In sum, DRDO has lots of needs for R&D & there are lots of opportunities there.  India has had far fewer articles published than China.  The 19th century was Europe’s.  The 20th century was America’s.  The 21st century will be India’s.

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