Dr. V. Ramgopal Rao, P. K. Kelkar Chair Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Chief Investigator for the Centre of Excellence in Nanoelectronics projects at IIT Bombay, visited the School of Life Sciences at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) to give the UPE Distinguished Lecture on ‘Bridging R&D with Product Innovation’ on March 1.

Dr. V. Ramgopal Rao

Dr. V. Ramgopal Rao

Dr. Rao explained the importance of backing up India’s R&D with product innovation for it be of some value. He presented statistics of India’s success in terms of R&D where India is only behind China and USA when it comes to nanotechnology publications. India has been publishing research papers and patents but ranks pretty low when it comes to producing products based on these papers. Dr. Rao pointed out innovation as the key factor to improve and enhance existing technology. He gave the example of a smartphone that already caters to three of the five human senses and researchers are now planning to try out technology that would include the other two. He also spoke of the rising government support to help institutions convert these research papers into products and that keeping the product as the focus changes the mindset and helps researchers achieve it. He insisted that a multidisciplinary approach through interaction between different departments and exchange of ideas is necessary to come up with successful products.

Dr. Rao has over 400 publications in the area of Electron Devices and Nanoelectronics in refereed international journals and conference proceedings and is an inventor on 32 patents and patent applications, with many of his patents licensed to industries for commercialization. He presented some of his own work as case studies and talked about the challenges researchers face and the ways in which good research work results in product innovation.

He quoted Dr. R. A. Mashelkar’s idea of “more with less for more” that is doing extensive research work, even if it is with limited means, to produce great results and reach out to many, as the way for R&D and product innovation to happen simultaneously.

-By Shaima Mansoor, MA-Communication