This Economic Times op-ed by Jaideep Srivastava (Minnesota) and Pankaj Jalote (IIT-D) appeared two days ago. The authors suggest that we adopt a technique that China has used to increase its PhD output significantly. I don't have much time to comment on it, but do go through it and let me know what you think.
China has embarked on a bold strategy to address [the problem of low numbers of PhDs], with the help of the US in an unexpected way. The programme is simple and brilliant. PhD students in Chinese universities are given fellowships to spend 12 to 24 months in some US professor’s laboratory, when they are ready to start their dissertation research.
During this period, the candidate defines his research problem, does most of the research work, and then comes back to complete his PhD in the parent university in China. An attendant benefit is the collaboration created between the US and Chinese faculty, which can lead to more international exposure for the latter, something which is also high on the priority list of the Chinese administration. It is estimated that approximately 4,000 Chinese students will be the beneficiaries of this programme in the 2007-08 academic year.