Pankaj Jalote (Director of IIIT-Delhi) and M. Balakrishnan (Deputy Director, IIT-Delhi) have an op-ed in yesterday's Economic Times: Government’s attitude towards research funding must change for our researchers to compete globally.
Specifically, they talk about (a) allowing faculty members to make a bit of money from their grants and (b) allowing foreign travel. They also talk about incentives for institutions with a liberal overheads regime.
Unexceptionable these ideas may be, but I found the premise of the op-ed, um, strange: our faculty members don't exhibit the kind of mad, aggressive drive -- like the professors in the US do! -- to go after the grants. They need to be incentivised!
... there are too many constraints on research grants here and not enough incentives. As a result, whereas in a country like the US, professors spend a lot of effort getting grants, in India, neither the universities nor faculty members are so driven. And this lack of a strong desire to go after research grants makes research funding a government's most powerful tool for directing research, a rather toothless tiger.
This seems to mis-state the case. In the US, the funding environment is so brutal only because the university research system has grown far too big compared to the available kitty. Whereas in India, we seem to enjoy a rather benign funding environment. If anything, this is a great advertisement that our institutions should use to attract all those harried Indian researchers all over the world!