Special Report

No urgency to bridge industry-academy gap

With the Indian economy growing at 7 percent plus since 1991, there is a substantial rise in demand for managers and workers. But the overwhelming majority of job seekers aren’t sufficiently qualified for industry and business job vacancies because of a huge and widening gap between the academy and India Inc - Dipta Joshi


Deep within the Indian economy, a massive unemployment whirlwind is beginning an upward spiral that could sweep away the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance of 11 political parties ruling in New Delhi since 2014, in General Election 2019, now less than a year away. Gathering momentum, this gathering storm could completely transform the socio-economic landscape of the country, not necessarily for the better.

In 2014 the BJP led by its charismatic and inspiring prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi swept to power at the Centre with an absolute majority, winning 282 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha — a clear electoral sweep unprecedented since the General Election of December 1984 when the Congress party led by the late Rajiv Gandhi, riding on a nationwide sympathy wave after the assassination of his mother prime minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, won 414 seats in the lower house. A major factor behind the BJP-Modi electoral triumph, was a promise made in its manifesto and repeatedly articulated by Modi during his coast-to-coast campaign speeches, that if elected, the BJP would generate 10 million additional jobs every year. This combined with the party’s promise of sab ke saath, sab ka vikas aroused tremendous enthusiasm of new beginnings, particularly within the youthful electorate (over 600 million of India’s total population of 1.25 billion is between the ages of 18-34), and gave BJP and Modi a huge mandate. Four years later, in the run-up to General Election 2019, that promise is nowhere near fulfilment. 

Official data of the Union ministry of labour and employment indicate that the organised sector (government-industry) generated an average of 800,000-1.2 million jobs a year during the second-term of the Congress-led UPA-II government (2009-14). Since then under the BJP-led NDA dispensation, despite a new methodology for measuring employment growth, which tracks job creation in eight selected sectors — manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, education, health, IT/BPO, and tourism hospitality — employment growth within the organised sector has averaged a mere 231,000 per year with the unorganised sector (agriculture and the informal economy) generating an estimated 3-4 million.

For government and industry to absorb 12 million youth who enter the job market annually, the Indian economy has to chalk up a double digit (10 percent plus) rate of GDP growth, which it has never recorded in the past 70 years. This annual rate of growth is not impossible. It’s pertinent to note that until 1978 the annual GDP growth rate of our neighbouring People’s Republic of China (PRC) was almost on a par with India’s 3.5 percent per year. But in that watershed year the PRC under its visionary leader Deng Xiaoping, introduced the Four Modernisations national development policy to overhaul the economy, agriculture, scientific and technological development and national defence. Effectively liberalising and deregulating its economy, the reforms let loose the traditional entrepreneurial spirit of the Chinese people which enabled them to dominate the economies of several countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong etc.) and succeed in business and industry around the world. Unlike India’s socialist leaders who glorify poverty, Deng publicly proclaimed that “to get rich is glorious” and transformed communist China which had experienced two mass famines since 1949, into a substantially free market economy, officially practising “socialism with Chinese characteristics”. As a consequence the rate of annual GDP growth of PRC made a great leap forward to an average 8.4 percent since quintupling its per capita income to $8,234 per year (cf. India $1,751).

Rather belatedly, the moribund Indian economy which was stuck in the rut of 3.5 percent GDP growth for over 40 years was substantially liberalised and deregulated in the historic July 1991 Union budget. But even though the annual rate of GDP growth doubled, the economy was not sufficiently liberalised to stimulate double digit economic growth necessary to absorb the huge inherited unemployment backlog which has been amplified by this country’s limited success in family planning (see EW special report June). According to the last census in 2011, the number of unemployed adult citizens in India aggregated a massive 47 million. 

Nevertheless with the country’s economy growing at 7 percent plus — currently the highest rate of GDP growth among major economies worldwide according to the authoritative London-based The Economist — and a rising number of industry and business leaders complaining about acute shortages of sufficiently trained and skilled professionals and workers, there’s an emerging consensus that it’s the problem of unemployability of the millions of youth who enter the jobs market, rather than unemployment per se which is hobbling the Indian economy. 

The plain unvarnished truth is that the learning outcomes and job-readiness of the vast majority of contemporary India’s 400 million workforce is too low to significantly contribute to boost agriculture, business and industrial growth. When Deng launched PRC’s Four Modernisations programme in 1978, education reform and revitalisation was given high importance. Although several Indian economists highlight that China’s allocation for education (2.5 percent of GDP) has always been lower than India’s (3.5 percent), it’s worthwhile to note that a significantly higher proportion of that country’s annual education budget for over two decades was allocated to primary education which resulted in a huge boost to agriculture. Currently agriculture produce yields in PRC are several multiples of farmers in India. More pertinently, it is the savings of China’s hundreds of millions of farmers which have funded its spectacular industry and business growth and transformed latter day China into a global power. 

Conversely, the greatest mistake of post-independence and post-liberalisation India’s national development effort has been the low priority accorded to education. The vitally important primary education sector has been left to the mercies of the country’s 29 state governments dominated by feudal rural politicians with no idea of development economics, who have transformed the education sector into a well-paid employment enclave for unemployable kith and kin equipped with faux certification. The result is that in the country’s 1.2 million government primary — especially rural — schools, children’s learning outcomes are rock bottom as testified by the ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) surveys of the globally respected Pratham Education Foundation. 

The dismal outcome of continuous under-investment, casual syllabus formulation and administrative neglect of government schools is that the major share of the burden of preparing children for top-level government, industry and business leadership positions has devolved upon the country’s 320,000 private primary-secondary schools which despite their relatively small number, host over half the country’s school-going children. However, even private school managements which are subject to the heavy weight of government rules and regulations are suffering a withering barrage of fire from left intellectuals who dominate the academy, media and judiciary as also from the middle class for ‘commercialisation of education’. Recently, following nationwide demand from the pampered, over-subsidised middle class, several state governments have legislated complex rules and regulations governing the tuition and other fees of private schools. 

Government domination and mismanagement has taken a heavy toll on higher education as well in post-independence India. The country’s 47 Central universities such as Delhi, Hyderabad, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and half dozen premier IITs and IIMs have modestly succeeded in providing reasonably high quality undergraduate and postgrad education to the small minority of students who average 95 percent plus in school leaving class XII examinations and in highly competitive public entrance exams. But the great majority of state government colleges and universities, left to the tender mercies of subaltern state politicians and bureaucrats, have gone to the dogs.

Shockingly, none of contemporary India’s 39,000 colleges and 822 universities, some of them (Bombay, Calcutta and Madras) established 150 years ago, are listed in the prestigious Top 200 World University Rankings (WUR) league tables of the authoritative London-based ranking agencies Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Times Higher Education. On the other hand seven Chinese universities of more recent vintage are ranked among the Top 200 in the latest (2018-19) QS and THE Top 200 league tables. 

Given the weak foundational education of children from preschool to college and university education, the emerging new consensus within industry leaders and HRD (human resource development) managers is that India’s snowballing unemployment crisis is actually an unemployability problem. With the Indian economy continuing to grow at 7 percent plus, there is a commensurate rise in demand for managers and workers. But the overwhelming majority of job seekers aren’t sufficiently qualified for industry and business vacancies. In short there is a huge and widening gap between the academy and India Inc. 

“While Indian industry has adopted technology innovations and new business models to keep pace with the global economy, education institutions have not been able to change at an equal pace. Continuous under-investment and neglect of education, especially vocational education and training — only 4 percent of India’s 400 million-strong workforce has received VET (vocational education and training) as against 20 percent in China and 50-85 percent in Western democracies. Consequently there’s a huge skills deficiency in Indian industry,” says Chandrachur Ghose, a Gurgaon-based business strategy consultant and author of the India Employment Report published by economic research and advisory firm, International Market Assessment (IMA). 

The poor quality of human resources that enter the national employment market, has pushed up the in-house training costs of India Inc, which are now believed to be among the highest worldwide, and have cut into corporate profitability and slowed down growth and expansion plans of thousands of companies countrywide, confronted with stiff competition from foreign multinationals equipped with well-educated, high calibre human resources. In desperation, several frontline Indian corporates, particularly in the globally competitive ICT (information communications technology) industries have established massive training academies for college and university graduates. 
For instance the Bangalore-based IT-enabled services blue-chip Infosys Technologies Ltd (annual revenue: Rs.70,522 crore; headcount: 200,364 in 2017-18) has established a huge 337-acre training academy in Mysore which intensively trains 25,000 graduate recruits for three-six months to make them job ready. Likewise TCS, the country’s #1 corporate in terms of market valuation which has a headcount of 390,880 employees, is obliged to run huge training centres in Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala), Chennai, Guwahati and Kolkata to make the college and university graduates it hires annually, job-ready. According to the Delhi-based National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), the industry association of IT and ITES (IT-enabled services) companies, the combined annual expenditure of Indian IT companies on training and readying fresh recruits is a humungous Rs.13,000 crore. 
Although all sectors of the high potential Indian economy have suffered because of low investment and casual neglect of K-12 and higher education — Indian agriculture has never prospered despite the Green Revolution of the 1970s because of rock-bottom primary education, government productivity is pathetic because of sub standard arts, science and commerce colleges — the worst hit sectors are manufacturing and engineering. Apart from the six-eight original IITs and 20 NITs (National Institutes of Technology) and a handful of private engineering colleges, the majority of India’s 10,400 engineering colleges and technical institutes licenced by AICTE have churned out millions of ill-educated graduates who are unemployable, or have to accept low-paid clerical jobs. 

“The proliferation of engineering colleges and easy availability of engineering graduates for corporate jobs has resulted in a situation, where we have many qualified engineers working in call centres, banks etc. I know of engineers who have never worked on a factory shopfloor. This interplay between corporate jobs and easy availability of engineers is responsible for a large percentage of front office junior level staff in banks coming from an engineering background today. And it’s the same with India’s famed business process outsourcing (BPO) sector too,” says Mumbai-based Makarand Khatavkar, an alumnus of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and group head of human resources at the Kotak Mahindra Bank. 

In 2008 the Congress-led UPA-I government established the National Skills Development Corporation, a public-private partnership with a corpus of Rs.2,500 crore. The objective was to fund private sector edupreneurs to skill and train school-leaving and university students in sector specific skills prescribed by sector councils. But since then the programme has been hit by several scandals involving funding to undeserving skills training companies, and reckless certification of under-skilled individuals who are rejected by employers. 

According to Rajeev Bhatnagar, head of skilling at L&T Construction, a division of Larsen & Toubro Ltd, India’s most respected engineering company which employs over 42,000 engineering graduates and runs continuous skills enhancement programmes for its project-based and shop-floor employees, AICTE’s belated decree mandating a compulsory four months industry internship for all engineering students is unlikely to significantly improve the quality of graduates and reduce the in-house training costs of Indian companies. “The construction industry’s experience is that civil engineers stepping out of colleges are weak in applying the theoretical fundamentals they have been taught in most of the country’s engineering and technical colleges. Preliminary indications are that the compulsory internship programme will enable them to become familiar with the work culture of companies where they intern, but it is unlikely to make more job ready,” says Bhatnagar. 

The plain truth that more than 60 percent of the country’s licenced 10,000 engineering colleges and technical institutions are mere degree shops and provide substandard education is acknowledged by AICTE, with each director blaming his predecessor for recklessly licensing colleges and technical institutions under political pressure, or succumbing to monetary inducements. And with the unavailability of well trained faculty — a major problem for all engineering colleges, including the IITs — a large number of them are shutting down. According to a news report in the Times of India (April 9), during the past four years, AICTE has approved the closure of 410 engineering colleges countrywide and has issued show-cause notices to another 800. 

Moreover with the worst-performing engineering colleges promoted by shady politicians, land sharks and anti-socials because of their capability to manage AICTE and state governments rather than on the basis of their academic credentials, beginning to down shutters — a process aided by respectable media publications (including EducationWorld which published its EW India Higher Education Rankings 2018-19 in April, see www.educationworld.in archives) — the country’s best institutions of higher education have been separated from the worst, forcing the latter towards closure. This development has encouraged progressive corporates which understand the importance of reducing in-house training costs to identify technical education institutions for cooperation and collaboration, especially in tier-II and III cities. 

According to Sreeradha Basu and Brinda Sarkar writing in The Economic Times (June 12), several progressive market leader corporates including Philips, IBM, EXL, Wipro and Sap Labs are “engaging proactively” with schools and colleges to promote students’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and artificial intelligence, towards creating “a skills-ready workforce that is geared to hit the ground running”. They cite the example of Philips India which hosts a massive Innovation Campus near the Ulsoor Lake in Bangalore which “regularly engages with universities such as Manipal, IISc (Indian Institute of Science), UVCE (University of Visvesvaraya College of Engineering), MSRIT (M.S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology) and IIT-Kharagpur to help shape some of their curriculums with respect to data sciences and AI”. They also commend EXL for its students outreach programmes in education and skills development, and IBM for launching school programmes to introduce technology in cognitive thinking and artificial intelligence.

One of the country’s top HRD consultants credited with establishing excellent HRD practices for Infosys Technologies Ltd during her ten year tenure (1995-2005) as global head of HRD, Hema Ravichandar disputes the popular belief that the industry-academia gap is widening. According to her, engagement between India Inc and premier institutions such as the IITs, IIMs and top-ranked universities is already quite a well-established phenomenon. 

“Infosys Technologies has established deep connect with a large number of engineering colleges in tier-I and tier-II cities under which the company offers pre-placement internships, curriculum development aid and advice, visiting faculty and soft skills training to faculty and students. Moreover several progressive engineering and technology companies including Siemens, Tata Motors and Tata Steel have developed high-quality apprenticeship programmes for shop-floor employees. And the Bosch Vocational Training Centre in Bangalore has been providing excellent vocational education and apprentice programmes to school-leavers for several decades. Industry-academia collaboration and cooperation is not an unknown phenomenon in India; it’s not well publicised and hasn’t spread to smaller cities and towns and medium and small-scale enterprises. Local chambers of industry and business should make this happen for the mutual benefit of MSMEs (medium and small-scale enterprises) and academia,” said Ravichandar, an alumna of Madras University and IIM-Ahmedabad speaking to EducationWorld in July 2016 when this publication featured a cover story on the subject of academia industry divide (see www.educationworld.in archives). 

Even within academia, enlightened educationists who take a broader view of education have promoted private higher education institutions with strong focus on developing students’ life and cognitive skills to prepare them for business and industry. For instance, the AISECT (All India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology, estb.1985) Group, which in 2010 established its second university in Bhopal (the first was the Dr. C.V. Raman University, Bilaspur, Chattisgarh in 2006) — sanctioned by the Madhya Pradesh government through special legislation — has since emerged as a major provider of skills-focused higher education. Currently these pioneer skills focused deemed universities in which acquiring skill certificates is mandatory for all arts, law, engineering and business management students, are also partnering with 15,000 skills development and other multi-purpose skilling centres across 27 states, and have established 23 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (skilling) centres funded by the Central government. 

“In our definition of education, skills education is not delinked from conventional higher education. We integrate automobile repair and maintenance and other skills programmes such as Tally-based accounting into our engineering and commerce degree programmes. We offer one certified skill programme of the student’s choice in each year of his degree programme. For example one skill training programme is mandatory in each year of the three-year B.Com degree course. Therefore when a student completes B.Com, he has three skill certificates and is more job ready than other graduates. Secondly, we have tied up directly with top-ranked companies for our students to acquire hands-on industry and shop-floor experience, For example, electrical engineering students acquire skills learning with Schneider Electronics, engineering students who choose automobile engineering with Tata Motors, and those who choose cloud computing with Microsoft. Thus, AISECT institutions are unique in making students job ready before they graduate,” says Santosh Kumar Choubey, the visionary founder-chancellor of AISECT University which has an aggregate enrolment of 4,516 students mentored by 274 faculty (see cover story on this pioneer employability skills focused university, www.edcuationworld.in archives).

Comments Prof. K.R. Shyam Sundar, labour economist and professor, XLRI, Jamshedpur: “Adequate skill provisioning equilibrium already exists in India’s top 100 institutions including the IITs and IIMs, the so called creamy layer amongst colleges. However, such institutes can only service a minuscule student population leaving a large number of students to fend for themselves with poorly qualified faculty, unaccredited institutions and inadequate infrastructure facilities that hinder practical learning. This situation exists across educational streams and across geographies; thus a visible disparity between academia and industry is bound to exist.” 
For this, a greater share of the blame should accrue to the academy where faculty dominated by Left-leaning intellectuals have traditionally tended to label industry leaders as crooks and worse. But following liberalisation and deregulation of the Indian economy in 1991 and the collapse of communist governments and regimes around the world at the same time, attitudes within academia have changed, even if too gradually.

Perhaps because it was endowed and established by industry leader G. D. Birla (1894-1983) who played an important and under-acknowledged role in the freedom struggle and building the foundations of Indian industry, the faculty of Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS)-Pilani, Rajasthan (estb. 1964) has had no inhibitions about establishing deep connect with India Inc. “Every year almost 4,400 students from our three India campuses (Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad) and Dubai serve internships in two phases — two months in the first phase and five and half months in the second during the course of their four-year engineering undergraduate degree programme with continuous monitoring by our faculty. Moreover we also run an industry immersion programme — with financial support from the university — to ensure that our faculty is well acquainted with latest technologies and trends in industry. And we routinely invite engineering and technology leaders and experts to help us develop our syllabuses and curriculum,” says Dr. Ajit Pratap Singh, a civil engineering alum of BITS-Pilani and currently dean of undergraduate studies at his alma mater. 

The national interest quite clearly demands that bridges are built to link the academy with Indian industry and business. In this connection it’s important to note that in most Western countries as also in several tiger economies of South-east Asia, it is normative for business and industry leaders to serve on the governing boards of schools and universities to provide aid and advice, and to ensure that syllabuses and curriculums are not entirely divorced from the aims and objectives of corporate and business enterprises which are the ultimate career destinations of children and youth emerging from the education system. For foolish ideological and political reasons, during the past seven decades the divide between India Inc and the academy has become a wide gulf. This mutual indifference and suspicion built on unfounded premises and apprehensions needs to be dissolved by leaders of academia and industry to jointly address the country’s snowballing unemployment problem — in reality a mass unemployability of youth crisis — which could rapidly transform into a nationwide law and order catastrophe. 

Building industry-academy connectivity

The Science Business Innovation Board (AISBL, estb.2007) is a Brussels-based not-for-profit scientific association which conducts original policy research, engages with policymakers and the press, and generally works to improve the climate for innovation in Europe. Its members include the ESADE Business School, INSEAD, Microsoft, BP, SKF, Foley & Lardner LLP, Aalto University and Imperial College, London. In 2012, it published a study titled Making Industry-University Partnerships Work — Lessons from Successful Collaborations. 

The publication includes over a dozen case studies of successful corporate-university partnerships under several thematic heads — Partnerships that Impact Teaching & Learning (Microsoft-Cisco-Intel-University of Melbourne; Aalto University: International Design Business Management Programme; BP’s Energy Biosciences Institute with University of California, Berkeley; and Audi’s Ingolstadt Institute of TU Munich); Partnerships that Develop New Funding Streams (Imperial Innovations Group PLC and Imperial College, London); Partnerships that Rethink the Role of Research Universities (University of California’s Industry-University Cooperative Research Program), and Partnerships that Go Strategic (IBM-ETH Zurich; SKF-Imperial College, London; IBM-Imperial College, London; GE Global Research Munich; Siemens-TU Berlin, MIT; Nokia-Aalto University, UC Berkeley).

“When companies and universities work in tandem to push the frontiers of knowledge, they become a powerful engine for innovation and economic growth. Silicon Valley is a dramatic example. For over five decades, a dense web of rich and long-running collaborations in the region have given rise to new technologies at a breakneck pace, and transformed industries while modernising the role of the university,” write the authors of this valuable study, which is highly recommended to leaders of India Inc and vice chancellors and faculty of India’s under-performing universities. The paper also offers “lessons” derived from the study on ways and means to intensify industry-academia collaboration in the public interest. Excerpts: 

University leadership is vital. University presidents need to make industry-university partnerships a strategic priority and communicate the message regularly to the entire academic community.

Long-term strategic partnerships with built-in flexibility work best. The most fertile starting point for a partnership is one that allows industry to do something it can’t do itself. The world’s leading technology multinationals have dozens, if not hundreds, of strategic partnerships with universities. But increasingly, the trend is to narrow the focus on a handful of strategic partnerships that aim higher, receive significantly greater funding and last longer. 

Start with a shared vision and develop a strategy. The first step towards a healthy partnership is assessing the core academic strengths of the university and the core research competence of the company to identify promising opportunities for collaboration.

Put the right people in charge — those who cross boundaries. People determine the success or failure of industry-university partnerships. To attract industry involvement, universities must have people capable of building and managing partnerships.

Kick-start the dialogue — encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas. Universities should create opportunities for academics and company researchers and executives with shared interests to come together and develop a dialogue.

Don’t get hung up on intellectual property. Develop a broad overarching framework agreement and work out details on a case-by-case basis. A framework agreement saves time and avoids the acrimony that often results from too narrow a focus on who owns what.

Promote a multidisciplinary approach to research and learning. Innovation increasingly depends on the ability of universities and industry experts to work together across a number of disciplines, such as technology, design and engineering. Encourage multidisciplinary academic programmes and promote the engagement of industry in such programmes.

Don’t get hung up on measuring the results of a strategic alliance. The most fruitful partnerships take time to bear fruit. Setting up artificial metrics to measure them can undercut an alliance.

Redefine the role of the research university as a source of competence and problem-solving for society. Bold, visionary partnerships between industry and universities can accelerate innovation and help deliver solutions for pressing social challenges. But to harness that in tandem, the mission of the research university needs to be redefined. 



Industry-academia cooperation abroad

In developed OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, industry-academy partnerships are normative with corporates generously funding research and development projects in universities. Moreover in these countries, the government plays an active role in bridging the industry-academia divide through tax breaks and other incentives. Examples of some ways in which governments abroad boost industry-academia partnerships are presented hereunder.

United Kingdom. The UK government’s Higher Education Innovation Funding (HEIF) council provides matching grants to universities and higher education institutions bagging corporate research contracts “resulting in economic and social benefit to the UK”. A white paper made public in November 2017 outlines the government’s plan to increase the HEIF corpus to £250 million (Rs.1,718 crore) by 2020-21.
Among initiatives which have received HEIF support is the University of Central Lancashire’s Centre for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Development which conducts workshops and provides personnel training to SMEs, and the Royal College of Art which has utilised HEIF support to boost its InnovationRCA programme under which 39 start-ups have been incubated over the past nine years. 

United States. The US is a prime example of excellent industry-academia cooperation which has become a powerful engine for the innovation of world-conquering products and services and stimulating national economic growth. For instance in the Silicon Valley, over five decades of intensive collaboration between industry and academia has given birth to entirely new technologies which have ushered in a new industrial revolution and has transformed universities into epicentres of industrial research and innovation. America’s universities receive billions of dollars for research and consultancy annually from industry, and philanthropic grants and bequests to universities and colleges totalled a mind-boggling $43.6 billion (Rs.300,000 crore) last year. Moreover, the federal government also funds research in higher ed institutions. 

Canada. In the 2017 budget presented to Canada’s Parliament, prime minister Justin Trudeau announced an ambitious Innovation Superclusters Initiative under which large and small companies will collaborate with universities, colleges and not-for-profit organisations to establish ‘superclusters’ to turn ideas into solutions that can be brought to market. Under the scheme, five large scale university-industry collaborations involving 60 academic institutions and more than 450 businesses have been awarded C$950 million (Rs.5,000 crore) as funding. 

Singapore. SkillsFuture Singapore, a statutory board of the Workforce Development Agency, has been specially established by the ministry of education to enable learning by doing in higher education institutions. Under this initiative the government provides funding support to the island nation’s polytechnics and universities to revamp and update curriculums and engage with industry. For instance the National University of Singapore, ranked #24 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018, and Nanyang Technological University (ranked #52) provide bright students overseas entrepreneurship scholarships to intern with start-ups and high-tech companies in the US, China and Europe. 

Russia. In 2012, the Russian government announced a strategic plan to link the country’s higher education institutions with industry to enhance and accelerate technology transfer initiatives. The Innovative Russia 2020 strategy has allocated $530 billion over a ten-year period to stimulate research, innovation and infrastructure development within universities.