In a globalised world, the role of research in an academic institution is significant for its sustainability and development, and it is imperative to have knowledge-driven growth based on innovation. The quest for knowledge is the basic principle behind research. The quality of research work directly translates to the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom, thereby benefiting the students, the society and the country. The promotion of research in a huge and diverse country like India will help the nation evolve as a knowledge reservoir in the international arena.
Our education system faces a number of constraints and challenges—quality research is one of them. Barring few prestigious institutes, most display a dismal picture in terms of quality and quantity research. Not many institutes have mandatory research goals for individual faculty, and most do not have adequate systems or infrastructure for quality research. The lack of an encouraging academic environment, ill-equipped libraries, labs and equipment, inadequate infrastructure, lack of funds, faculty crunch, etc, are some of the factors contributing to the dismal picture of research in Indian academic institutions.
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It is well-accepted that academic research has contributed enormously to find solutions to many problems faced by our society and industries. There have been multiple instances when industries have turned to academics for finding solutions to vital issues. The need for sharing knowledge between research institutions and industry has become increasingly evident. The emerging importance of interdisciplinary fields has given rise to institutional collaborations that allow knowledge to be pooled together. Often, it is industry which is the ultimate beneficiary. Research provides basic inputs that can be used for planning and policy decision-making. Needless to say, academic research is an integral part of global development.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to develop an inbuilt research mechanism in our higher education system. The system needs to commit itself to both research and teaching excellence. In view of the fact that India possesses globally-acclaimed brain-power, the need of the hour is to create a encouraging environment for academic research in all centres of higher learning. All this leads us to have the right policy framework, which is missing as of now, to be able to develop an appropriate research mechanism for finding solutions to multifarious issues facing our society.
The author is director, FORE School of Management, Delhi