On India's plunge into Nanotechnology: What are good ways to catch-up?

Shyama V. Ramani, Nupur Chowdhury, Roger Coronini & Susan Reid


The present paper examines how a developing country like India is competing in the nanotechnology race. Our study shows that both upstream scientific and technological capabilities and downstream regulatory capabilities are being strengthened. India has clearly made a dent in terms of scientific publications (with the main focus being on nanomaterials), in the 'technology market' its patenting performance (with the principle focus on nanopolymers and nanocatalysts) though not extraordinary is good compared to other emerging economies spending similar amounts. In the 'final products' market some biotech and ICT incumbents are moving towards nano but the bulk of the new firms are in the field of nanomaterials. These achievements are particularly noteworthy given the much smaller quantity of funds invested by the Indian State as compared to the international leaders in nanotechnology. However, even with these initial optimistic results, the paper casts doubt on whether it is in the interests of economic growth or social welfare that India's science and innovation, and intellectual property policies are being increasingly modeled on the lines of developed countries so as to attempt to compete or collaborate with them without a better re-alignment and functioning of existing capabilities.

Key words: Catch-up, India, nanoscience, nanotechnology

JEL codes: O33, O38

Download the working paper