China Prioritising R&D, India Stuck in Red Tape: Nobel Laureate

China is more aggressive in pursuing scientific research, investment and strategy as compared to India, which has more 'red tape' acting as a barrier to communication between researchers, according to German Nobel Laureate Klaus von Klitzing.

China is the second-largest spender in Research and Development (R&D) after America, according to the US' National Science Foundation and National Science Board in 2018.

Klitzing, 76, who was awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the integer quantum Hall effect, told PTI that “India and China are emerging players in the world but when it comes to research, China is much more aggressive in terms of investment and strategy”.

Chinese economy has laid a thrust on science and innovation and made massive investments in R&D, the German physicist said at the 69th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting which officially opened on Sunday at this Bavarian Island.

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More patents are filed in China than in India any given year and its output in research papers is also higher, he said.

In 2017, China spent about 2.1 per cent of its GDP on R&D, while India spent less than 1 per cent.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, China applied for about 1.34 million patents in 2016, while India (both resident and non-resident Indians) filed for just over 45,000 patents.

China is also far ahead than India in terms of investment in artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and robotics.

What has also helped China's leap in innovation is its liberal visa policy for scientists to boost knowledge exchange, said Klitzing.

"The study of material science is very strong in India and I get so many invitations from knowledge sharing platforms. But I need a visa to come here and there is a lot of red tape unlike China where there is a special long-term visa for Nobel laureates. India should also think of a five-year visa as opposed to its current 30-day visa policy," he said, adding that knowledge exchange should be both ways.

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"Young Indian scientists go to the US but not Germany because they think language would be a barrier there. But it is just a misconception. Also, professors in India need to recommend young talent. Professors in China, South Korea and Japan are more straightforward in their approach and frequently recommend bright students," he said.

Klitzing also said that nationalism posed a danger to science.

“As scientists, we need to fight this. Facts are the basis of science. Science needs to promote open discussion and interactions,” he said.

On a lighter note, Klitzing who won the Nobel at just 43 said that winning the coveted award at a later age is better since one can "win more money and accolades".

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