Open Innovation at Sony through Academic collaborations in India

By Arithy MV, Strategy & Planning Department at Sony Research India

20th July 2022

Sony Research India Private Limited was established in July 2020 as part of Sony’s global R&D centres worldwide. Ever since its establishment, Sony Research India has been committed to promote Open Innovation by fostering partnerships with university faculty and researchers. This has enabled Sony to establish lasting synergies and establish initiatives to innovate technologies and nurture Indian research talent.

India is emerging as one of the Largest Publishers of Science and Engineering Articles

India as a country has immense potential for R&D talents with its fast-growing scientific community and increasingly sophisticated research environment that can cater to the needs of the Indian populace as well as address all global problems.

The changes in the organization over 2 years

One of the most obvious changes I can see at Sony Research India is how much we have expanded in terms of computational resources. I have also seen an exponential rise in terms of the number of research fields Sony Research India is contributing over the past two years.
When we first started in 2020, the working style was remote, but now we have the option of adopting a hybrid working style. Hence, I believe that the organization is actively updating their policies to support our requests.
According to the US National Science Foundation survey in 2021, India has become the world’s third largest publisher of science and engineering articles. The data shows that in 2010, India published 60,555 science and engineering articles which increased to 149,213 articles in 2020 at an average annual growth rate of 14.64 per cent. The country now accounts for 5.07 per cent of the total world publications in science and engineering.
Though a long way to go, as compared to the US and China in terms of the number of scientific article publications, India’s growth rate is much higher than the US or other such developed countries. It is not just the increase in the quantity of the papers that are getting accepted and published in conferences, the quality of the papers in each of the domains from Indian academic sector has also greatly improved in recent years.
According to Stanford’s AI Index 2022, India leads the world in the rate of AI (Artificial Intelligence) skill penetration followed by the US and then Germany. The AI skill penetration rate shows the prevalence of AI skills across occupations, or the intensity with which researchers use AI skills in their jobs. This also proves that India is leading the world in academic research and its applicability at industry levels.

Open Innovation is the Future

Open innovation is the new paradigm shift in the R&D ecosystem and India is a key driving factor. It is one of the most important emerging trends today across industries that invariably relies upon Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics, for instance. It is basically a multi-disciplinary approach for research collaboration that involves all stakeholders – academia, government, and industry.
Academic-industry collaborations are evolving as a primary driver of advanced problem solving that would directly impact the future of household solutions. Open innovation in India has huge potential because of greater availability of talented researchers particularly in the academic side including senior researchers with incredible knowledge and connections on global research. Multitudes of young professors who are eager to pursue advanced research in India are fast growing in terms of papers published, citations and global recognition as compared to a decade ago in India – thanks to the growing post-graduate researchers who gain experience working at the state-of-the-art research facilities from across the globe.
There are various policies and strategies that are being defined by the central government to improve on the research infrastructure and to establish strong collaborations with industry that would contribute to unprecedented growth of research from Indian academia.

Sony Research India Fosters Open Innovation

As part of Sony’s commitment to foster open innovation and nurture Indian talent, a global program called ‘Sony Research Award Program’ has opened its door to universities in India since 2021.
This award program provides funding up to 150,000 USD per year for programs researching emerging and innovative technologies in collaboration with Sony’s own research groups and has opened to call for proposals to collaborate with universities and research institutes from India, the U.S., Canada and select European countries. Through such various initiatives at Sony, we are actively nurturing academicians and researchers on emerging technologies that are being developed in the Indian academic ecosystem for the Indian market.
To know more about the Sony Research Award Program, click here.
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