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India seen developing own R&D work force

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Despite low science and engineering student graduation rates and widely varying education quality, India is rapidly becoming a global research and development hub at a rate akin to what it accomplished in information technology, a new study shows.

Conducted by Duke University’s global engineering and entrepreneurship project team, the study was released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

It shows that India’s private sector has adapted and perfected the best practices of Western companies and integrated them through innovative workforce training and development programs.

Indian senior corporate executives have developed, in effect, a surrogate education system by producing, for a variety of industries, skilled labor pools capable of handling very complex work.

“Because they are investing in, cultivating and empowering their employees, Indian companies can hire bright but largely inexperienced talent and train them to be world-class engineers and scientists,” says the study’s lead author, Vivek Wadhwa, executive-in-residence at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke and a fellow at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School.

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