Focus on India

Facts and figures, life scientists in India, EMBO opportunities

India has been an EMBC Associate Member State since 2016.

Facts and figures

India’s gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) is 0.7%1 which is around 43 US dollars per capita.2 The government is the major contributor to R&D funding (nearly 60%); private participation is low2. India’s number of researchers per million people increased from 218 in 2015 to 255 in 2017, with the total number of researchers in the country at 342,000.3

In 2018, India employed nearly 552,000 personnel in its R&D institutions. Of this, 61.1% were performing R&D activities, 17.9% were engaged in auxiliary activities, and 20.3% provided administrative and non-technical support.4 The R&D sector employs 56,747 women.4

Five major scientific agencies under the central government, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Department of Space (DOS), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), account for 82.2% of the total R&D expenditure, with DRDO alone accounting for 31.6%.4 During 2017-18, the share of basic research was 23.9%, applied research contributed 36.9%, experimental development 32.4% and related supporting activities 6.8%.4

India has 1,043 universities. Student enrolment reached 38,536,359 in 2019-2020. The percentage of female students enrolled is 49%.5

Filing of patents has increased from 42,763 in 2014-15 to 66,440 in 2021-2022, an increase of more than 50% in seven years, with a nearly five-fold increase in granted patents from 5,978 in 2014-15 to 30,074 in 2021-2022.6

India’s bioeconomy grew from 70.2 billion US dollars in 2020 to over 80.1 billion US dollars in 2021. The country aims to reach the 150 billion US dollars threshold in bioeconomy by 2025.7 The number of biotech start-ups has increased from 50 to over 5,300 in the last ten years, with a push from India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), an interface agency set up by the DBT.8

Population: 1.423 billion9
R&D spending: 0.7% of GDP1
Patents: 66,440 filed in 2021-20226
Foreign researchers: 2,49114
Researchers per million population: 2553
Universities: 1,0435
Foreign students: 49,3485

Life scientists in India are eligible for all of the EMBO Programmes. Find out about all EMBO funding schemes here.

Click to expand

All information as of March 2022.


Meet scientists from the EMBO communities