WAITRO: A Treasure Trove for Research Technology Organisations


Role of WAITRO

Continuous growth and sustainability of growth are the subjects with which the policy makers all over the world have always been preoccupied. In the recent times, sustainability of any project, activity and operation has become the buzz word. Sustainability is possible only through research, development and innovation, this fact has been realized more now than ever before. That is why there has been renewed focus on nurturing innovation by the countries irrespective of their economic situation. In the gloabalised world, R&D has also got to be globalised.

Unlike the past when the growth happened in certain isolated pockets of the world, thanks to the closed economy, the scenario is completely different in the present time. While bilateral co-operations were the priority in the yester-years, multilateral co-operations have come to become the reality of the day. For the facilitation of multilateral co-operation, WAITRO provides the necessary boost. Co-operation, collaborations, sharing, hand holding, partnering, etc. are the key drivers of growth these days. Capability building through establishment of R&D set up with the help of leading institutions of the world has become the in-thing these days. WAITRO, i.e. the World Association of Industrial and Technological Research Organizations has been playing a vital role of uniting the world by creating a common platform, networking different stakeholders of innovation for achieving an all-inclusive growth. Over the last 44 years, WAITRO has been contributing in creating capabilities in various fields of science and technology all over the world. It is now known as a global innovation family with over 150 member institutions from more than 70 countries. This article presents the activities of WAITRO for all the prospective member institutes to describe how everyone would gain by joining this unique organisation.



Co-operation and Collaboration


In the future, growth would be driven by novel and winning technologies developed through innovative approach. Co-operation and collaborations would be imminent if the technologies are needed to be developed fast. Even for the diffusion of the already developed technologies, collaborative efforts are necessary. For collaboration to happen, those who have technologies need to get in touch with those looking for technologies and vice-versa. This is what precisely becomes possible here with WAITRO.

It must be noted that these days, even international funding agencies sponsor projects mainly to consortia rather than to an individual organisation. For making consortia happen easily, it is wise to join WAITRO as an active member. The idea behind this change of funding philosophy by the agencies is the fact that the development of winning technologies based on the local resources but having global acceptability, can be possible only if there is a consortia of labs working together. For example, for the European Union Framework Programme (EU FP) projects, it is often mandatory to have institutes coming from different regions of the world collaborating together to develop technologies. This way, the 360° perception of any project can be ensured. At the same time, the outcome of the project would be meeting the requirements of the end user.



Capability Building


Unless the capability building projects are taken up in countries lacking the R&D set up, it would no longer be in the interest of anyone. Those who have it will have to share with others who have not. This can happen in a matter-of-factly manner here in the WAITRO family. In the recent time, there have been a number of training programmes as also the exchange programmes conducted by WAITRO for the benefit of its members. Here again, everyone has turned out to be a gainer.


What is there in it for everyone?


These days, before joining any organisation, one wants to ensure what is there for anyone to gain from it. Those joining WAITRO may also pose this question. It is possible that those who are already members of the WAITRO family may also be wondering about the benefits of continuing with it. For all of them, the only submission is that there exists, if not a lot, at least something for everyone here. WAITRO is such a strong body of members coming from different parts of the world, as also from different background. Being a part of WAITRO, therefore, would be an easy way of getting access to the knowledge about what is going on in various fields of S&T at the global level. For members from the developed world, there are a number of prospective partners whereas for those coming from the developing world can find the possibilities of learning from the experts from the advanced countries.  Otherwise, to make such type of hand-holding for bringing the developing world at par with the developed world can be a herculean task for any one research institute.



If one carries out a SWOT analysis of the different regions of the world, the need for multilateral collaborations based upon the concept of complementing each other’s capabilities would be comprehensible without any additional efforts. The needs for different regions of the world as envisaged by WAITRO can be summarised as follows:




Europe, the USA, Australia, Japan, etc: Countries from the developed regions are known for having state-of-the-art technologies for different sectors of industry. The existing expert human resource there has been focusing on producing innovative technologies. What they look forward to continuous growth in the future relates to the opportunities for trying their technology know-how. Basically they require partners who can provide them with the chance to experiment for the adaptation of technologies developed by them. Additionally, for creation of innovation, scientists of the developed world would need exposure to the prevailing challenging situations in the not-so-developed parts of the world. Needless to mention here, in the times to come even the basic input for innovations, i.e. human resource will also have to be sourced from outside.

WAITRO has to increase its base in the developed countries. Hopefully, the organisations in these countries would appreciate the advantage of joining WAITRO.




Asia: During the last 50 years, there has been remarkable growth in almost all countries of Asia. World scale capacities of manufacturing all sorts of products have come up here. Incidentally, the market size for their products is readily available right there with them. The outcome of these developments is responsible for establishing a sound set up for pursuing R&D, backed by a strong educational infrastructure.

However, the capability building projects in this region would have to be undertaken in collaboration with the developed countries. The R&D institutes in Asia need their counterparts from the developed countries to achieve the desired results. Asia is going to be the place from where the human resource would be sourced by all. WAITRO members from this region are quite active, deriving all possible benefits.


Latin America and the Caribbean: Countries in these regions need to take up several initiatives for capability building, just like the case in Asia. It is imminent that the R&D organisations in this region join WAITRO.


Africa: If the last 50 years had been for Asia, the future is that for Africa. That is why, perhaps, almost everyone has started preparing plans of R&D keeping the interests of Africa in mind. The wealth of natural resources is obviously the attraction.

It is worth reporting that the list of WAITRO members from Africa is significantly long and growing.



What is being said?


Presenting the various advantages a WAITRO member can seek was mainly to convince the prospective organisations to join WAITRO. The aim is to reassure the existing members that everyone is a gainer in the WAITRO family. Thanks to the strengths that exist, the members of WAITRO can take to overcome the threats and inherent weaknesses by seizing the opportunities working in a co-ordinated manner.


This effort will hopefully generate more members for WAITRO and create possibilities of co-operation amongst them.


Long live its members and long live WAITRO!




Article by Prof. Dr. R. K. Khandal, President of WAITRO from 2011-2014.

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