Karnataka is set to unveil on Tuesday a policy to spur engineering research and development, the first by any Indian state.

The policy, which looks to consolidate the state’s position as a global hub for engineering R&D, has been drafted by the Department of IT and Biotechnology and seeks to offer multinational companies the option of either setting up new ER&D units or expanding their existing facilities.

The state government is expected to spend about Rs 1,000 crore over the next five years on ER&D, including incentives and funds to develop infrastructure and train manpower.

“We will offer up to 33% investment subsidies and incentives for companies and offerings on a case-to-case basis. We are also investing on students to nurture the talent pool required for the R&D centres. The idea is to leverage on the existing R&D ecosystem in the state,” deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan, who also holds charge of the IT&BT portfolio, told ET.

State capital Bengaluru is already home to R&D units of multinationals such as Google, Microsoft, IBM, GE, Airbus and Samsung.

The policy, which was drafted in consultation with industry lobby group Nasscom and top industry executives, envisages government financial aid for creating common testbeds for select technologies.

“The government’s willingness to partially invest in co-creating common infrastructure for some areas of technology will be a gamechanger initiative. This is similar to what the central government did for software technology parks in the 90s,” Nasscom vice president (industry initiatives), KS Vishwanathan, said.

The policy identifies talent as a key factor and the government will offer scholarships for students opting for a post-graduate and doctoral programme to enter the engineering research sector, which requires high quality researchers.

The policy proposes to offer the chief minister’s scholarship scheme – funded by the government and industry – to encourage students who want to take up higher studies in engineering.

“We will encourage educational institutes to develop customised courses based on the industry requirement, so that research scholars can work closely with companies,” EV Ramana Reddy, additional chief secretary in the IT&BT department, said.

Karnataka is home to over half of India’s aerospace and space companies, half of the country’s defence research labs and the Indian Institute of Science. Bengaluru, its capital hosts over 697 leading R&D and global centres of excellence, according to researcher Zinnov.

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