I started off my speaking assignments for this year with a workshop on IPR at St. Claret College, Bangalore. St. Claret College is what I would call a non-STEM institution. The primary focus of the institution, as it stands now, is not Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM). Though STEM is an acronym used for schools, in the context of IPR, the term captures the predominant activities of any educational institution focused on these disciplines.
What should be the IPR requirements that non-STEM institutions should follow? Do they have to satisfy the same as STEM institutes do? A point of contention is the fact that the IPR that is of utmost relevance for a STEM institution, i.e., patents, may be of little significance to a non-STEM institution which does not teach or do research in the sciences. There is a clear division in their regulation as well with the non-STEM institutes coming under the UGC and STEM under the AICTE. Yet, the IPR mandate (see my recent article on the move by UGC requiring universities to set up IP Centres) does not take special note of the fact that non-STEM institutes may not be generating IPRs at the rate at which STEM institutes would. When the NAAC asks the same question on the number of patents filed, it does create some cause of concern for the non-STEM institutes while getting their accreditations.
My sincere thanks to Fr. Sabu George, Principal, St. Claret College and his colleagues for the warm hospitality extended to me during my visit.