Conceptualisation and Development of Technological Readiness Level (TRL) Framework for CSIR Technologies

CSIR had decided to benchmark all of its technologies based on the Technological Readiness Level (TRL) framework. A Compendium of technologies at TRL 6 and above was released by CSIR in 2019. This compendium had a total of 244 technologies, with each technology having details such as technology name, the developer CSIR laboratory, and a summary of the technology. Now CSIR-NIScPR has taken the lead to update CSIR Compendium of Technologies 2021 with a methodological framework developed in-house and with the help of several leading experts of technology management. The idea is to identify the technologies which are at TRL 6 and above level and place them in a technology compendium. Rigorous evaluation has identified these technologies through critical and informed assessment of their readiness levels. The processes included close consultation with the laboratories that generated the technologies and involved a wide range of domain experts. A coordinating body steered the rigorous process of identifying the technologies with Director NIScPR as Nodal, a core coordinating group and research groups for each theme. The documents makes the information accessible to industry and other stakeholders. The technologies fall under 8 themes identified by CSIR: Aerospace, Electronics and Instrumentation & Strategic Sectors (AEISS), Agriculture, Nutrition and Biotechnology (ANB), Chemical (Including Leather) and Petrochemicals (CLP), Civil, Infrastructure, and Engineering (CIE), Ecology, Environment, Earth and Ocean Sciences & Water (E3OW), Energy Conventional and Non-conventional & Energy Devices (EED), Healthcare, Biologics, Diagnostics and Genomics (HTC), Mining, Minerals, Metal and Materials (4M). This compendium shortlists 313 CSIR technologies that are promising (TRL 6 & 7) and market-ready (TRL 8 & 9). Many technologies are protected by Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) filed in the US, giving India an edge in technology competitiveness. Among them, 61 % are most promising (TRL 6 and TRL 7), and 39% are ready for market (TRL 8 and TRL 9) with huge potential for further innovation and commercialization. More than half of the technologies identified are from Agriculture, Nutrition and Biotechnology (ANB) (28%) and Mining, Minerals, Metal and Materials (4M) (24%) combined. Technologies at progressive TRLs exhibit a downward trend highlighting challenges in moving to a higher TRL scale.It also underlines a need for a further revisit by the developing laboratory that can engage with other CSIR laboratories for technologies that are in TRL6 and TRL7, particularly those have not moved ahead to higher TRL levels over a period of time. New complementary skills, new approaches, and other technology inputs from other CSIR laboratories can push the translation towards higher TRL. CSIR needs to explore the ‘OPEN Innovation’ approach, which calls for developing strategic linkages with industry to develop the technologies further. New models like co-production, equity sharing can be explored to strengthen the open innovation approach. Labs with technologies that have not moved to higher TRL levels over a period of time can be strengthened in terms of expertise, skills, and new approaches through collaboration.