'Diaspora can play key role to boost science in India'

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 08:00 hrs

Washington, Jan 3 (IANS) Even as the Indian Science Congress began in Kolkata, a leading Indian-American scientist raised several questions about the direction of Indian scientific research, saying the diaspora can play an important role in promotion of science and technology in the country.

"When we talk about pure sciences, quality and rigour of the methods used in research are more important than quantity," said Thomas Abraham, president of the US based technology & market research firm Innovative Research and Products.

Abraham, a materials scientist and nanotechnologist by profession, who is also founder president of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO), will chair a seminar session on Pure Sciences at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Kochi Sunday.

The seminar with the theme of 'More from Less for More' will look at various challenges involved in developing pure sciences and its commercialisation for enhancing India's competitiveness globally.

Towards this end, besides understanding critical success factors in research, the session will explore possibilities of global scientific leadership for India, Abraham said.

The keynote speaker is IIT-Delhi Director Prof. R.K. Shevgaonkar. The panellists include Lord Bhikhu Parekh of British House of Lords; P.C. Chacko MP; Dr. S. Ayyappan, Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Dr. Shekhar Gupta of Fermi Laboratory in the US.

In a knowledge base economy, pure sciences contribute to the applied sciences and engineering to develop next generation technologies and products for the benefit of a country and the society at large.

The session will focus on the present status of pure sciences research in India and explore how overseas Indians can be involved to promote pure sciences in India.

"I have heard from many Indian American academics, who visit India and attend many science conferences and poster sessions, is that in broad terms Indian post graduate students and faculties often do not concentrate on quality," said Abraham.

"Although there are people doing quality research in pure sciences in some of the Indian institutions, their numbers are painfully insignificant compared to other countries including many Asian countries like China, Korea and Singapore," he said.

"Indian Diaspora can play an important role for promotion of science and technology in India," said Abraham noting, "Although there have been some past efforts, we are yet to see a concentrated effort in this direction."

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is a great platform where Indian diaspora can share their ideas with their Indian counterparts, he said, suggesting this could be made more meaningful especially for India to leapfrog to the next generation technologies utilising resources of the Indian diaspora.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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