A state known for its heritage, culture and disaster management, and as an emerging hub of scholarship and research, Odisha is making its mark. This special issue captures the aspirations of and challenges for the eastern Indian state in becoming the next national science hub.
Odisha is home to a number of large national institutes and laboratories – the Indian Institute of Technology, the Institute of Life Sciences, the Institute of Minerals and Material Technology, the Regional Medical Research Centre, the National Institute of Science Education and Research, National Rice Research Institute, the Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The state government-run Utkal University and the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology in capital Bhubaneswar add to its scholarly might. Private education conglomerates such as the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology University and the L V Prasad Eye Institute are helping produce a sizeable scientific workforce.
The entrepreneurship and innovation scene is warming up with a number of technology business incubators setting up shop in the state. A biotechnology cluster is also on the cards. The Odisha special issue takes a close look at this growth of innovation and technology in the state’s science.
Odisha’s 460km coastline and a hot, humid agro-climate, have endowed it with rich fisheries and paddy cultivation resources. The state’s scientific legacy in both aquaculture and rice research have benefitted from these. We examine the results of years of rice and fish breeding that Odisha has gifted to the world. The state’s proximity to the Bay of Bengal and high summer temperatures have also brought severe cyclones, floods and heat waves. We investigate how Odisha is setting an example in using science and technology to cope with such extreme weather phenomena.
Odisha’s rich culture and history draws international attention. Its many temples, monuments, ancient palm leaf manuscripts, paintings, and excavations are keenly researched by archaeologists, leading to innovative conservation methods to preserve Odisha’s past.
We analyse the traditional and modern methods being deployed by scientists, and focus on another rich historical source – shipwrecks – revealing fascinating stories of historic naval wars off the coast of Odisha.
India’s science and technology is well entrenched in metro areas, with institute clusters like those in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, the national capital region of Delhi, and Kolkata. Smaller, second-tier cities like Bhubaneswar are gearing up to the cluster approach, and are poised to contribute to the research and innovation scene. The Odisha special issue is an attempt to shine a light on one such state. In the near future, Nature India’s regional spotlights will chronicle more such emerging hubs of science in the country.
The Nature India special issue on Odisha is free to download here.