Nature India | Indigenus

More excellence

January brings some more cheer for enterprising science policy makers and academicians in this counry, who are constantly on the lookout for new avenues and funds to create a robust scientific workforce.

The buzz in government corridors is that disciplines like biotechnology, bioinformatics, nanotechnoloy, mechatronics and high-performance computing will get a boost in India over the next six years. The Indian government has earmarked close to Rs150 crores in the current five-year plan period (that ends in 2012) to set up 50 new centres of excellence in these disciplines. More funds are expected to be pumped in to set these centres up in the next plan period.

A scientific panel of the government headed by eminent scientist C. N. R. Rao has chosen 35 new proposals for creation of such centres to come up in government and private institutions. The centres will have post-graduate, PhD and post doctoral courses alongside short courses.

January 2010 had also brought similar cheer when the science minister announced doubling of funds for research and development.


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    Narendra Nath said:

    The real problem today in science & technology R & D lies with the work force availability that is relevant to the subjects we wish to enhance and innovate with excellence. The good grades and pay packets in academic and scientific institutions are working against initiative, deligence and intergrity required to do R & D. Such a character can not be built overnight. Funds are likely to get wasted or poorly utilized. If i may say so, some of the IIT’s have become local institutions, with some exception to the ones at Powai and Chennai. A long term approach is required to set things right as more money may only introduce corruption in science as we in India have little accountability and transparency in implementation.

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    The real problems are entirely different.

    Funds have doubled but lack of research spirit and dedication results in bogus science.

    Indian scientific talent is demoralized, particularly the women scientists. Researchers are unaware of how to write a good research paper, they just use short cut and want to be spoonfed.

    Qualified canddidates are not well placed in respective fields, particularly in environmental studies. So the govt. should keep a vigil on standards of scientific research, particularly in field of nuclear science, about which there’s negative public perception.