'Scientific personnel, the nation's backbone'
Scientific personnel with real knowledge and expertise in their respective fields are the backbone of any nation, said P K N Panicker on Monday at the inauguration of the Chemical Industries Association’s Seminar on Algae Emerging Investment Opportunities in Algae Biofuel and Algae Based Chemicals.
“Without a trained and knowledgeable core of scientific personnel, no country can mount effective industrial development,” he pointed out to the delegates from various Indian universities and research institutions. With energy becoming an increasingly scarce resource it was imperative that alternative sources of energy be studied extensively. “And the people doing the research need to be nurtured by the government,” he added.
Tossing out a few examples of industries and research institutions that withered in the face of neglect and inadequate encouragement from the government, Panicker said that India could be called a land of lost opportunity.
“In the development of technology and engineering, this country remains a land of lost opportunities, except for the fields of space technology and nuclear applications as there aren’t much we can claim to have done on our own,” he said.
“We find ourselves struggling with inadequate producers of some key parts for solar power plants. If we could have nurtured the few silicon wafer development plants that came up in the late 80s we would not find ourselves in this position,” he pointed out.
He also said that the government has to be willing to nurture these plants, even if there is a risk of loss of investment. Algae technology is a fast growing field of research with several companies involved conclusively, proving that an acre of algae could produce 22,500 litres of biofuel and up to 200 tons of biomass per annum.
Panicker said that it was a field of development, India had a huge opportunity in and the younger generation could play a vital role in its development. “It is encouraging to see that many of the faces at this event are young faces. We need deeply involved and interested members of the younger generation to take further the future technology development,” he concluded.