Why India needs to focus on research
By Blessy Mathew Prasad | Published: 25th July 2016 06:00 AM |
In order to celebrate success in scientific research, Infosys has introduced the Infosys Prize, one of the largest honors for research in India, worth `65 lakh (tax free in India), a citation certificate and a gold medallion. The prize was established with the intention of recognizing and rewarding impactful and transformative work by contemporary researchers connected to India. The prize is now given in six categories – Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. S D Shibulal, President, Board of Trustees, Infosys Science Foundation talks about the quality of research in Indian institutions and the role of corporate organisations in improving it. Excerpts...
Where do you think Indian institutions rank in terms of quality of research now?
The last few decades have seen a drop in the percentage enrolment of the brightest young minds in basic science streams in India. Unfortunately today, India has only 2,00,000 full time researchers — four researchers per 10,000 labour force. Global university rankings look into factors such as quality of research undertaken by universities. Unfortunately, many Indian universities lag behind when it comes to research. A recent survey called Contributors and Detractors: Ranking Countries’ Impact on Global Innovation, conducted by a US-based think tank, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), ranks India near the bottom of a list of 56 countries. The ITIF report ranks India 35 out of 51 countries when it comes to the number of top-ranking universities in a country. Government funding of university research (per capita) is way below the requirement today. The need of the hour for India is to build best class universities and create opportunities for people to take up research as a career.
Why is it important for students to undertake India-specific research?
Research and development forms an important pillar of competitiveness of any country, as it assumes criticality for innovation, and India is no exception. It is a critical component of economic growth and will ensure that India achieves self-sufficiency in various sectors. Some branches of research focus on high level problems and the solutions would benefit all of humanity, san borders. This is especially true of Maths and Physical Sciences that address questions about the universe. Humanities, Social Sciences, a lot of Engineering and especially Life Sciences are often critical for solving local problems as the research question stems from a local situation particular to the socio economic or genomic characteristics of a region.
Reach Out: infosys-science-foundation.com