MOHALI: President Ram Nath Kovind asked scientists and students to work towards finding solutions to challenges such as climate change and water scarcity while underscoring that science and technology
must continue to play a role in nation-building.
While addressing the seventh convocation of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Mohali, Kovind said that the purpose of scientific research is three-fold. "First, science and technology must continue to play a role in nation-building. As our nation evolves and as our society changes, our needs too are transformed. Yet, science and technology will always be required to find answers to developmental questions. Today, the questions before us range from battling climate change to provide low-cost but effective healthcare solutions. And from helping our farmers overcome productivity and water-scarcity challenges to building sustainable cities and houses that are socially inclusive and provide a life of dignity to the last family in the last mohalla,’’ he said.
Noting that science and technology have a symbiotic relationship with business and industry, Kovind said science and commerce can do a lot together. Secondly, he said, science and technology have a symbiotic relationship with business and industry. Product invention and process innovation; converting the learning of the lab into commercially viable products; using technology to promote efficiency, enterprise and employment – there is so much science and commerce can do together. The combination of research institutions, technology start-ups incubated in campuses, and a knowledge-based business culture can be transformational. Silicon Valley in California and Bengaluru in India are examples of this. IISER must strive to play a similar role in Mohali and neighbouring cities.
He said that thirdly institutions of scientific education and research are important in themselves for blue-sky innovation and for expanding the frontiers of knowledge. This is the fundamental and most critical value of scientific research. It is to keep alive the instinct of curiosity that is at the root of our civilisation. As the history of science tells us, this route requires patience. But it can lead to unexpected and dramatic leaps in human imagination.
Punjab has a long history of technocrats who ventured into successful businesses. Those who are graduating today too should consider the path of entrepreneurship – and of becoming job and wealth
creators as so many great scientists and technologists have done, he said.
He said that today Mohali is a hub for the knowledge economy, for Information Technology, biotechnology and bioinformatics and related fields. It is critical therefore that we see IISER as not
just a standalone institution but as the fulcrum of an entire ecosystem. That is how this institution must grow and develop.