Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A model for academic-industry cooperation

Collaborations among universities and businesses are crucial not only to making new discoveries but also to ensuring that breakthroughs in science and technology find their way to the people who need them. Academics have a history of either giving away too much of their intellectual property to corporate partners or of making it too difficult for companies to license the technology. The solution is to find a middle ground.

James Weyhenmeyer, Senior Vice Provost for Research with the State University of New York (SUNY) shows the way. He sites an example of a deal signed in 2007 for the University of California Berkeley, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to work with energy producer BP on a US $500 million research program to explore how bioscience can be used to increase energy production and reduce the impact of energy consumption on the environment. The following are the highlights:

(a) The intellectual property consisted of a "yours, mine and ours" model, which meant each party retained the rights to all of the work done at their campus facilities but had to share ownership of projects developed at joint sites (BP set up labs on both campuses)

(b) It included a clause that gave the energy company a royalty-free, nonexclusive license to commercialize the results of the collaboration

(c) BP could buy exclusive rights by paying the other two parties US $100,000 per year per invention.

(d) In the event this group developed a blockbuster technology, Lawrence Berkeley and the universities could renegotiate with BP for a bigger piece of the pie.

This deal can become a model for others to follow

Ref: When universities and businesses collaborate, it's "yours, mine and ours" by Larry Greenemeier, Scientific American Observations, Dec 8, 2009



Monday, November 23, 2009

Boost for research

India's apex industry chamber, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)), is set to sign three MoUs for cooperation with three leading US institutions. The MOUs will be signed by the Prime Minister during his visit to US.

The first MoU with IC2 Institute at the University of Texas at Austin calls for the implementation of new, distinctive programmes in India with the aim of helping Indian innovators bring their ideas to the world. The interdisciplinary research unit of The University of Texas at Austin, the IC² Institute has advanced the Theory and Practice of Entrepreneurial Wealth Creation.

With sponsorship from the Lockheed Martin Corporation, FICCI and IC2 Institute teamed together in March 2007 to launch a first of its kind initiative ­ "The India Innovation Growth Programme" with the prime objective of assisting Indian innovators across the country and across a diversified range of sectors to take their R&D work to global markets.

The programme has successfully completed three years and has signed 73 business deals in India and around the world. Major deals have been signed under the programme in the sectors of waste management, rural technology, life sciences, avionics and green technology. The FICCI and IC2 Institute have also jointly assessed 200 technologies from 26 DRDO labs across India and 7 licensing agreements have been finalised in India

The second MoU with the Polytechnic Institute of New York University commits the organizations to a culture of innovation in India. Under this pact, NYU-Poly and FICCI will design and host activities to promote an understanding of how partnerships between government, industry, and educational institutions can spur advances in research and bolster economic activity in India.

The two organisations have agreed to bring their respective strengths to meet India's growing demand for world-class research and development facilities that attract global talent. NYU-Poly, New York City's most comprehensive engineering and technology institutions of higher education, will showcase the successes of American models of private-public partnerships at events in India.

FICCI in turn will engage academic, research, government, and business entities in the cultivation of public-private partnerships.

The third MoU with the Institute of International Education, Inc. (IIE) outlines an agreement to partner to promote and facilitate educational and training exchanges between the United States and India. The IIE, a leading not-for-profit educational and cultural exchange organization in the United States, will collaborate with FICCI to facilitate more student exchanges and build academic partnerships between the two countries.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Teachers must research

Teachers’ Participation in Research Programs Improves Their Students’ achievements in studies

The Program advocates assert that program participation enhances teachers’ skills in communicating science to students. They measured the impact of New York City public high-school science teachers’ participation in Columbia University’s Summer Research Program on their students’ academic performance in science. In the year before program entry, students of participating and nonparticipating teachers passed a New York State Regents science examination at the same rate. In years three and four after program entry, participating teachers’ students passed Regents science exams at a rate that was 10.1% higher than that of the non-participating teachers’ students. Other program benefits include decreased teacher attrition from classroom teaching and school cost savings.

The above results apply better in case of higher education. That is what experience shows.

Ref: “Teachers’ Participation in Research Programs Improves Their Students’ Achievement in Science”,

Samuel C. Silverstein, Jay Dubner, Jon Miller, Sherry Glied, John D. Loike, Science, 16 October 2009, Vol. 326. No. 5951, pp. 440 – 442,

DOI: 10.1126/science.1177344

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Indian ancestry

The outcome of an extensive genetic research suggests that the population of India was founded on two ancient groups that are as genetically distinct from each other as they are from other Asians, according to the largest DNA survey of Indian heritage to date. Nowadays, however, most Indians are a genetic hotchpotch of both ancestries, despite the populous nation's highly stratified social structure.

A team led by David Reich of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Lalji Singh of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad, India probed more than 560,000 DNA-letter differences, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) across the genomes of 132 Indian individuals from 25 diverse ethnic and tribal groups dotted all over India.

The researchers showed that most Indian populations are genetic admixtures of two ancient, genetically divergent groups, which each contributed around 40-60% of the DNA to most present-day populations. One ancestral lineage — which is genetically similar to Middle Eastern, Central Asian and European populations — was higher in upper-caste individuals and speakers of Indo-European languages such as Hindi, the researchers found. The other lineage was not close to any group outside the subcontinent and was most common in people indigenous to the Andaman Islands a remote archipelago in the Bay of Bengal.

Indian populations, although currently huge in number, were also founded by relatively small bands of individuals, the study suggests. Overall, the picture that emerges is of ancient genetic mixture, followed by fragmentation into small, isolated ethnic groups, which were then kept distinct for thousands of years because of limited intermarriage — a practice also known as endogamy.

Ref: Elie Dolgin, "Indian ancestry revealed", Nature, 23 September 2009, doi:10.1038/news.2009.935

Monday, September 21, 2009

R&D required in electronics technology

India which boasts of being an IT superpower, is heavily dependent on imports of electronic goods from countries like the U.S. and China to meet its domestic demand. In spite of having a tax exemption of 150 percent, the Indian industries spend very little on the research and development.

The joint study done by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and Ernst and Young points out that the Indian industry spends only $10 million on research and development.More than 70 percent of electronics appliances demand is met through imports, the study revealed.

More than 35 percent of electronics appliances imports in India are sourced from China. One wonders how India is going to compete with the so called 'Asian Tiger', increasingly depending on it in such critical areas.

The study, which is based on inputs from 89 companies, also stated that the Indian electronics and appliances market has less than two percent share in the global market, while share in production is less than one percent.

The Indian industry in general is seen as interested in making quick buck importing goods or technology even when such imports are of semi knocked down(SKD) form or completely knocked down(CKD) type.

The Government of India must provide more incentives, in tax and capital, to industries consistently investing in R&D

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Higher education reforms: autonomous colleges

The Indian government is thinking of freeing colleges from universities and letting them run their own show. This was announced by human resource development (HRD) minister Kapil Sibal during his meeting with principal secretaries and secretaries of higher education from the states.

In order to become independent, colleges will first have to excel in many areas. Should they improve further, they could be allowed to become universities.

The Centre plans to create a three-tier system of affiliated colleges, autonomous colleges and universities. Their standards will be judged through an accreditation system formulated by the States so that students know the quality and resources of institute they attend. That would introduce competition among the educational institutions.

The government wants to regulate the fees and the admission process in private and unaided colleges and create a regulatory mechanism to prevent the business of capitation fees. States have also been asked for ideas on how to insulate the selection of vice-chancellors from politics.

A three-month deadline has been set for the education secretaries to prepare a vision document on the targets to be achieved in higher education by 2020. That must contain the state's targets for higher education till 2020, details of the current conditions, the number of universities and colleges, what the state thinks of their quality and a plan to increase Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education. The document will help the government plug loopholes, boost the sector and set benchmarks for 2020.

The government has ambitious plans for enrollment. It plans to bring a 5% increase in GER by the end of the 11th Plan and raise it to the global average of 30% by 2020. The states were also pulled up for pinching pennies on the education. According to the Ministry, the Centre's education spend, as a percentage of GDP, has increased to 0.91% in 2009 from 0.53% in 2000-01, while the states' spend has declined from 3.76% to 2.73%.

National Knowledge Commission on Higher Education

USA-India Educational Exchange

Full interest subsidy on educational loans for poor students

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Brain drain

Over 2.64 lakh students, who have gone abroad for studies, are spending approximately USD 5.5 billion (about Rs 27,000 crore) every year, Lok Sabha (Parliament of India) was informed. Most of the students who go abroad for higher education, seek jobs in the foreign country, resulting in a permanent loss of talent for the country.

This huge outflow of money and the brain can be at least partly reduced if the universities and the technical institutions in India deliver what their foreign counterparts do.

It is essential that conducive atmosphere is created in India so that the reputed foreign universities come here. The entry of foreign institutions in the higher education shall generate healthy competition and help improving the quality of education as a whole.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Higher education: Harvard, Stanford, MIT, welcome to India

The Human Resource Development Minister of India, Kapil Sibal, says foreign universities like Harvard are welcome in India. He expressed that these universities will come to India on certain terms and conditions. Everyone's view will be taken into consideration and decision will be taken according to the national interest.

The foreign universities are investing in the developing country like Malaysia. The expenses incurred in educating a child there are just half of that in Australia. If the universities are giving the same education in Malaysia at half the price, they are welcome to do the same in India too.

The academic standard of Indian universities is poor, especially in the area of research in science and technology. The top world universities give considerable emphasis on research. The competition with foreign universities shall motivate Indian universities to improve academic standard and pursue research. It will also be a good career opportunity for the competent faculty.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Higher education: thrust area in India Finance Budget 2009

The newly elected United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has made higher education its thrust area with a view to increasing the gross enrollment ratio to 15 per cent by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan.

The key announcement in this regard was made by the Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in his budget speech on Monday, in the form of a student loan for economically weaker sections. Under this scheme, eligible students will be provided full interest subsidy during the period of moratorium. It will cover loans taken by such students from scheduled banks to pursue any of the approved courses of study, in technical and professional streams, from recognised institutions in the country. An estimated 0.5 million students would benefit from this scheme.

He also extended the scope of Section 80E of the Income-tax Act — providing tax exemptions for educational loans to pursue higher studies in specific areas — to cover all sectors including vocational studies after school.

While the Plan outlay for higher education has been raised from Indian Rs. 6,8000 million in 2008-09 to Rs. 9,5960 million, the allocation for school education and literacy remains static at Rs. 26,8000 million. However, the non-Plan outlay in both departments has gone up sizeably; primarily owing to the increase in salaries following the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

Ref: Hindu Daily, Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Full interest subsidy on educational loans for poor students

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Higher education: welcome reforms

As a part of the HRD ministry's current move to overhaul the education system in India, the existing regulatory bodies like UGC, AICTE, Medical Council of India, NCTE and Distance Education Council shall be replaced by one single body. This is in line with the recommendations made by National Knowledge Commission and the Yashpal committee. Welcome move indeed !

It will go long way reducing the prevailig malpractices and also contribute towards improving the quality of higher education

The Yashpal committee laments the ill-growth of private educational institutions and deemed universities.The committee recommends granting of deemed universites be put on hold till unambiguous, rational guidelines are evolved. The Committe observes that the behaviour of some private universities has become a matter of serious concern to students and parents. A detailed probe into the basic reasons for the concerns revealed that many of them were professional colleges that got approval from the regulatory bodies for university status. Immediately after, they began admitting five to six times their capacity, without a corresponding increase in faculty strength or infrastructure. The classes were conducted at strange hours like factory operations. The students who paid huge capitation fees felt cheated. The students from the underprivileged sections could not get admission in many of them, due to heavy capitation fees”.

Another big part of the plan is a legislation to prevent, prohibit and punish educational malpractices. The draft Bill has been sent to the Law Ministry. It proposes to give teeth to the government to deal with institutions that do not meet promises made in their prospectus, be it fees, quality of teachers or infrastructure. The recognition to deemed universities, 127 new ones in the past five years, is being reviewed.

Accreditation shall be mandatory for higher education institutions.The entry barriers would be very tough.Once passed, an institute can become a deemed university and even a full-fledged university.

A law to regulate foreign education providers is on the anvil. The Bill proposes to regulate fees and ensure Indian laws are followed. Whether these institutions would have to abide by the quota rule,would be decided on a case-by-case basis. Big foreign universities might be exempted from quotas.

The economically weaker sections will be offered interest subsidy on the educational loans. The scheme might be a part of the budget 2009.

On the planning board is also a scholarship scheme under which money will be directly credited to bank accounts of 41,000 boys and an equal number of girls in colleges.

The Government proposal on educational reforms is a result of continuing discussion and debate that go back to the previous UPA regime and are being monitored by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has accorded priority to the sector.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Deemed universities: let them bloom

From the press reports it appears that the new UPA government has begun the process of revamping the country's education system, as it has decided not to accept any further applications for Deemed-to-be-University status. Union Human Resource Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday told that, the new mechanism would have steps to check capitation fees by professional colleges and setting up of a national council for higher education as a regulatory body.

It is not clear whether this is a temporary or permanent halt. If temporary, it is welcome till the effective system of checks and balances is put in place. However permanent ban will be a negative step on the long run. The deemed universities have certain unique advantages over the conventional state-run universities. There is no limit to reaching the academic heights, if the attitude of management is proper. It can also quickly respond to the requirements of industry and research due to short response time.
The state run universities with large number of affiliated colleges, are beset with bureaucracy, which is a means of rampant political and governmental interference. What happened in these universities in last sixty years is likely to continue, until systemic changes are brought in.

If India is to achieve progress in academics, it will be only through deemed universities, with adequate checks and balances on their functioning.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Deemed Universities: make them a vehicle to achieve quality in education

The recent newspaper reports suggest that the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, has prepared a blueprint to reform the higher education. It is a overdue and welcome move. All reforms aim at improving the quality of higher education. It should be appreciated that academic autonomy is absolutely essential to quality improvement. The deemed university (DU)status given to some institutions under the UGC act was precisely for that purpose. However most deemed universities present an exactly opposite picture. The academicians and the stake holders watching the progress find that the academic standards have actually deteriorated and the malpractices increased. Whilst the Government should grant academic autonomy to these institutions, the following provisions are essential to ensure the quality.

(a) The entrance test for all DU should be conducted by UGC

(b) The tuition fees should be regulated by an independent body, similar to the Shikshan Shulka Samiti at the States level. The tuition fees must be linked to the actual expenditure on education, incurred by the institution.

(c) All DU must be asked to pay salaries, PF etc. according the AICTE/UGC guidelines

(d) All technical courses conducted by the DU should have approval of the AICTE/UGC

(d) The DU should not be automatically allowed to award MS (research) and Ph. D. degrees. A thorough assessment of the research facilities and faculty expertise should be carried out before that.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Deemed universities: proposed UGC plan

Dr J D Bapat

According to the draft regulations prepared by the University Grants Commission (UGC), that august body will have the power to fix a uniform fee structure for all deemed universities, besides overseeing a centralised admission process, which will determine student intake at these universities.

The status of 'deemed university' granted to some private institutions gives them a measure of autonomy in running their affairs, on the principle that an institution can attain excellence, only if administrators are given a free hand in running it. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC), that was set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to suggest ways in which India can take advantage of the 21st century knowledge economy, has said that the present regulatory system is a formidable barrier to the expansion of higher education.

All the institutions, whether private or public, may not attain the giddy heights of excellence the moment they are allowed flexibility in determining their students, faculty, syllabi, fees and cost structures including remuneration paid to faculty and staff. But at least they have a chance of doing so and those that don’t will weed themselves out by attracting fewer students. When demand gets to match supply, the cost of higher education will fall as well.

Give your comments on the proposed UGC plan for the deemed universities

Deemed universities: some suggestions

Dr J D Bapat

One can understand that the Government has a social agenda to fulfill. However to fix uniform fee structure for all deemed universities will not be appropriate. The fee structure of an educational institution must have a relation with what the institution spends on the academic development, namely laboratories, staff salary and welfare, students projects, teaching aids, computers, library and so on. In some States, the Shikshan Shulka Samiti appointed by the Government carries out this task. A similar body established at the Central Government level can do the job. In that case, the fee chargeable by an educational institution will be proportional to what the institution spends on the academic development. The Government should also ensure easy availability of the educational loans through banks.

Besides the faculty and the infrastructure, good students are essential to build a good institution. Centralised admission process is good, provided the transparency and the quality standards are maintained.

It should be noted that the academic autonomy is the key to quality education. Excessive controls will only paralyse the development of higher education in the country.

Comment whether should the fees in the educational institutions be related to their expenditure on the academic development activities.

Deemed universities: bad examples

Dr J D Bapat

The UGC was perhaps prompted to increase the controls looking at the bad examples of the deemed universities in the country. The practices commonly observed in some badly managed deemed universities in the country are as follows:
- stage-managed written tests
- heavy donations
- gross lack of faculty. For example, the university awards Ph D but does not have adequate faculty with doctoral degree in its institutions.
- poor quality teaching
- rampant corruption in the system of examination and evaluation
- siphoning of money collected through fees towards non-academic activities
- absence of research by the faculty and lack of research facilities

Suggest ways to prevent malpractices in the educational institutions

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Common Entrance Test (CET):

Consequent upon the Supreme Court of India, the State Governments are conducting Common Entrance Tests (CET), mandatory to seek admissions to the higher education degree courses in all health sciences, engineering and pharmacy. The idea behind the Supreme Court ruling was to give a level playing field to students coming from different parts of the state to seek admissions for degree courses in the institutions of higher education. In the State of Maharashtra alone, to site an example, in the year 2008, there were 71,691 engineering seats and 3,685 medical seats were available to the students. Large number of students appeared for the CET. However over the years it is seen that CET is not serving its purpose.

The Tamil Nadu Government has already passed an order scrapping the CET in that state, which has been challenged in the Supreme Court and is pending a ruling. The Karnataka government too has initiated steps to scrap the CET

It should be noted that a similar entrance test, namely All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE), is also conducted at the national level and the students in large number appear for examination also.

Common Entrance Test: where is the catch ?

Considering that there is no negative marking, students often try to maximise their scores by maximising the number of attempts. This is where the catch lies.

200 questions to be solved in 150 minutes with no negative marking! That's what the CET written test is all about. If you wish to attempt all the questions, you can afford only 45 seconds for each. Essentially, 'speed' is very important. Keeping this in mind, it is advisable to have an eye on the time. If, after spending a whole minute, you are unable to arrive at the solution, it is better to move on rather than getting stuck on that particular question. Further time spent on the question can be used more fruitfully elsewhere.

For the past few years there have consistently been 30 questions on Visual Reasoning. This is an area where you will either spot the answer immediately or end up wasting a lot of time trying to figure out the pattern of movement. Again remember to time yourself while attempting the paper as Visual Reasoning is an area, where many students get stuck.

While preparing for the CET, students often forget that reasoning questions form a major chunk of the paper. CET 2008 had around 105 questions on Reasoning, while the balance 95 questions were on Maths, Data Interpretation and English. You need to balance your preparation to crack the CET. Focusing only on Math or only on English will not help in cracking the paper.

Source: Research Team, Career Launcher India Ltd, through

Karnataka pattern:

There is a general demand from the students and the parents to improve the transparency in conducting the CET. The example is cited of the Karnataka Pattern. In Karnataka State, separate CET are conducted by the Government and the managements of the private educational institutions. All formalities, starting from filling of the form onwards, are carried out online. The final admission cards can also be downloaded from the website. The most important aspect is the student gets the Question Paper and the Answer Book written by him, soon after the examination. The model answers are declared on the website. Thus the candidate can estimate the number of marks he is likely to get. Similar system is also in operation in the State of Kerala. If the Karnataka example is followed by the other states, that will improve transparency and remove confusion and instill confidence in the examination system.

Common Entrance Test: an Argument for Discontinuation

It is argued that the CET has not served its purpose. Some State Governments have initiated action to discontinue it. The main aspects against the CET are as follows:

(a) Declining importance of the higher secondary certificate (HSC, std XII) examination. It is seen that the students do not pay much attention to seeking good grades in the HSC examination, unlike in the past, when the admissions to the degree courses were given solely on the basis of HSC marks.

(b) Private coaching classes benefiting out of the CET

(c) The utility of multiple choice objective questions vis-à-vis essay type questions, for testing real knowledge. In the HSC examination, the evaluation is based mainly on the essay type answers.

(d) The students are burdened with an extra examination.

(e) Huge disparity between urban and rural students; urban students manage to score better in CET.

Give your orgument on continuation or discontinuation of the common entrance test

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Change V-C selection process

Change V-C selection process

Dr J D Bapat

The Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir—as the chancellor of state universities—has called for a systemic overhaul in the appointment process of university vice-chancellors. Instead of a selection process he described as "politicized'', Jamir recommended that a group of eminent academicians must select vice-chancellors. The Governor was in Chandrapur on, 19 Jan 2009, Monday to inaugurate a state level principals' forum.

The quality of governance of many educational institutions in the state is a cause for concern. In many states, university appointments, including that of V-Cs, have been politicized.

Currently, a university vice-chancellor is appointed by the chan
cellor on recommendations of a committee consisting of representatives from the government, from the university academic council and management council, among others.

When the scholars choose the vice-chancellor, universities would see a qualitative difference in their functioning. We do not have a dearth of talented people for the posts in our uni
versities. To ensure that we get the best persons to run our universities, it is necessary to take a re-look at the composition of the appointment committee.

There are growing concerns about the large number of teaching faculty positions that remain vacant in the universities
and colleges. This has considerably paralysed some of our reputed institutions. The recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission have made teaching more attractive, offering good pay scales to the teachers. If the young and bright minds are to be attracted to join the profession, enough opportunities should be made available for growth. One of the reasons for the vacant teaching positions in the higher educational institutions is the perpetual reservations. When the teachers are not available in the "reserved" category, the vacancy should become "open" after certain time period. The qualified teachers draw job satisfaction, when teaching is accompanied by the research (as in IITs). Therefore research funding for the universities need to be increased substantially.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Stanford University to Create Green Energy Research Institute

Stanford University to Create Green Energy Research Institute:

The Stanford University is establishing a research institute to focus on energy issues and work toward development of more affordable and efficient ways to capture the power of the sun and store, deliver and use energy, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The proposed investment is US $100 million

The University President John Hennessy announced the launch of the Precourt Institute of Energy. The three lead donors whose contributions are financing the creation of the institute are Stanford alumni. Energy executive, Jay Precourt, the namesake of the new institute, donated US $50 million and the University trustee and managing partner of Farallon Capital Management, Thomas Steyer and spouse Kat Taylor gave US $40 million.

The balance was contributed by Douglas Kimmelman, senior partner of Energy Capital Partners, Michael Ruffatto, president of North American Power Group Ltd. and the Schmidt Family Foundation. The institute will work on the university's Global Climate and Energy Project.

Lynn Orr has been named the director of the new institute. A professor in energy resources engineering, he previously was director of Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project.

Source:, 14 January 2009

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Youth must lead science and technology

Youth must lead science and technology

Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam's address at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Hamirpur

Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam today called upon the youth to work towards building a creative leadership in different disciplines and achieving new goals for the country.

Delivering his convocation address at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Hamirpur, Dr Kalam said the time has come for a drastic change in the traditional roles from a commander to coach.

He also highlighted issues of infrastructure development, energy generation and the need of safe drinking water for the masses in the country. Kalam asked the educational institute to focus on emerging as a technical human resource provider for the state.

The NIT, he recommended, should adopt all local 20 senior secondary schools for quality education and also create a 'energy independence plan' for the district through micro-hydel plants, solar energy systems, bio-mass plants and wind power, besides dense afforestation to make it fossil fuel free.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also spoke on the occasion, asked the engineering fraternity to respect the environmental requirements and come forward to help find quality alternatives for development of the country.

Source: Indian Express, Jan 4, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Age no bar to lead scientific institutions

Age no bar to lead scientific institutions

Gist of PM's address to 96th Science Congree, Shillong

Contending that the government has laid down the foundation to foster research, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked scientists to promote younger talent and strengthen leadership in universities and research institutions.

"The best science is done by young people. Our institutions must be receptive to the needs of the young people. They must promote younger talent and allow youth to lead," he said inaugurating the 96th Indian Science Congress at the picturesque North Eastern Hill University campus in Shillong.

Singh said the government can at best ease the supply side constraints on teaching and research and the demand side stimulus must come from institutions and the industry.

"India is lagging behind not just developed western nations, but also the newly industrialising economies of Asia," Singh said adding that while the government is doing its bit to ensure quantitative development, the leadership for qualitative development must come from the scientific community.

"Our universities must do more to foster a research environment. We need strengthening of institutional leadership in universities and research institutions," the Prime Minister said.

Seniority and age may be relevant in the bureaucratic system, but scientific institutions must be led by intellectual leaders, irrespective of age, he said. Singh asked the industry to invest more in R and D and boost the demand for science and technology graduates and researchers.

Source: Indian Express, Jan 3, 2009