R&D and Innovations:Mindset Change Necessary

I have a reason to appeal to all those in IITs and other great institutions of the country pursuing engineering or pure science subjects: You have been the most talented among hundreds of thousands of the students appearing and succeeding in the toughest entrance examination of the country. You have been trained for excelling in finding solutions for the toughest problems in the fields of science and technology. Please do not prepare and join IIMs or other equally great institutes providing management studies. After all, the entry salary package offered by the big global enterprises, particularly the financial ones is not all that should be the only criteria for deciding to join them. If you switch over to finance and marketing who will lay the foundation of the technological and scientific might of the country without which it can’t dream of becoming a superpower. I do also appeal to the faculty and authority of both, the engineering colleges as well as the management schools, the first one to convince their students about the need of pursuing technology and science and the second one to dissuade the fresher for joining them.

While going through the profiles of 18 scientists of Indian origin in Forbes India who are changing the world, I got excited to find that many of them were engineers who completed their graduate courses in engineering in Indian colleges. And besides from the IITs, some were from less known institutes.

Are these scientists anyway inferior in their achievement than those serving the unscrupulous financial enterprises of US and other developed nations. If the management supremacy was the only reason for US becoming so successful, what was behind the success of Japan, Korea and now China that didn’t have management studies as its priorities?

A glimpse of the illustrious list of Indian scientists and mathematicians over the ages will certainly convince the younger generation that form the top of their respective institutes. Even those who were not that brilliant as them have found their ways to the developed nations and pursued higher education in their subjects of interest and reached the pinnacle. MIT’s Technology ‘TR 35’ list every year includes a number of Indians of Indian origins (View ‘MIT Technological Review’s Top 18 Indian Innovators Under 35’). If the young generation prefers to go to US and other developed nations with better educational facilities in the field of technologies and science, there is nothing wrong. Their achievements are excellent.

The government is also rising to the occasion and coming out with many policy changes to encourage R&D. Proposal for creating 1,000 doctoral and 250 post-doctoral fellowships in reputed foreign universities with monetary support, Indian Innovation fund, The Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, National policy on Electronics are some initiatives. Many world class research institutes such as Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, are getting set up. The remunerations are improving. May be very soon, the country will free the possibility of employing even good teachers and researchers from the developed countries.

With a large number of R&D centres of MNCs in India, the prospects for the highly qualified are getting better and all that provides a lot of encouragement to the students in colleges to pursue higher and specialized qualifications.

But the most important thrust must come in improving the quality of the grassroots education particularly in rural India that will provide the largest number and that is not participating as on today in the game of higher education.

However, unfortunately the top management of the Indian industrial houses is still not contributing by collaborating with the educational institutes or by providing significantly higher remunerations to better qualified technocrats, scientists and mathematicians.

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