Global slowdown has not affected growth of science in india: Expert

December 12th, 2008 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Dec 12 (IANS) Science and technology has seen a steady growth in India this year despite the economic slowdown, thanks to resurgence of youngsters’ interest in research and development, a top scientist said here late Thursday.”Science and technology has done well and shown steady growth despite economic slowdown in the country. For instance, many positive developments have taken place in the field of nanotechnology because of young scientists evincing great interest in research and development (R&D),” said C.N.R. Rao, who heads the Science Advisory Council to the prime minister, at a special session on nanotechnology.

Projecting bright prospects in nanotechnology, Rao said large-scale applications are waiting to happen in the emerging field that would have a direct bearing on the quality of life, healthcare and material sciences.

With about 65 percent of its population aged below 25, India is better suited than any other country for making rapid strides in the new frontier of science and technology, he said.

“Nanotechnology has tremendous potential and I see a lot of young people taking a keen interest in this field. Though science is not very attractive monetarily, many youngsters are showing interest in R&D in it of late,” Rao said.

Cautioning students to beware of institutions offering master’s degree in the specialised field, Rao said since nanotech was still in a nascent stage in India, a master’s degree in the subject was far-fetched.

“One cannot give a master’s degree in nano yet. R&D is fine. We have a long way to go before offering a post-graduate course in such a highly specialised subject,” he said.

To ensure nanoscience and nanotechnology are pursued as a research specialisation with greater scope to develop products and solutions, Rao suggested that colleges and university departments should continue to focus on basic sciences so that students with exceptional interest and talent in the field could prepare for a career in nanotechnology.

“It is better to pursue nanoscience and nanotechnology as research specialisation than as degree courses. Unfortunately, science colleges and science departments in universities want to offer courses in nanotechnology and biotechnology. And students join the courses in the hope of getting jobs quickly,” Rao observed.

US-based Rice University professor Pulickel M. Ajayan said the major challenge facing the nano industry was nano-engineering, as developing applications using carbon nano tubes required a blend of the traditional top-down approach and the bottom-up approach.

The technical sessions in nanoscience and nanotechnology are being held as part of the second ‘Bangalore Nano 2008′ event from Saturday in India’s silicon hub.

To be inaugurated by Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, the premier conference-cum-exposition will showcase advances made in nanotechnology and address various issues pertaining to biotechnology, health, pharma, manufacturing, agriculture, chemicals, materials, energy, environment and greentech.

The four-day event is being organised by Karnataka state’s departments of information technology, bio-technology and science & technology in association with state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Science Research and Indian Institute of Science (IISc.).

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