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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Edition 18: Success of NCL


National Chemical Laboratory, the premier research institute of India just concluded its celebration for the golden jubilee year. None other than Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh was present on the occasion. The ceremony, incidentally took place hours after the prime minister addressed the nation announcing the right of education for all children in India.

PM Dr. Singh said expressed concern over the dwindling numbers of youngsters joining the science and technology field. He said that efforts are necessary to attract the young talent towards science and research field. He said that the country’s premier scientific institutions like the National Chemical Laboratory should help find solutions to problems that confront our society.

“Enough number of bright young men and women are not taking up science after the 10+2 stage in the country. We need to do more to bring them to the field of exciting research environment in colleges and universities. We must focus on faculty development, improve quality of teaching, increase expenditure on science and technology from current 1 percent of GDP and strengthen academic-industry interface. Our competitive advantage in R & D may be lost unless we ensure adequate number of motivated young men to lead our national science laboratories and knowledge based industries,” he said.
Dr Singh said our government has declared 2010-2020 as the “Decade of Innovations” so that young minds are instilled with a spirit of innovation to find solutions in different areas to achieve inclusive growth. K. Shankarnarayanan, Governor of Maharashtra, Prithviraj Chavan, Union Minister of state for Science & Technology, D. Purandeswari, Minsiter of state for Human Resource Development, Prof. S. Brahmachari, Director General of CSIR were present at the function. Foundation of IISER The PM laid the foundation stone of Indian Institute of Science Education & Research (IISER). He urged the scientific community to make IISER a unique brand of academic excellence in the world and realize the dream of making the country the knowledge hub of the world.
Once this institution is completed, 1000 Ph. D.s will be offered in the radius of two kilometer through the NCL, IISER and University of Pune.

Prithviraj Chavan in his speech said NCL scientists had won several laurels and Dr Raghunath Mashelkar’s work is a case in point. Chavan said NCL’s public-private model had worked well and their record in technology transfer to industry in unmatched. He said that the new facility of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (ISER), Pune will be ready by 2012-13 together with NCL, there would be over 400 faculties and 1,000 PhD students working in the powerful innovation cluster emerging around NCL. The PM inaugurated the new research building devoted to Polymer and Advanced Material and unveiled the foundation stone of upcoming campus of ISER, Pune.
Dearth of Teachers
On the other hand, lack of good, highly motivated science teachers at schools triggered by low social status of teachers is the main reason for poor quality science education at secondary and higher secondary level, according to Raghunath Mashelkar, eminent scientist and former Director General (DG) of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), said on Thursday.
Mashelkar was reacting to the remark made by PM. Mashelkar said, “I feel sad that best of the minds don’t turn to science. The solution to 21st century challenges can be found only by science. When I was heading the Indian National Science Academy, I had commissioned a report on status of science education in schools. The survey found that there was considerable interest for science amongst primary level students from class VI to VIII. But the interest wanes by class X.”

From The PM’s Speech
Sixty years is a significant milestone in the lifespan of any institution. The National Chemical Laboratory has had a lineage of distinguished leaders who have guided its destiny with great distinction. With this tradition of excellence in scientific research, this laboratory has nurtured some of the best minds in India. Several scientists of this institution have been elected to distinguished academies of sciences, both in India and overseas. The Laboratory made a seminal contribution to the emergence of Indian pesticides industry which was critical to the success of the Green Revolution in our country. Post-1970, the research conducted at the National Chemical Laboratory gave birth to the Indian generic drug industry, a forerunner to the vibrant Indian pharmaceutical industry of today. More recently, this Laboratory has contributed to the growth of the petrochemicals, polymers and fine chemicals industry. With its world class facilities, it is my hope that the National Chemical Laboratory will sustain this culture of excellence and continue to explore the boundaries of frontier science.
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Photo Caption
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh watching the model of IISER-Pune, at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the National Chemical Laboratory of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, in Pune on April 01, 2010. Wife of Prime Minister Gursharan Kaur, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Prithviraj Chavan, Chairman, Indian Olympic Association, Suresh Kalmadi are also seen.

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