Indian-American educator to help India with hospital management

By Sahana Ghosh
Kharagpur (West Bengal), Aug 22 (IANS): Indian American scientist Pradeep K. Khosla, who heads one of the world's largest public research universities, plans to strengthen ties with India in the area of hospital management and hopes the Indian government will bring in policies to ease the commercialisation of research.

"I want to first work with IIT-Kharagpur because this is an opportunity to influence a new medical hospital here and bring the best thinking in hospital management out here," Khosla, the eighth chancellor of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), told IANS in an interaction here.

Khosla has been named one of the 50 most influential Indian Americans by Silicon India, an international magazine focussing on business and technology developments in the US, India and Britain.

The internationally-renowned electrical and computer engineer explained that the collaboration between UCSD and IIT-Kharagpur - his alma mater - would be research-oriented as well as entrepreneurial but would not cramp the style of medical education here.

"We cannot impact the medical education here because it is different from the American pattern but we can share ideas on hospital management," he said.

Citing an African example, he said the collaboration between UCSD and IIT-Kharagpur would be a win-win situation for both.

"I created a campus in Rwanda. This was way before UCSD, but now we (UCSD) have an interest in building stronger relations with Africa," Khosla said, adding that based on his experience here, he would work out a roadmap for other parts of the country.

Khosla, who graduated in 1980 from IIT-Kharagpur's electrical engineering stream, left India in 1982 for an MS and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and pursued a distinguished career in robotics and cybersecurity.

An elected fellow of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Society for Engineering Education, he has been feted for contributions to leadership, education and research.

He said that earlier, whenever he had spoken to Indian government officials about some concepts that could be introduced here, the bureaucracy got in the way.

"Whenever I used to talk to somebody about an idea, I was told this was not in the Five-Year Plan or this was in the plan but was not executed well. I don't know... somehow there was this bureaucracy out there that was a parallel bureaucracy to the Prime Minister's office and parliament," said the Honorary Fellow of the Indian Academy of Science.

In this context, he noted that the burial of the Planning Commission would usher in a brand new way of thinking and speed up new ventures in India.

"I think you will see now a brand new thinking and I feel very positive about what I see here. Things will become ideas, new people," he said.

Khosla also pointed out the government needs to step up on helping scientists to get most out of their research and innovation. This would encourage scientists to stay back in India and also make money.

"They should see that whatever's going on (scientific research) has an easy path to commercialisation. It would encourage them to stay back and also give them a chance to make some money and create opportunities which are beyond working for large multinationals.

"So right now you have to work for large multinationals. The government should frame new policy to encourage entrepreneurial activity that would expand research," Khosla said.

UCSD is one of America's Public Ivy universities, which refers to top establishments that provide Ivy League educational experience at a public school price.


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