New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS): Urging that India must find ways to excel in the field of STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology & Mathematics) research, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said, "For India to be among the top nations in STEM, there is a need for a well-planned strategy."
"There is a need for a well-planned strategy to identify and nurture talent from a young age, offer incentives, provide facilities to take up cutting edge and support researchers in finding solutions to societal problems," Naidu said at the inauguration of 'Celebration of Birth Centenaries of Inspirational Scientists' & 'Pay Homage to Founders of Indian Sciences'.
"We must increase public and private investments in R&D, nurture research scholars to do high-quality research, encourage them to publish papers in reputed peer-reviewed journals, resolve bottlenecks in patenting regime and nurture promising ideas that find wide applications," Naidu said.
The event, coinciding with National Mathematics Day, was organised by Vigyan Prasar -- an autonomous organization of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav -- flagging-off the year long celebrations of the birth centenaries of inspirational scientists and the role of science in building modern India.
Flagging a key concern in STEM, Naidu said, "STEM ecosystem lacks diversity. While India has a significant share of female graduates in STEM (more than 42 per cent), better than some of the developed nations, only 16.6 per cent women researchers are directly engaged in R & D activities. Diversity in STEM is absolutely necessary and the need of the hour is to bridge the gender divide in employment."
"From hardly a handful of women in science, we have come a long way today. We pay homage to pioneering women like Janaki Ammal, Rajeshwari Chatterjee, Anna Mani and Sunanda Bai for their path-breaking contribution and breaking the glass ceiling. But we must not stop here and create an enabling environment so that more girls can take up careers in mathematics and science," the Vice President said.
Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India, Prof K Vijaya Raghavan, said lesser known scientists too would be remembered during the year long celebrations.
Stating that India was one of the few post-colonial countries to invest in Science & Technology, for example, space, atomic energy, defence etc., Vijaya Raghavan said, "It also resulted in a disconnect between our research institutions and our educational institutions. We need to cross that barrier. The challenge is to allow educational institutions and research institutions to engage intellectually and bring back youth to the best research environment."
Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, C Chandrashekhar also spoke on the occasion.
After the inaugural event, tributes were paid to six founders of Indian science. All born in 1922, the six scientists identified were Prof Hargobind Khorana, Rajeshwari Chatterjee, Prof G S Laddha, Dr Y Nayudamma, Prof G N Ramachandran and Prof B Ramamurthi.
By way of multimedia presentations weaved with personal connections and anecdotes, senior scientists Prof Ch Mohan Roa, Prof Rohini Godbole, Prof M M Sharma, Dr T Ramasami, Prof P Balaram and Prof Sudha Seshayyan paid tributes to the six founding scientists.