In many ways, the research atmosphere across the country is set against this philosophy. Although in the past, the focus of educational institutions has to provide job oriented education Indian universities are slowly waking up to the fact that scientific and social research is an integral aspect of higher education. South India has produced some of the most recognized names in the field of scientific research and technology: C V Raman , A P J Abdul Kalam , Madhavan Nair and M S Swaminathan are some of the notable scientists who were revolutionaries in research the country and inspired many to dedicate their energies towards the larger good of the society.
South India boasts of some of the finest research institutions in the country. While Hyderabad plays host to a cluster of research labs and organizations like the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Bangalore takes pride in the country ‘s most sought after institution for higher education by housing the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chennai on the other hand boasts of the world’s largest leather institution, the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) and the Indian Institute of technology – Madras (IIT-M) Thiruvananthapuram has the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST).
India is yet to adopt global technologies and innovations in research. This gap in technology development has been widening South India however, is relatively a better place in research and development hen compared to other regions in the country. The career options however, are not attractive enough. Therefore a student chooses to work in a multi-national company than making a career in the field of research. Students from this part of the country are more inclined towards job oriented courses. A PhD graduate is not well respected in our country. This is largely because our industries do not carry out Research and Development (R&D) activities on a large scale. However, few industries have slowly started recognizing the need for research ad hopefully in a few years, there will be transformation in this sector. That apart with the effect of the economic recession on many companies and the recent pay revisions, the situations seems the research programs are resourced independently based ion sponsors the quality of research in IISC is much higher in our institution when compared to other organizations.
Research parks and innovations
In the USA, university driven research parks have been paving the ay for innovations in research something that has not been prevalent in India. To fill this void in India, IIT- Madras recently set up the country’s first research park that is opening its doors to research scholars in a few months. We have a great talent pool in the country but the knowledge is hardly put to any use. One of the reasons for this is the lack of industry academia interface in the field of research and development. The research park is an attempt to create a sustained level of engagement between the industry and the academia and create a strategic long term research environment.
Another significant advance made in this area is the setting up of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) across the country. The IISERs offer five year integrated MS programs. In their final year, students devote their time to research and dissertation. The faculty members are researchers themselves so they are able to equate subject concepts to real time research findings. This only helps a student learn better. The Central Leather Research Institute in Chennai is touted to be the world’s largest leather research institute. Right from its inception, the CLRI has been concerned with operating according to industry needs. The institute works constantly with many international organizations and bodies such as the International Union of leather Technologists and Chemists Society (IULTCS).
According to experts, most of the teaching institutions in the South do not have a research agenda and if they have one, it is just to produce PhD degree holders. There is a severe stagnation in the research prospectus because of this. That apart, most of the research is relegated to some public supported centers or institutions. What steps should be taken by the government to enhance research in the country? The Government can play a good catalytic role by offering proper incentives for indigenously patented technologies and practices.
A high quality R&D in basic sciences and technology can be fostered only through individual motivation and excitement. An interest in basic research has to be cultivated among school and college students. Basic research should also become a aping and lucrative career option and in any case, students should take this career option by choice. This requires among other things a change in the mindset. The Indian education system should enable high quality research through a concerted development of facilities that are on par with those in the developed world.