Dr Shekhar C Mande

Ex-Director General, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

India has a rich history of science and technology. Our  founding fathers have emphasised the importance of science  and technology in solving the challenges of our nation.

Dr Shekhar C Mande

According to you, what is the role of CSIR in the science and  technology ecosystem?

India has a rich history of science and technology. Our  founding fathers have emphasised the importance of science  and technology in solving the challenges of our nation. In  fact, the importance of developing a scientific temperament  has been codified in Article 51A of our constitution as a  fundamental duty of every citizen. At the time of our country’s  independence, India faced several challenges, such as  low infant mortality and low industrial growth. CSIR and  the 37 labs under its umbrella have played a critical role in  addressing several of these challenges and working with the  industry to create societal impact. As we celebrate 80 years  of CSIR, our vision is to pursue science that strives for global  impact, technology that enables innovation-driven industries  and nurture trans-disciplinary leadership, thereby catalysing  inclusive economic development for the people of India.

What are some of the ways  in which CSIR is encouraging  science-based entrepreneurship?

CSIR labs are the most prolific  patent holders in the country.  We have a strong culture of  working in close collaboration  with the industrial community  and transferring our scientific  knowledge and skills to the industrial  community to create impact and  bring about measurable change.  We have several incubators,  such as Venture Center, Pune,  and CSIR-CCMB, Hyderabad,  associated with our labs. We  recently started an aerospace  incubator in collaboration with  Social Alpha and NRDC at  Bengaluru. These incubators have  several programmes to hand-hold  science-based entrepreneurs and  mentor them. 

What is your message to the  scientists interested in creating  societal impact based on their  research?

Scientists are motivated to do  research for different reasons  ranging from purely advancing  knowledge, translating the  knowledge accrued to technology  and catalysing societal impact. To  create societal impact based on  research, it is important to have a  mindset of creating wealth from  research. This requires thorough  assessment of societal needs and  addressing them using science.  It is a process that requires both  deep thinking and courage. The  scientists also need to collaborate  with others to perform market  research and raise necessary  funds. The start-up policy of India  has given a large boost to our  entrepreneurs to take innovative  technologies to the market. With  such proactive policies to support  them, these are truly exciting times  for scientists and entrepreneurs  across India to create real societal  impact by taking their scientific  innovations and technologies to  market taking their scientific  innovations.

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