Dr V K Saraswat

Member, Niti Aayog

Science is a tool for solving our society’s problems and has  the power to transform civilisations.

Dr V K Saraswat

According to you, what is the role of science and technology  in our economic growth?

Science is a tool for solving our society’s problems and has  the power to transform civilisations. It can lead to India’s long term global competitiveness and sustained development.  However, the goal of application of science and technology  should go beyond the generation of knowledge alone. An  interdisciplinary approach to learning by combining science  and social engineering is essential to develop ethical and  sustainable solutions. 

What are some of the ways in which the government can  encourage science-based entrepreneurship?

Taking science from lab to market needs government funding  and support for basic and translational research. Downstream  development needs to be funded  by private investments. We should  focus on targeted funding in early  stages and proactive policy to  encourage private investments  in later stages. We should also  develop strategies for optimal  utilisation of available resources and  for sustainable development. Given  our country’s challenges related  to access to critical technologies,  we should focus on developing an  indigenous capacity for innovation  in areas that are critical to our  nation by building the required  specialised human resources,  infrastructure, and a conducive  environment for innovation. This  requires broadening of the national  research and innovation system  to optimise investment in science,  technology, and innovation. 

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

Scientists need to take three sub leaps to create societal impact in India.  This includes traditional approaches  to surmount current challenges  at an accelerated pace, adopting  new or different approaches and  technologies that may be developed  elsewhere and finally, leapfrogging  current generations of technologies  to develop next-generation  technologies. They should learn  ways to exploit their intellectual  property and to identify ways in which  their high-tech innovations can add  value. They should also learn to take  their inventions to the market through  programmes like AIM-PRIME. 

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