‘Find solutions for challenges like climate change’
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday exhorted scientists and students to work towards finding solutions to challenges such as climate change and water scarcity.
Kovind, who was addressing the 7th convocation of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Mohali said that scientific research has three major objectives which should serve as a guiding light.
“First, science and technology must continue to play a role in nation building. As our nation evolves and our society changes, are needs too are transformed. Yet, science and technology will always be required to find answers to developmental questions,” said the President even as he noted that Mohali has become a hub for knowledge economy, information technology, biotechnology and bioinformatics, and that IISER should be the fulcrum of the entire ecosystem.
The President said that today, the questions before us range from battling climate change to providing low-cost, but effective, healthcare solutions. And, from helping our farmers overcome productivity and water-scarcity challenges to building sustainable cities and houses that are socially inclusive and provide a life of dignity to everyone, said he.
“Secondly, science and technology have a symbiotic relationship with business and industry. Product invention and process innovation, converting the learning of the lab into commercially viable products, using technology to promote efficiency, enterprise and employment … there is so much science and commerce can do together,” he said.
Citing examples of Silicon Valley in California and Bengaluru, he said IISER must strive to play a similar role in Mohali. Punjab has a long history of technocrats who ventured into successful businesses, he added.
“Thirdly, institutions of scientific education and research are important in themselves for blue-sky innovation and for expanding the frontiers of knowledge. This is the fundamental and to my mind most critical value of scientific research,” he said.
Kovind said, “I urge those graduating today, as well as others studying at IISER, to keep these three motivations in mind as they climb higher. In their own way, these three motivations of science and research will help you to serve fellow citizens, to serve society and country, and to serve the larger cause of humanity.”
“Going through the list of the 152 students, who are graduating today by getting undergraduate and master’s degrees or PhDs, I find that 66 are girl students. That is a little over 40 per cent, said he.
“However, both the gold medals for academic performance have gone to girl students. Three of the four awards for academic excellence have been won by girl students,” Kovind said.
Noting that IISER is one of India’s foremost destinations for students interested in science, Kovind said, “The institute is well on its way to fulfilling its mandate of promoting and providing facilities for basic science research and integrating these with the needs of India.”
“This is one of the most exciting and promising urban agglomerations in our country. In parallel, IISER Mohali is also drawing inspiration from the rich tradition of basic and applied scientific research in Punjab. This legacy goes back to the period before Independence, when Punjab was one of India’s earliest centres of scientific knowledge production and training,” he said.
This legacy also provides us some excellent examples of how collaboration between scientific researchers and technologists on one side, and the larger developmental process on the other, contributed to nation building, Kovind said.
He added, “We can’t forget the technologists who did the groundwork for large projects such as the Bhakra Nangal project. It was agricultural scientists and universities in Punjab that provided the basis for enhanced food productivity and the Green Revolution.”
On the occasion, the Governors of Punjab and Haryana were also present.
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