Sonya Dutta Choudhury's Reviews > Leading Science and Technology: India Next?

Leading Science and Technology by Varun Aggarwal
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it was amazing

To the oft repeated lament that India has great talent but abysmal original research, Varun Aggarwal brings insightful data & analysis. Research matters he says, because world over the bulk of the profits accrue to the owners of the intellectual property (IP).

Indian engineers maybe the cream of the workforce in the world’s best tech companies, but they will be forever doomed to a tiny share of the profits. Research matters and not just because it is an investment for existing or future profits. It brings intellectual stimulation, the thrill of pushing our intelligence and creativity to it’s limits, and of creating new products and services that are useful solutions to practical problems.

The United States and China stand first and second in research productivity ; India lags way behind at No 12. As a MIT alumnus and the founder of employability company Aspiring Minds, Aggarwal tackles this problem head on.

So how do you measure the state of research in India and how do you identify the major problems for researchers ?

Aggarwal looks at world wide data like papers and citations and has conversations with Phd students, professors, the industry and administrators to deep dive into what's holding back research in India. Not surprisingly, these reasons turn out to be everything from lack of equipment to bureaucratic controls , a socialist institutional attitude to high performers and even niggling matters like no budgets for conferences. It's a meticulous investigation which identifies concrete gaps like

"Our performance in nursing, medicine and healthcare is hard to excuse. With our poor record on health care, these fields should be a particular priority" and

" We have hardly any psychologists who are trained to recognise numbers"

The book offers some solutions as well like focusing on universities as places for research, creating centres of excellence which have autonomy and creating incentives. All in all, it's a book academics, policy makers, scientists as well as the layman would do well to read. Highly recommended.
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Started Reading
March 4, 2018 – Shelved
March 4, 2018 – Finished Reading

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