Strengthen Communication with Society, DBT Secretary Tells Scientists

Noting that social sector in the country is not growing vis-à-vis scientific progress, Dr Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, today urged scientists to ramp up their ability to effectively communicate to society that technology, deeply ingrained in scientific thesis, can improve life.

Dr Gokhale said the real problem is lack of connect between science and society, and the scientific community should learn to communicate through various media, including Twitter, Facebook, videos and newspapers, to drum up support for their pursuits.

“If you don’t get support, the investment that goes into science and in you stays back and the country suffers,” he said while inaugurating the four-day DBT Conclave organised by Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) here last evening.

RGCB Director Prof Chandrabhas Narayana welcomed the gathering, which consisted of research fellows and experts from across the country.

Highlighting that several other important areas are achieving competitive advantage and staying relevant in the Indian scientific ecosystem, he said scientists should be equipped with capabilities on par with their peers abroad to compete with them.

Dr Gokhale also stressed the need for collaborative projects, teamwork and connecting with experts to solve problems and challenges.

He said the DBT fosters innovations and enterprises and is also striving to strategically nurture and strengthen bioeconomy.

“The Indian bioeconomy grew from $70.2 billion to $80.12 billion in 2021 and a total of 1,128 biotech startups were set up last year. India conducted a total of 506.7 million COVID-19 tests in 2021 as well as a total of 1.45 billion doses of its vaccines were administered,” he explained.

Dr Gokhale said since technology innovation has become the main battlefield of international strategic game, scientists should be very careful of what should be shared outside and what should not.

Commenting on the challenge before the country, the Secretary said, “It’s completely technological decoupling now across the world. What India wants to do is how soon can the country become a serious competitor in the foundational technologies of 21st century?”

In his address, Dr Sudhanshu Vrati, Executive Director, Regional Centre for Biotechnology (RCB), Faridabad, said the DBT Conclave is a great opportunity for young scientists to create network that would lead to many prospective collaborations and discussion of ideas.

Speaking on ‘Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship and MK Bhan-Young Researcher Fellowship’ programmes, Dr Sanjay Kumar Mishra, Sr Advisor and Scientist, DBT, said interaction among budding scientists is very important as it will result in several scientific advancements.

Dr Mishra also stressed that scientists need to understand what is happening in other areas apart from gaining expertise in their own disciplines.

Dr Deo Prakash Chaturvedi, Scientist, DBT, proposed a vote of thanks.


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