Updated on 22 November 2012
Dr R A Mashelkar, former director general of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR); national research professor; and president, Global Research Alliance and National Innovation Foundation
A highly respected name in the Indian bioscience industry, Dr Raghunath Anant Mashelkar has been known for his critical role in shaping India's science and technology policies. He has been propagating a culture of innovation and balanced intellectual property rights regime for over a decade.
He was the director general of India's flagship public science organization, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and also a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee to the various cabinets that were set up by successive governments in India. Presently, he is the president of Global Research Alliance, a network of publicly funded research and development institutes from Asia Pacific, South Africa, Europe and the US, with over 60,000 scientists.
As India is observing ‘India decade of innovations 2010-20', BioSpectrum spoke to Dr Mashelkar about challenges before the bioscience industry of India, the innovations that are needed by the country and much more. Excerpts of the interview:
What does innovation mean to you? How relevant is it to today's India?
In a simple language, innovation is creating ideas and then turning them into something that benefits large sections of society. India being a capital-starved country faces challenges apart from sustainable growth. Therefore, given the scarcity of funds in the present context, I would say "less from less" is not the answer but "more from less" is the solution. Unfortunately, we don't have those extra millions to spend on various initiatives of importance.
There is need for the work flow changes to adapt to new requirements. One may ask what is common between selling a burger or an eye-care treatment. It is the sharing of expertise that matters and that make the industries grow. Moreover, the essence of education is to mix multidisciplinary aspects to create something new and useful.