Mark Sinclair

Head of Science & Innovation, India

Part of Global Science and Innovation Network

14th January 2013 New Delhi, India

GCSA at the Indian Science Congress

For my first day back at work in New Year I had the pleasure of welcoming UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser Professor Sir John Beddington (@uksciencechief) back to India.

He was in Kolkata to speak at the inauguration of the 100th annual Indian Science Congress.

Founded in 1914, in Kolkata, the Congress was the initiative of two British Chemists, Prof Simonsen and Prof MacMahon, and inspired by the British Association for the Advancement of Science (read the history here).  This centenary event saw some 15,000 visitors over the period 3 to 7 Jan at a range of venues across Kolkata.  The inauguration took place in the Salt Lake sports stadium in Kolkata in the presence of the President of India, the Prime Minister of India, the Governor of West Bengal, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, and the Minister for Science & Technology and many other distinguished guests.

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee formally inaugurated the Congress, followed by an address by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The Prime Minister used this speech to unveil the new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy for India. The overall aim of this strategy is to accelerate the pace of discovery and delivery of science-led solutions for ‘faster, sustainable and inclusive growth’.

The strategy sets out impressive aspirations for india, both for the excellence of Indian science – aiming to position India as a top 5 global scientific power – and introduces a major new focus on ensuring relevance to India’s social and economic needs through successful deployment of S&T-led solutions.

The strategy is backed up by the 12th five year plan, also just released, which sets out large increases in research spending and numbers of researchers.  There are also a range of initiatives aimed at stimulating private sector investment, including through public-private sector partnerships and providing incentives for commercialisation.

Sir John took part in a distinguished panel chaired by the Prime Minister with Science & Technology Minister J. Reddy and Professors Chidambaram and Swaminathan.  This addressed the role of science in shaping India’s future, the overall theme of this centenary Congress.

Sir John’s speech identified India’s key challenges in food and agriculture, water, energy and health, driven by population growth, urban migration and climate change.  I was also pleased to hear him confirm the excellent fit between these key challenges and the themes we are addressing through Indo-UK S&I collaboration. Good to know we are on the right track.

Update 17/01/13 – Nafees Meah, director of RCUK India, has recently blogged about the 12th five year plan. To read his blog see the RCUK blog site.

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About Mark Sinclair

Mark leads the Science & Innovation Network in India and is responsible for strategy and direction of the network, focusing on the government to government aspects of the Indo-UK science…

Mark leads the Science & Innovation Network in India and is responsible for strategy and direction of the network, focusing on the government to government aspects of the Indo-UK science relationship. He has had an extensive career in science and technology across a number of UK Government departments, having worked in research, programme management, science policy, and as private secretary to the Defence Chief Scientific Adviser. Prior to arriving in India Mark led the S&I Network in Europe West, based in Paris, and before that the S&I Network in Boston, USA. Mark has degrees in engineering and an MBA.