Nature India | Indigenus

Doing science in India

This week I was rummaging through data to understand what it means to be a scientist in India. I poured into fresh government policy documents, funding proposals and announcements. I read again the Prime Minister’s address to the Indian Science Congress. I pursued with interest the angry voices of post-docs and scientists in the Nature India forum. I spoke to women scientists who have their share of problems. And some more.

All this in a week that saw one of the biggest fights against corruption on Indian soil by Gandhian Anna Hazare and thousands of his followers. The issue of corruption and nepotism in the scientific administration in India has also been a topic of hot debate in the Nature India forum.

The result of this research was a guest blog piece I wrote on invitation from Nature Network. The piece aims to aid the monthly discussion series Science Online NYC (SoNYC) held in New York City where invited panellists talk about a particular topic related to how science is carried out and communicated online. The topic this time would cover, among other things, science in developing countries.

Please feel free to comment on the issue here.


  1. Report this comment

    Devi Deen Pandey said:

    At present science communication in India is not so free or excellent, particularly if talking/writing about atomic science, common health issues. This is mostly discouraged (financially and mentally). I request the policy makers of the third world countries to encourage freeelancce writing in sciene and provide financial encouragement as well as security to such writers.

  2. Report this comment

    Jayanta said:

    The condition and grooming of science and scientists in India can be judged by the poor response in the Nature India Forum that you mentioned here. Only few, very few people, openly and honestly express their opinions.

    I can say that only 3-4 people have the ability and courage to talk straight, supported by facts and figures in that very important (and probably the only) India specific forum where people can honestly express their views.

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    Jagruti Gandhi said:

    I feel very strongly that India does lack students who pursue PhD or post doctoral research in the areas of microbiology/biotechnology. One reason is that past students who have PhDs in these fields have left for US and other western countries. They could have been excellent mentors grooming the next generation of microbiologists/biotechnologists. I wonder what will hold them back in India after they get a PhD?It is time to think seriously. There is complete lack of good, substantial funding that will help them establish cutting edge research and also personal remuneration alluring enough to give them a good lifestyle that they strive for. I feel there is a need for a institute like NIH in India. Also, grant money that helps brilliant minds pursue their desired areas of research and autonomy to spend and obtain grant money without corruption.

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    Khushboo Nagdev said:

    Any action for improvement of career in science is not possible without involvement of public. When they will take interest, a scientist’s responsibility as well as importance will be defined.

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    Sharad Deshmukh said:

    Doing science in India is not suffering at the level where it is termed as science but from the very roots — the school.

    Schools in India are becoming modern but they do not teach, preach and live in scientific manner. Students are compelled to wear sweaters when they hardly need them just to meet the whim of a headmaster. Tie is made compulsory when the climate is hot and humid. For every new session they need new notebooks though the old notebook contains enough blank pages.

    The cost of wasting resources is never considered. They teach “as printed in books” but do not practice it.

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    Saurabh S Dalal said:

    As far as I know about my field, my colleagues are thinking about MBA after B.Pharm to start earning after PG. Compared to an MBA degree holder, who can earn Rs 20-30 thousand a month, M.pharma gives you a good struggle for job and your starting is up to 10000/month. So here the interested students (future scientists if given proper inspiration and funds) do not enter the field. PhD and post doc studies remain a dream to them. There is urgent need to encourage them.

    Another hurdle in entering the research field is ego of guides. Whatever they ‘order’, the research students have to perform without a question. Their ideas and interests are not entertained in most institutes. Hoping some immediate steps are taken to help students get into this great area of research.