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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

September - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature

India: the hub for scientific research

Vinod Khosla
Monday, October 15, 2007
Vinod Khosla
Based on the interview given exclusively to siliconindia.

In the last fifteen years, IT has played a dominant role in giving India the edge over other economies, so much so that we have now been christened a “transforming economy”, a distinction showered solely upon us. As the country continues her sprint towards ultimate economic success, it is imperative that it maintains its image of a “knowledge based talent pool”. It will ensure that other nations look up to India, like they thus far have, with admiration and respect. Our IT workforce is recognized for its keenness and technological prowess, and it is about time that professionals in other fields too garnered the same reputation and respect.

I am quite upbeat about the possibility of the exploits of IT being repeated in other industries across the board, especially in areas relating to research. The effect of a combined emergence of numerous industries in the way IT has emerged in India could create a nation not only rich in economic wealth but also the wealth actually trickling down to the common man.

Detractors would question the possibility of such an emergence in the first place. There is also the issue of India producing a patently small number of PhDs for a nation of its size. Our neighbor China for the record, produces close to 2500 PhDs a year, and detractors would point out that the Chinese are far better placed to move ahead in research-related areas. But history proves that we (Indians) have the talent and bent of mind to excel in fields like Mechanical Sciences, Pharmaceuticals, Electrochemistry, and other pure science areas.

Also, we have a fairly good fundamental education setup that equips students with the basics, and talent too is available. The only drawback is that people in the recent past have veered away from pure sciences and research owing to the lack of well-paying employment opportunities in the field. In this regard, startups in the respective fields need to be encouraged. Venture capitalists must be open to funding more seed and speculative ventures that they thus far haven’t touched.

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