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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.

October - 2009 - issue > Director Speak

What will Facilitate ‘Research’ in India?

M.S. Ananth
Monday, October 5, 2009
M.S. Ananth
It’s important to give all that you have when you have the chance. Most of the technologists in the Valley may not be contributing their all, but they put the best efforts to contribute back to their alma mater. Gururaj Deshpande and Kris Gopalakrishnan, among others, are some of the biggest patrons of IIT-Madras. This culture is what IITs are benefiting from today. The early Indian technologists, who migrated to the U.S. and attained numerous achievements, are now returning back to their alma mater. This reflects the pool of highly successful technologists the IITs have created in the Valley. Statistics show that over 50 percent of the Intellectual Properties in the U.S. have Indian names behind them, of which 70 percent are IITians. Of the estimated 35,000 IITians in the U.S. today, a majority is known to founding technology companies, filing patents for disruptive technologies, or heading technology teams. The IITians rule the roost in the corporate ladder as CEOs, presidents, or head researchers indicating their significant role in driving innovation in the Valley.

Such an achievement needs to be at least partially attributed to the quality of education the IITs have continued to impart to all its students starting from the under graduate level. The curriculum in our institutes ensures that the student does not have any holes in his background, while the education in MIT or Princeton is more liberal and it is possible for students to graduate with important subjects left out. In fact years ago, during one of my trips to Princeton, I had a chance to meet Professor Reed of the Chemical Engineering Department of MIT and he told me that IIT under graduates were exceptional in that their knowledge was without holes.

In spite of such vast difference in the quality of education, the U.S. has been identified as the hub of technology research. One needs to understand that the U.S. has always had the right climate for research, while other countries are just catching up. For years, the U.S. has been bringing bright minds together in its graduate schools because it is a country of immigrants and the cultural differences actually make it effective for people to grasp things better. It is all about a meeting of unlike minds.

University Research Parks in the U.S. have been fertile grounds for innovation. Louis Pasteur once said, “…discovery is the result of chance meeting a prepared mind.” We have been preparing the minds well for several decades and chance has been meeting them in the Silicon Valley.

Research Parks bring together three kinds of minds – that of the faculty that is well versed in their areas of specialization, that of the industrial researcher who sees the opportunity in ideas applicable to the market place, and the student who is unburdened with knowledge and is not afraid to articulate creative yet unusual ideas. This combination has worked very well and our students who have gone there have been very creative.

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