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Shrihari, D J Sanghvi College of Engineering, Vile Parle (W) Mumbai

The Journey Ahead--an extremely selfish note on fostering research!

One always thinks of resources required to do research and if they are made available in abundance, research is likely to prosper.

In India money is the foremost important resource. To a motivated self less researcher, it is most required for his experimentation/literature review/data-processing/etc. Do we have such quality in sufficient quantity? Good institutions apart there is surely a need for more number of such persons. As proliferation of private institutions led to teachers becoming teachers for a salary, attempts to foster research may bring in researchers for salary. But what about the talented lot, who opted out of research for the very reason--money. Can Money be used to motivate the talented young researcher. Some of the corporate universities offer a bonus on every publication as part of the pay package. Can doing research be remunerative? Compete with other remunerative activities which are attractive. Further, the QIP schemes are trying to create more researchers, perhaps in wrong ways. Seniors are given the first preference, for obvious reasons, but at an age when you are worried about your child«s SSC/or mortgage on your house/some times even pension plans, you may not be in an ideal frame of mind to be trained for research, even less so to make most of the training. You go through the training get your promotion and that is the end of it. Perhaps training a young researcher and putting a promotion criteria as application of that training is a better method. Money can overcome some of these stumbling blocks for research.

Second resource one can talk about is time. With respect to teachers, who are likely to be good researchers time is a very important resource. In the university system if a teacher has to spend 16-18 hours/week lecturing and in a city like Mumbai, another 15-20 hours/week traveling, with family also demanding a part of the time, time becomes too precious. Shortage of Time can be compensated by additional work force and it needs more money! Identification of the promising talent is also a very important process. It could be through SERC schools, summer scientist fellowships, etc.

Third important resource is information. To begin with we have persons fantasizing about research but are unaware of which area they should do research. ∆Well defined problems to be picked up by prospective researcher« may be one way of doing things. Making published literature available is the second challenge and requires some one to pay for it. These persons perhaps require guidance and continuous monitoring.

The last and foremost topic to be pointed out is to keep the tempo going once an initiation is done. This is most important place where the fire in the belly dies and some other factors take over. With fire in the belly you can overcome most of the above shortages but there is no way it can be rekindled. Some peer pressure, research culture development activity in ones place of work has to take place over the years.


next up previous contents
Next: Kartic Khilar, IIT Bombay Up: Suggestions for The Journey Previous: Ashok Bhaskarwar, IIT Delhi   Contents
Sanjeev K. Gupta 2005-06-18