Scientific research has three-fold objective, President tells IISER graduates

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Mohali, May 20 (IANS) Scientific research has three major objectives which should serve as a guiding light, President Ram Nath Kovind told graduating students of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at their seventh convocation here on Sunday.

“The purpose of scientific research is threefold,” said Kovind even as he noted that Mohali has become a hub for knowledge economy, information technology, biotechnology and bioinformatics, and that IISER should be the fulcrum of the entire ecosystem.

“First, science and technology must continue to play a role in nation building. As our nation evolves and as our society changes, our needs too are transformed. Yet, science and technology will always be required to find answers to developmental questions,” he said.

The President said the questions before the country range from battling climate change to providing low-cost but effective healthcare solutions, from overcoming farmers productivity and water-scarcity challenges to building sustainable cities that are socially inclusive.

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“Second, science and technology have a symbiotic relationship with business and industry. Product invention and process innovation; converting the learning of the lab into commercially viable products; using technology to promote efficiency, enterprise and employment – there is so much science and commerce can do together,” he said.

Citing examples of Silicon Valley in California and Bengaluru, he said IISER must strive to play a similar role in Mohali. Punjab has a long history of technocrats who ventured into successful businesses, he added.

“Third, institutions of scientific education and research are important in themselves for blue-sky innovation and for expanding the frontiers of knowledge. This is the fundamental and to my mind most critical value of scientific research,” he said.

Kovind said basic scientific research keeps alive the instinct of curiosity that is at the root of our civilisation. Though this route requires patience, it can lead to unexpected and dramatic leaps in human imagination, he said.

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The President urged the students of IISER to keep the three motivations of science and research in mind as these will help them to serve fellow citizens, the society, the country and the larger cause of humanity.

Kovind also appreciated the fact that though only 40 per cent of the 152 graduating students were girls both the gold medals for academic performance had gone to girls and three of the four awards for academic excellence were won by girl students.

“It is my privilege to travel to convocations across the country. I find this commendable performance of our young women, of our society’s daughters, to be something of a national trend. They are consistently outscoring their male counterparts. This is a step forward in the cause of gender equity and in making India a developed society,” he said.

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