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Privileged to contribute to S&T ecosystem: India's new scientific adviser Ajay Sood


BENGALURU: In 2003, when Prof Ajay Kumar Sood and his team at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, created history when they generated electricity by passing liquid or gas through carbon nanotubes, Sood did not imagine that he may one day become the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the government.

“Posts, appointments, awards and accolades are milestones, and not targets in a scientist’s life. We don’t work for anything other than science itself,” Sood told TNSE in an exclusive interview after his appointment as the PSA.

Regarding his new role as the country’s top scientist, he said he was “humbled” and felt privileged to get this opportunity to contribute to the science and technology ecosystem. “I look forward to accelerating the scientific temperament, and making India one of the top three countries in science and technology. We have the best brains and potential to be on top,” said the distinguished physicist and Padma Shri awardee.

“We have seen the speed of progress in the management of Covid-19 pandemic and vaccine development. There were decades of medical research and basic science behind it,” the renowned scientist said. Talking about the road map to increased scientific temperament and advancement, Sood said India has pockets of scientific excellence, which need to be expanded.

“There should be many more such centres and greater synergy between academia and industry. We must motivate students and researchers to come out with scientific breakthroughs. We should see more research papers by Indian scientists getting published in international journals of repute. We need to bolster systems that would promote basic science to transactional science,” said the new PSA, who will assume charge on April 25.