Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar during the Nobel Prize India Series 2018 in Panaji on Thursday.(HT photo)
Three days after the Economic Survey 2018 stated that the private sector must increase its investment in research and development, four Nobel Prize winners echoed the same sentiments on Thursday.
“The private sector doesn’t want to fund basic science research because they get no profits, which is a short sighted way of looking at it, and shareholders do not want to pay for it either,” said Richard J Roberts who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1993. “There is a need to understand that basic science research develops intellectual property which in turns leads to patents.”
Roberts was speaking at a roundtable conference at the second edition of Nobel Prize India Series 2018 at Panaji, Goa.
“The general view is that basic science research has to be financed by the government and companies must engage in developing technology,” said Serge Haroche, Nobel laureate in physics in 2012. “Investment in science as a result is not divided equally between academics and the private sector.”
Stating that the contribution of the private sector in research in India is very small, and needs to increase, K Vijay Raghavan, secretary of the department of biotechnology, said a significant part of government funding goes to defence, space and atomic energy. Tomas Lindahl, who won the Nobel for chemistry in 2015, said schools and good quality teaching is the backbone of kindling interest among students.
“Students should be allowed to pick a very interesting problem that sparks curiosity; that addresses important questions in nature,” said Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1995.
Meanwhile Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar said the state will set up two education hubs to fuel nation’s growth and address critical issues through innovation. He said the state will conduct annual contest in science where students will have to propose breakthrough ideas that the government will financially support for a year.