Archive for October, 2015


The OECD report

To reshape industry, health care, provide solution to mitigate climate change and to find solutions to global challenges, countries should enhance investment in R & D says A 250-page report on OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2015: Innovation for growth and society, released by the OECD. This report highlights the current challenges to overcoming the effects of recent financial and economic crises and improving the well-being of societies. This mantra is followed by S Korea (and perhaps China now). SK has increased its R & D funding by several folds since 2000 and now 1.2 % of GDP is allotted for R & D. Other advanced economies have flattened their R & D spending. According to OECD “cuts to R & D spending threatens to destabilizes sciences and research systems in many advanced economies”. “ We must continue to lay the technological foundations for new inventions and solutions to global challenges like climate change and ageing and must not let investment in long-term research wane,” warned OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, presenting the report in Daejeon, South Korea. Further the report says that the aim of STI’s (Science, Technology and Industry) Scoreboard is not to ‘rank’ countries or develop composite indicators but to provide policy-makers and analysts with the means to compare economies with others of a similar size or with a similar structure and monitor progress towards desired national or supranational policy goals. One of the important trends emphasized in the report is for the countries to develop centers of excellence that should dominate the science innovation. There are top 30 high impact research institutes that are public funded spread across 14 countries. US, UK, Germany and China accounted for 50-70% high impact publications across all disciplines. The United Kingdom is the second-largest producer of top-cited publications and China is the second largest producer of top-cited publications in materials science, chemistry, engineering, computer science and chemical engineering, energy and mathematics. And Brazil and India are present in the four cited countries respectively in dentistry and chemical engineering. Rrecently China, to realize the dream of its President, opened a new Institute called ‘Silk Route Institute: in the China University of Geosciences, and held a workshop by calling all the countries along the Silk Route. There was only one person from India while ministers and vice chancellors attended the workshop. The aim of the workshop is how to revive the silk route. Indian participant presented a blue print to revive the silk route by using the geothermal resources along the entire silk route to support infrastructural development.

The top discussion was how to provide energy and water to the growing population and support industrial growth at a global level. Since geothermal energy is well established in all the countries, except India, and since this source can provide 24 x 7 base load electricity and can be used to generate fresh water as well and grow food to sustain masses, emphasis was laid to focus development of this green energy along the route. Since this route runs at 5000 m above sea level and cuts across the pristine Himalayan glaciers, a non polluting energy source with least CO2 emission is required. Since China has already established its credibility in laying rail and road at such elevations, and since it has already initiated R & D technology to harness electricity using EGS, reviving silk route is not difficult. In this respect this initiative reflects the finding of the report published by OECD recently. Very soon with the help of geothermal energy resources, China is all set to develop the Silk Route from Singapore to Turkey and beyond. The Tang dynasty is emerging again to support trade and industry between east and west!! It is high time Indian top institutes wake up from slumber and get out of its non-productive research and increase efforts to cultivate basic applied R & D that will help the country to maintain the status where it is and not to slide down further.