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Leading Science and Technology: India Next?

Leading Science and Technology: India Next?

First Edition

February 2018 | 312 pages | SAGE India

In a world buzzing with artificial intelligence, gene therapy, 3-D printing, and brain implants, where does India stand? India is not yet a front-runner in creating new knowledge and world-changing inventions. India does not even feature among the top 10 countries in scientific research.

In this book, Varun argues that India would risk its economic progress, technology industry, and social development if it does not lead in research and innovation. He deliberates on how we can make India a leader in science and technology and uses a data-based approach to highlight the various limitations of India’s research ecosystem. He demystifies how discoveries and inventions happen through stories and personal experiences.

The book provides concrete, well-reasoned steps to build a “Scientific India.” This is essential for India’s success and for serving the cause of human progress.

Foreword by Desh Deshpande
Science, Technology, and Innovation: An Introduction
Leading Science and Technology: A ‘Must-Do’ for India
Research in India: The Past, Present, and Future
Researchers: Attracting Our Best Minds
Resources for Research: Speed, Accessibility, and Merit
Research Environment: Connecting, Collaborating, and Competing
Research, Industry, and Science Entrepreneurship
Questioning the Existing: Research Questions That Matter
Building World Class Universities: Policy and Institutional Structures
Leading Science and Technology: Vision for the Future
Notes and References

Varun Aggarwal offers a compelling, data-driven, and analytical march through India’s science landscape. While we might not get science to the stature of cricket or Bollywood in the Indian imagination, at least we have to try to make it much more discussed. There is no substitute for a laser focus on science to foster social and economic change.

Tarun Khanna,
Professor and Director, South Asia Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USAJorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School and Director, South Asia Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

India has the potential to solve its own problems using science and technology. In doing so, it has a shot at solving the world’s problems too. This first-of-its-kind book discusses how the nation can achieve this by taking advantage of its unique strengths. Varun weaves databased insights with stories to demystify the world of research and India’s position in it. He cites several interesting examples from his days at MIT and as an entrepreneur developing research-led products out of India. Science and technology are not some idealistic “good to haves”; they have increasingly become instruments for progress, and Varun’s thoughtful passion shows the way.

Sanjay Sarma,
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Vice President for Open Learning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

This book is a must-read for people who want to learn more about science in India, as it offers a comprehensive account of India’s science and technology ecosystem. Varun examines the national policy on science and innovation, the workings of India’s top research institutions, the role of industry, and the mind-set of India’s research personnel. Meticulously researched and based on a wealth of new data comparing countries across various research metrics, this book marks the start of an important and long-overdue dialogue in India about its position in world science and technology.

Pradeep K. Khosla,
Chancellor, University of California, San Diego

Just like you cannot imagine the Silicon Valley without Stanford, this book highlights the need for innovation backed by scientific research! To catapult India to the global stage of innovation, we need worldclass research institutions, empowered researchers who tackle challenging original problems, and a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs. This book is for any individual who dreams of an India that creates globally competitive start-ups and pioneers new technologies.

Akshay Kothari,
Head, LinkedIn India

It is a pity that India’s scientific output isn’t commensurate with the talent present in the country. This book explains why and warns about the opportunity cost of not acting. Varun presents a first lesson in the much-needed mentoring at various levels and for various actors to change the course. He nails it with his discussion around the importance of picking relevant problems, multidisciplinary research, building end-to-end solutions, tight partnership between industry and academia, and nurturing of appropriate ecosystems. A must-read for students, professors, researchers, policymakers, corporate leaders, media, and even parents who continue to exercise great career-related influence on the future protagonists. Simple yet subtle, critiquing yet constructive, Varun tells an engaging narrative that comes straight from his heart while also leading by example at many places.

Sumit Gulwani,
Research Manager, Microsoft, USA and Inventor of Flash Fill in MS Excel

Can India become the next scientific superpower? With hard facts and plenty of personal anecdotes, seasoned entrepreneur Varun Aggarwal argues that it’s time to unleash India’s intellectual potential. Better yet, he shows us what needs to be done. [This book] is a roadmap to India’s future.

Thomas Barlow,
Global Research Strategist and Author

India has established a significant export-driven IT industry and has a large and growing number of start-ups. However, it is clear to Varun, and to others, that the foundation of this enterprise—the science and research base of the country—is weak. The scale, quality, and impact of India’s research and research training effort have not kept pace with its global peers. In a rigorous, evidence-based study that is frank and hard-hitting, but also ultimately hopeful, Varun identifies the issues and points to potential solutions. This book should be essential reading for those who care about India’s science and research policy.

Arun Sharma,
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Commercialization), Queensland University of Technology

Great research passes through various stages—from idea to peer review and publication to application. Different kinds of support are required at each stage and if the ecosystem is healthy, each stage simultaneously feeds on and supports the others. The strength of this book is precisely that it takes such a holistic approach, which is absolutely required to analyze the gaps that exist in India. Further, the book links the research all the way up to start-ups and entrepreneurship. Varun is one of the few people who can authoritatively talk about this journey since he started in the world of ideas and from there has created a very successful global company. Since he has also lived and worked in several countries, he is able to put things in a comparative global perspective. I found his comparisons of India, China, and the United States very revealing. I highly recommend this book.

Shailendra Mehta President,
Director, and Distinguished Professor—Innovation & Entrepreneurship, MICA, Ahmedabad

Technology is changing how economies are organized and how wars are waged, affecting people and nations across the world. To be a leader internationally, a country must take the lead in science and technology. In this important book, Varun shows why, in comparison to India’s impressive economic achievements, the country’s technological achievements lag far behind. His insights and his thoughtful analysis of what needs to be done require to be widely understood and should be publicly discussed.

Anirudh Krishna,
Edgar T. Thompson Professor of Public Policy and Political Science, Duke University, North Carolina

‘Just like you cannot imagine the Silicon Valley without Stanford, this book highlights the need for innovation backed by scientific research! To catapult India to the global stage of innovation, we need worldclass research institutions, empowered researchers who tackle challenging original problems, and a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs. This book is for any individual who dreams of an India that creates globally competitive start-ups and pioneers new technologies.’

Akshay Kothari,
Head, LinkedIn India

Varun Aggarwal

Varun Aggarwal is a researcher and an entrepreneur. He earned his Bachelor of Engineering degree at the University of Delhi and later dropped out of a PhD program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, after having obtained his master’s degree. He cofounded Aspiring Minds, an employability assessment company, in 2008 to drive meritocracy in labor markets. He heads research at Aspiring Minds. His work has led to the world’s first machine-learning-based assessment of coding skills and the world’s first automated motor skills assessment. He has published more than 30 research papers and takes pride in the fact that the fruits of his... More About Author

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ISBN: 9789352805082

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