KOCHI: Too much bureaucracy and too little funding is holding back India from achieving its potential in the field of nanotechnology despite having an excess of talent, said V. J. Gadgil, a senior scientist with the MESA+ Institute of Nanotechnology, University of Twente, the Netherlands.
“Nanotechnology is the new revolution into which the developed world is pumping in money. By the time we start investing they would be 30 years ahead of us and we would be left to do far too much catching up,” Mr. Gadgil told The Hindu on the sidelines of Nanotech India 2010, an international conference on nanotechnology being held here. He felt that a county of India’s magnitude needs investment to the tune of 50 to 100 million Euros to keep up with the rest of the world. “We have the brains, but we have to give them the means,” he said.
Mr. Gadgil, alumni of IIT Bombay, is a member of the Dutch Association of Material Science and has been recently nominated as a member of the organising committee of the European Focused Ion Beam Society.
Mr. Gadgil pointed out that there is no dearth of talent in the country. Forty per cent of the Ph.d students in Holland are from abroad and a lot of them are from India.
This year 1,09,000 Indian students have gone to America and 50,000 have gone to the United Kingdom for pursuing various scientific branches, he said.
“What it shows is that there is a vast potential which is being attracted by other countries. India today is number one in exporting engineers who have graduated at the expense of the government here and are working for the developed world,” the scientist said. Mr. Gadgil felt that Indian universities provide excellent education up to bachelor level but is completely disappointing at the masters and the Ph.d levels.
“The research output of IITs is disappointing considering the kind of talent they have. Look at the research paper per IIT staff. They are too much engaged in teaching and doing administrative work that they practically have no time for research,” he said. He said that borders between various scientific disciplines have melted down when it comes to nanotechnology. It’s a discipline encompassing all disciplines.
Mr. Gadgil said that completely new and fascinating materials which do not exist on the earth can be produced using nanotechnology.
Besides, nanotechnology is applied in commonly available products like sun lotions that contain nano particles.
He said that the market for nanotechnology products is already worth a trillion Euros and would hit the 2.41 trillion mark by 2015.