The National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India in association with the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), which serves as the Knowledge Partner / Think Tank of the Science 20 Engagement Group organized an outreach program at Ahmedabad Management Association (AM), Ahmedabad engaging students and other stakeholders from the academia, industry, incubators, entrepreneurs, innovators, start-ups etc. on the theme of Disruptive Technologies for Sustainable Development.
The keynote speaker was Prof Ashutosh Sharma, President, Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and former Secretary to Government of India, Department of Science and Technology (DST) who delivered a talk on the main theme “Disruptive science for Innovative and Sustainable development”. Dr. S. Sundar Manoharan, Director General, Pandit Deendayal Energy University delivered his talk on the sub-theme Clean energy for a greener future. This was followed by a talk on another sub-theme Universal holistic health by Dr. Chaitanya Joshi, Director, Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of Gujarat.
On this occasion, in addition to the aforementioned talks, a panel discussion focused on the sub-theme “Connecting Science to Society, Culture and Heritage” was also organized which was chaired by Prof Ashutosh Sharma, President, Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and former Secretary to Government of India, Department of Science and Technology (DST) and co-chaired by Dr. Anil Bhardwaj, Director, Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), a unit of Department of Space, Government of India.
Other panelists included (a) Dr Dinesh Awasthi, Vice-Chancellor, Lok Jagruti Kendra University (LJKU) (b) Mr. Chirayu Pandya, Category Head – India, Logitech, a leading multinational manufacturer of computer peripherals and software (c) Prof. Shailendra Saraf, Director, National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Ahmedabad (d) Mr. Surendra Patel, Founder, Vishalla, the Village Restaurant and Heritage Museum attraction in Ahmedabad. On this occasion, Dr Arvind C Ranade, Director, NIF and Dr Vipin Kumar, Chief Scientist, NIF were also present.
Science and Technology is considered to be an important driver for Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of transforming India into a developed nation by 2047. Pursuant to this ambition, India is seeking a well-defined road map for accomplishment of country’s Science goals. It is also aligned with India’s ongoing G20 presidency wherein important indicators of national progress like development, inclusion, improving ease of doing business and ease of living are all considered to be a function of how well India can perform in the field of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). Science 20 (S20) is one of the several engagement groups led by experts and independent organisations, works in parallel with G20 official track and contribute recommendations for the consideration of the G20 leadership. Aligned with the aforementioned, the speakers shared their diversified experiences with the audience and also answered questions reflecting curiosity, primarily from the youth who have gathered together from various Institutes and Universities from different parts of the State of Gujarat.
The discussion encompassed a huge variety in terms of concepts and perspectives which were touched upon. While on one side, the fundamental differences between invention, innovation and discovery were explained in response to Questions from students, the discussion also encompassed the changes emanating from the recent gamechangers like ChatGPT.
In addition, complex S&T themes like nanotechnology, recent developments in the field of renewable energy, significance of ethics while embracing advancements in technology, India’s self-reliance in the field of pharmaceuticals and growing impact in the field of medical devices through schemes like PLI, the essential pillars of India’s Space program contributing to its success over the years, paramount focus that modern day technology firms like Logitech are laying on sustainability and treating it as non-negotiable elements of their business model were also discussed. Establishing the connect between Heritage and Science, the curious case of Vishalla also decoding its evolution story was very much appreciated by the audience.