Discusses bilateral collaboration
New Delhi: A high-level US delegation of the premier National Science Foundation (NRF), currently on visit to India, Tuesday called on Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh and discussed bilateral collaboration between the two countries as well as the ways to carry this collaboration to the next level.
Dr. Kendra Sharp, Head, Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE), National Science Foundation (NSF) of USA, Brian Stone, Chief of Staff, NSF, USA, Dr. Bridget Turaga Program Director, Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE), NSF, Drew Schufletowski, Minister Counselor for Economic, Environment, Science and Technology Affairs, United States Embassy, William Harford Chief of Environment, Science, and Technology Unit, United States Embassy and Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan Director, National Science Foundation of United States, among others, were part of the delegation.
During the delegation level talks, Dr Jitendra Singh said, both the sides have already identified the sectors and collaboration is on in areas like healthcare, technology, Space, earth and ocean science, energy, emerging technologies and cooperation in Science & Technology education. The Minister underlined that India and the United States have a long-standing connection and shared interest when it comes to scientific discovery and technological innovations and time has come to strengthen and leverage these connects for larger global good.
Director, National Science Foundation (NSF) of United States and head of the delegation Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan assured Dr Jitendra Singh that the subjects identified in the two-day brainstorming session would be taken to logical conclusion. He also promised to open new avenues of cooperation in areas like Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, Geosciences and Astrophysics.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always accorded highest priority to scientific pursuits and takes keen personal interest in each of the subjects. He said, since 2014, in every Independence Day speech, PM Modi has flagged key scientific challenges and projects like Cleanliness, Hydrogen Mission, Digital Health Care system, clean energy, net zero emission and Start-ups.
Dr Jitendra Singh told the NSF delegation that both sides must focus on meaningful, targeted, deliverable-driven R&D partnerships in technology areas such Quantum, Metaverse, Clean Energy Technologies, Cyber-Physical Systems, Advanced Materials and Communications Technologies. The Minister pointed out that the Indian Scientific diaspora is one of the world’s largest and powerful diaspora communities in shaping global discourse, particularly in the technological innovation landscape. He said, both the countries must explore avenues for the US and India to jointly identify, nurture, and promote deep-tech start-ups in areas of mutual interest.
Dr Jitendra Singh also sought the support of NSF for the proposed Integrated Data System. He said, data collection at present is being done by various institutions in different ways, but the Integrated Data System will go a long way in data analytics and associated benefits. The Minister said, the knowledge partnership with NSF-National Centre for Science and Engineering Statistics will be of great value addition in terms of long-term capacity development in this area.
Dr Jitendra Singh also called for scaling up the cooperation in the Space sector and mainly in emerging areas like management of space debris. He also recalled that the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite is expected to be launched in 2023. The Minister said, Science and technology education partnership has been another dimension of the outreach—to establish linkages between American and Indian institutions and students. Education Roundtable held last year with participation of a number of STEM-focused universities.
Dr Panchanathan also took keen interest in Agri-tech, Dairy and Telemedicine sectors and promised to explore meaning support and cooperation from NSF. He said, soon a blueprint would be ready for future cooperation in these areas and also flagged Climate Change challenges as a potential area through exchange of clean technologies.
Prof. Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India, Dr. Parvinder Maini, Scientific Secretary, Office of PSA, Dr. Preeti Banzal, Adviser, Office of PSA, Dr. Monoranjan Mohanty, Adviser, Office of PSA, Dr. Sindura Ganapathi, PSA Fellow, hri Shirish Panda, Scientist ‘D’, Office of PSA and Dr. B. Chagun Basha, Senior Specialist, Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India joined the talks from Indian side.