India and China’s chalk and cheese approach to science
Like any young scientist, Prasad Hegde had to look hard for research positions around the world after a PhD. But unlike many Indian students in the US, Hegde looked eastward to do postdoctoral research. India was not an option as there were few positions available. He chose Taiwan over the US and EU, but it did not work out. Then he moved to China, which like India did not have a tradition of post-doctoral research, but was creating such jobs in large numbers.
Hegde spent two years in Wuhan, studying exotic states of matter created by collisions of atomic nuclei, before returning to India and a job at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru. Hegde’s stint in China gave him insights into Chinese science and state of mind, the Chinese work culture and attitudes towards research. At least in his field of heavy ion physics, India had more scientists than China. “This kind of science was new to them,” he says. But China was creating new fields of science and large research teams. The labs had plenty of money and were more flexible in hiring. “They like to do things in large scale and they do things fast,” says Hedge, who is now an assistant professor at the Centre for High Energy Physics at IISc.
Over the last four decades, China has been developing the country at a frenetic pace. As it built its bridges and dams, its coal plants and rockets, the country also invested heavily in science and engineering research. Senior Chinese political leaders, most of whom had their basic education in science or engineering, trusted the power of science to transform the country’s economy and society.
Unlike in India, it is easy for a foreigner to move and establish a lab in China. Ralf Jauch, a structural biologist from the Max Plank Institute in Germany, found this when he moved to the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health in 2013. Jauch now has academic freedom, not to speak of good funding and a generous supply of foreign students. But what surprised him was the attitude of the provincial government.
Despite his institute being part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the provincial government and the city of Guangzhou have invested in it. “I think this model of investment is unique to China,” says Jauch.
1 days ago
Very exhaustive and informative article
Good insight in scientific activities and innovations in China.
1 days ago
We have elected representatives who are primarily responsible for voicing our concerns and aspirations.when it comes to science and research our politicians for long are ignorant about the need for sustained growth in this field.The will to cite fund availability as a reason towards this prevails more than the commitment towards achievement.Overall thinking about its importance at every governing step contributes heavily to the decline of this cause
India need to think this very early before it gets too late.
it”s absolutely true that in India science regards as a luxury than a growth engine and that”s because majority of politicians don”t know anything about science and always fight for caste, religion and reservation. We are producing quality human capital but not for the country cause we don”t have jobs to begin with and the worst part is the pay-scale. People from IT or management gets lakhs of package while for a research scholar it”s even sometimes hard to pay room rents by month end. People feel like cheated when they try to pursue research in India, even sometimes marriages get cancel due to low income of researchers. Don”t worry, in near future we will even see Indians going for high end research in China than in US. India should at least learn from the neighbor.
India suffers from a Unique Situation on this one, with Multi Party Politics. ..oops the Democracy. So either we should Choose to Go like China with a Single Party System, or Go like West. ..Sell Everything in to the Private Hands (and Pockets)
Indian Government (and Political parties) barely have money for these Elections. ..coming up all the time.
In fact having to borrow a lot of money for elections. ..from the other countries. (Jab Election Ladane ke liye hi paise kam padenge, to Science ke liye paise kahan se Aayenge?)
During discussions with my previous Lenders (Banks), I was told, It is good and (kind of) money is not a problem, But the Politicians in India will not allow my research/Product Innovation to grow. Later as it turned out or appeared that even their Parent Bank would also not possibly like to support developments of any Technology that saved the Energy or Fuel in the Automobiles. ..and their Oil.