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Report of the Event

Consultation with Indian Scientific Diaspora

20:00-22:00 hours (IST), November 7, 2020

Considering the importance of views of Indian Diaspora in formulating the STIP 2020, a meeting was held on 7 November 2020 through VC mode. The meeting was chaired by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare. The objective of meeting was to get suggestions, inputs and recommendations for STIP 2020. The following is the list of participants:

List of Attendees



Dr. Harsh Vardhan

Hon’ble Minister of S&T, MoHFW and ES, India

Prof. K.VijayRaghavan

Principal Scientific Adviser to GoI, India

Prof. Ashutosh Sharma

Secretary, DST, India

Dr. Vijay Chauthaiwale

Healthcare-Biotech Consultant, India

Ms. Renu Pall

Additional Secretary for New Emerging & Strategic

Technologies, Ministry of External Affairs, India

Dr. S.K. Varshney

Scientist-G & Head, International Cooperation Division, DST, India

Dr. Akhilesh Gupta

Head – STIP-2020 Secretariat, DST, India

Dr. Vijay Saraswat

MD, Goldman Sachs, USA

Dr. Satish K. Tripathi

President, SUNY Buffalo, USA

Dr. Bipashyee Ghosh

Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Sussex, UK

Mr. Amit Tiwari

Head, Indian National Student Organization, UK

Dr. Umesh Mukhi

Assistant Professor of Management at FGV – Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil

Dr. Avijit Banik


Dr. Bhagirath Singh

Professor and Scientist Emeritus; Scientific Director, CIHR – Institute of Infection and Immunity, Toronto, Canada

Mr. Musheer Ahmed

Head, IndiaTech HK, Hong Kong

Mr. Subramania Natarajan

Director, ICIJ; Founder & President, Infoview, Japan

Dr. E Hemaprabha

PostDoc – Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Israel 

Prof. Prakash Kumar

Professor, Dept of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Mr. Ashish Mishra

Principal Founder, Durga foundation, Singapore

Prof. Vijay Kumar Murthy FRSC

Director of Fields Institute, Toronto,

Dr. Madhusudan Reddy Nandineni

Science Counsellor (S&T), Berlin

Dr. Shishir Shrotriya

Science Counsellor (S&T), Moscow

Dr. Dhananjay Tiwari

Science Counsellor (S&T), Washington D.C, USA

Dr. Usha Dixit

Counsellor (S&T), Japan

Dr. Rabindra Panigrahy

Scientist D, DST, India

Dr. Radhika Trikha

DST – STI Policy Fellow, India

Dr. Chagun Basha

STIP 2020 Secretariat, India

Mr. Aditya Kaushik

Co-Founder, Science Policy Forum, India

Dr. Suryesh Namdeo

DST-CPR at IISc, Bangalore, India

I – Introductory Session (20:00- 20:30 hrs)

Meeting briefing was provided by Dr. Chagun Basha (moderator of the event), followed by a presentation by Dr. Akhilesh Gupta, Head, STIP-2020 Secretariat, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India over the landmark policy initiative, Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020 (STIP 2020). He also stated the strong role Indian Diaspora can play in providing recommendations for building a holistic and strong STI ecosystem and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.

In the opening speech, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare said that India is a diverse country with unique opportunities, STIP will help overcome these challenges. The STIP 2020 is the one of its kind, evidence-based policy with the largest no of consultation process in different tracks and more than 30,000 experts are involved to align  and address the STI needs of the country.  He further said that, Indian diaspora is acknowledged as the most vibrant community and serves as a source of intellectual power ever since the Indian economy liberalised and began to grow at a rapid pace. The significant contribution of large and highly skilled Indian diaspora communities in fostering the IT and Biotech sector is huge and well recognized. He emphasised the need to establish more connection with the scientific ecosystem in diverse fields and talked about the huge potential of connecting and engaging with Indian diaspora not only for India but for the world. He said that the consultation meeting aims at generating and streamlining key areas in the making of STIP 2020, for which it is important to build policy level  mechanisms that can facilitate institutional mechanisms to attract best talent back to India, and help in creating and facilitating channels to address national development goals from their respective areas. Scientific diaspora contribute in internationalization of scientific development and boosting development activities and STIP 2020 will provide the right kind of policy instrumentation that can help to attract the best global talent and critical human resource, he concluded.

Prof. K VijayRaghanvan, Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India explained about the STIP formulation process. He said that in Covid era, Indian scientists all over the world worked very hard and addressed problem related vaccines, protective gadgets etc. in exemplary manner. He emphasized the relevance of Indian scientists working in National and international institutions and pointed out that they are of great strength but sometimes not sufficiently connected with society and people. He said that pandemic has shown us the way and relevance to establish these kinds of connections. STIP 2020 will facilitate in formulating these connections in the structured manner and help establish connections with the society, India and abroad. Indian diaspora can work in creating the connect to strengthen our economy and strengthen the S&T ecosystem, he concluded.

Dr. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India stressed over following points – bringing greater quality, profoundness, direction and relevance in S&T and innovation; create a seamless S&T ecosystem which involves knowledge creation to knowledge consumption which means that R&D help academia, start-ups, government, industry to work for common purpose; disruptive technology should be integrated to the current scenario for being future ready; to aware of diversity, inclusion and equity; strengthen international connect in particularly with help of Indian diaspora. He concluded that STIP 2020 policy is very important in addressing points mentioned and can help set context to create a seamless system.

Dr. Vijay Chauthaiwale, Healthcare-Biotech Consultant, India emphasised over the need of increased participation and collaborations of Indian diaspora through various national programmes. He said that the diverse Indian scientific communities working in different capacities in various sectors can guide in technology and innovation driven development and he further requested representatives from Indian diaspora organizations for recommendation, inputs and suggestions for the STIP 2020 policy.

Ambassador Renu Paul, Ministry of External Affairs, India explained the roles and responsibilities of New Emerging & Strategic Technologies division, and talked about the role Indian diaspora can play in this regard is quite evident. She emphasized that the diaspora communities are most important in creating the corridors in innovation and emerging technologies and have a great role to play as collaborators in establishing better linkages for open, transparent and mutual benefits between organizations and countries.

II – Discussion Session (20:30- 21:45 hrs)

  1. Dr. Satish K. Tripathi, President, State University of New York, Buffalo, USA said that India has made considerable progress in S&T, but the development in S&T worldwide is heading very fast so there is a need to double down the progress. He further added that Covid 19 showed the power of technology, therefore there is a need to further build upon it. There is a great need of arrangement for IPR, better transfer of knowledge and interconnectedness and the need to look at complex problems especially through the lens of social innovation.
  2. Dr. Vijay Saraswat, MD, Goldman Sachs said that in the current era there is exponential growth in research activity around the global which should be explored well through collaboration and connectivity. There exist extraordinary opportunities to engage globally in sectors such as AI, machine learning, network connectivity, etc. He emphasised that this increased scale should be reflected in government programmes especially in the development of deep learning and machine and AI learning.
  3. Dr. Bipashyee Ghosh, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Sussex, UK  talked about the relevance of social innovation with reference to global engagement of Indian diaspora. She emphasised the need of setting the context of STIP 2020 in relation to the nature of innovation policy and how it will  support sustainable development especially SDG goals for a community. She also talked about the need of integrating and promoting social and environmental justice and wellbeing. She suggested the way forward for policy to enable potential engagement of interdisciplinary scholars in implementing and evaluating the new STI policy.
  4. Dr. Musheer Ahmed, Co-Founder of IndiaTech Hong Kong, and Founder of Finstep Asia discussed the need to reshape IP as the growth of IP is important for us to find a way to encourage our technology firms and Other firms to work closely with Universities to co-develop IP which can be implemented commercially. He further recommended allowing companies to offset their CSR commitments with investment into R&D in Universities which can further help in getting academics to also focus on future technology development. Dr Musheer also discussed the pathway for export of Indian Technology for which have recently been developed in India by homegrown startups. He said that many Indian startups want to go overseas, but lack resources and added the need for an enabling startup policy, which should emerge together with other countries,
  1. Ashish Mishra, Founder, Durga foundation, Singapore suggested a comprehensive plan at  panchayat  and primary school level – need to groom our next generation for a scientific mindset in rural areas and small towns.  He added that the panchayat level push to encourage science led innovation and entrepreneurship for rural indians out of poverty and at the same time a series of problems in rural areas can be addressed locally. He highlighted that with the push for Digital literacy, we will be able to groom rural talent for global opportunity by capitalising  on demographic advantage and cheap data. He also spoke on the ease of funding for new age science driven innovators.
  2. Avijit Banik, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Sci-ROI representative, Emory University, USA said that Sci-ROI conducted a survey to understand the challenges faced by young investigators in India which is forwarded to STIP Secretariat.  He said that favourable reforms in policy can enable them to overcome challenges and empower the returning young professionals to perform at a higher level.
  3. Dr. Hemaphrabha, Postdoctoral Fellow, Technion Israel Institute of Technology discussed how Institutions can assign an effective public-service project from the local Government authority which can be monitored and supervised by the committee of Professors. Every year, thousands of Bachelors and Masters students graduate and hundreds of simple but effective projects can be completed. This will help the students to understand the Government organizational hierarchy and endorse them to serve the nation,
  4. Umesh Mukhi, Assistant Professor of Management at FGV – Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil, recipient for Tesla Silver Coin Award in 2014 for youth empowerment. He holds the title of Honorary Cross-Cultural Ambassador of UNESCO Club, Sorbonne University, Paris for his educational and inter-cultural contribution. He mentioned the need for India to be a player of the global south and also highlighted some key challenges. He mentioned the need for economic diplomacy
  5. Bhagirath Singh, Scientific Director, CIHR – Institute of Infection and Immunity, Toronto, discussed the areas that will help innovation, new technology development  and improving healthcare should be a top priority for future R&D planning. He said that  there are excellent opportunities in Advanced manufacturing technology particularly in the health sector, Synthetic Biology and biotechnology, evidence-based use of India’s medical plants and their products, Artificial intelligence application in supporting healthcare and patient care, storage, utilization and cybersecurity of large datasets
  6. Amit Tiwari, Head, Indian National Student Organization, UK, discussed that India provides the highest amount of Phd and researchers for UK Universities and most probably even globally. He suggested increasing research culture and infrastructure within the Universities and building strategic partnerships between the Universities in both India and UK and also between the Universities and Commercial Industries
  7. Prof. Prakash Kumar, Dept of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, said that in India there is no shortage of talent, but resources and appropriate opportunities are limiting people’s potential. He suggested an equivalent of the cricket IPL for Science, Technology & Innovation (SciPL) at several centers of excellence to incentivize quality hiring coupled with top quality output. The diaspora members will be expected to bring the global competitive science culture for the benefit of young talents.
  8. Mr. Subramaniam Natrajan, Founder and President, Infoview, Japan, briefly suggested how Research and Innovation can provide solutions that shall have tremendous public/ Social impact and benefit millions of Indian people. He discussed infrastructures for carrying out the research and innovation through supportive finances by the Govt of India.
  9. Prof. Vijay Kumar Murthy FRSC, Director of Fields Institute, Toronto, suggested that policy should be comprehensive from villages to research institutes. STIP can drive learning. Learning is the new capital. Fields Institute is open to partnering, to drive the study and application of mathematics

In response to their comments, Dr. Vijay Chauthaiwale discussed the scope of the recommendation given by diaspora representatives. He said that there is a need of inculcating science into school children . Atal innovation labs is the government step regarding this . apart from this tinkering lab there is a lots of scheme in india for innovating school, UG as well as PG education ie. Tinkering labs etc. Prof. VijayRaghavan said that CSR is a big open door. India’s global engagement increases initially with people to science and science to people collaboration. He further added the need for merging mission oriented programs for global collaboration. Amb. Renu Pall mentioned that we are emerging with our indeginous knowledge which will lead to develop the level up to the role of the global south.. She also added that we need capacity building in terms of experts in the context of Indian companies in the global south and develop bilateral partnerships. She discussed the need and scope of treatment options for Covid 19, rethinking of SDGs and about human centric economy.

III – Concluding Session (21:45 – 22:05)

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Hon’ble Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare in his concluding remarks he appreciated and thanked all the diaspora representatives for their inputs. He summarized each of their suggestions and promised that this is only a beginning, He mentioned that India is at 3rd Position in terms of no of publications in SCI journals (5th in 2014) and 3rd Position in no. of PhDs. CSIR is ranked 1st in the Nature Ranking Index -2020 based on total research output by its institutions in 2018-19. He highlighted important innovation schemes like Vajra, Gyan, etc scheme to uplift the scenario. He also gave a clarion call to act local and go global. He also promised the diaspora and public a pathbreaking STI policy that will help achieve Atma Nirbhar Bharat.