Outsider takes helm at Indian research giant

first_img Outsider takes helm at Indian research giant Pallava Bagla Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Shekhar Mande, a structural biologist, took over yesterday as director-general of India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), headquartered in New Delhi, which operates a network of 40 research labs around the country. Mande, 56, headed the National Centre for Cell Science in Pune, India, a government lab, the past 7 years; his own research has focused on understanding the structure of bacterial proteins, including those produced by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen that causes tuberculosis.Mande is the first outsider to take on the top job at CSIR since 1984. “CSIR is in urgent need of revitalization and only an outsider can bring in the new vigor needed to steer CSIR in a fast-changing India,” says Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, a systems biologist and president of the Indian Academy of Sciences in Bengaluru. He calls Mande a “distinguished researcher.”With a combined annual budget of about $1 billion, CSIR institutes carry out research on areas as diverse as oceans, roads, aerospace, and drugs. In 2015, the government ordered the organization to become self-financing, primarily through industry contracts, by this year, an objective it has not achieved. “The real challenge” for Indian R&D is getting private organizations and companies to invest in research to complement publicly funded science, Mande tells Science. “The two together have a great potential in transforming the Indian society.” By Pallava BaglaOct. 17, 2018 , 1:25 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrycenter_img Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) Shekhar Mande Email Mande faces other challenges. Indian President Ram Nath Kovind recently pointed out “the distressingly low participation of women” in Indian science, including at CSIR, where only 18.3% of researchers are women. “It is a reminder of the scientific potential of our daughters that we are not adequately harnessing,” Kovind said. Mande said he hopes to hire more women to address the imbalance.Mande is vice president of Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) in New Delhi, an organization dedicated to the popularization of “Swadeshi science,” which seeks to promote modern research and traditional Indian knowledge systems. (The movement has links to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindu nationalist organization that has a strong influence on the current Indian government.) VIBHA’s growing clout is worrying some scientists who warn that India is increasingly embracing pseudoscience.“Mande is certainly very much aligned with the policy of the current government, but being a competent scientist he will surely not succumb to a full monty on researching the benefits of cow urine and such pseudoscientific stuff,” says Satyajit Rath, a former scientist at the National Institute of Immunology in New Delhi. Rath says Mande “will surely fire fight promotion of irrationality.” Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, a chemical engineer and former CSIR director general, doesn’t see Mande’s ties to VIBHA as a problem. “This cannot be [a] handicap but an asset,” Mashelkar says. “Any organization that connects with society such as VIBHA has to be welcomed.”last_img

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