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R & D culture lagging behind in Indian universities, says veteran space scientist Madhavan Nair

Bengaluru | India's universities are lagging behind in research and development (R & D) culture, veteran space scientist G Madhavan Nair has said and urged industries to back them with funding.

The former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation also batted for a better compensation package for ISRO scientists saying it cannot be treated as any other Government department.

He said industries have to come forward in a big way to support ISRO's programmes and projects.

"R & D culture in our institutions are lagging behind quite a bit," Nair told PTI on Monday. Universities blame lack of good facilities and resources for this.

In countries like the US, he noted, funding for R & D in universities comes from private industries, who make huge investments in labs and talented people and give them good projects.

"So that way, R & D is encouraged in (those) universities. Government cannot alone be doing that job (R & D funding). ISRO definitely has been following an open policy and they are throwing problems to the universities and quite a few solutions have come out of them, but that's not sufficient. Basic R & D culture in universities has to improve," Nair said.

Speaking in general terms, he said the ISRO is on the right track, the government is also giving good support, and he is happy about it.

But the concern is that industries are not rising up to the occasion and taking up the challenges. "Industries have to come forward; ISRO has opened up; the government has liberalised the policies, all these things have been done. Industrial backup is a must," he underlined.

Similarly, he said, compensation packages for ISRO scientists should go up. "We should identify the top performers and cash incentive plus award should be encouraged more." "They cannot treat this (ISRO) as just like any other ordinary department," Nair said. "If you ask me, this is the top-most, best performing department in the whole Government. So, naturally, they should be treated specially."