‘Want Nobel? Free science of bureaucrats’ | delhi | Hindustan Times
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‘Want Nobel? Free science of bureaucrats’

Good scientists, like good cricket and soccer players, will be recruited by the best teams anywhere in the world, writes Satyen Mohapatra.

delhi Updated: Oct 21, 2008 01:06 IST
Satyen Mohapatra

Good scientists, like good cricket and soccer players, will be recruited by the best teams anywhere in the world. For India to have a winning combination, the “complex bureaucratic control of science should be reduced”, says Prof Hans Wigzell.

A former head of the Nobel Assembly and chairperson of the Nobel Prize awarding committee for physiology and medicine, Prof Wigzell told HT, “I have met a lot of Indian scientists who are good, but frustrated people because financial support is coming too little and very late.”

Prof Wigzell, who is from Karolinska Institute, Sweden, said, “India cannot continue to take the plea that few scientists are winning the Nobel prize because it’s still a developing nation because now India has done very well economically.”

To drive home the point, he said in the next 15 years, Chinese scientists would be “so qualified” that they would strive and get the Nobel. He credits the Chinese government for the great leap forward. “There is no political control of research in China and scientists are fully independent, as it should be. Good scientists always like to follow their own ideas.” Elite research centres, which are well-funded, were offering better facilities than American institutes. “Many very good Chinese scientists are going back from the US to China.”

“If India cannot provide support for such good professionals, then it’ll lose them. The government should infuse more funds and really nourish these people who will be role models for others. If these scientists win the Nobel prize, it’ll be a big boost for science in the country.”

Though the Nobel generally is awarded to older scientists, he had analysed that their best work is done when they are below 35.

“India should support not the fossilised elderly gentlemen, but the promising young ones even though they are a little rebellious,” said Prof Wigzell, an immunologists of international repute coordinating the largest EU project on HIV/AIDS vaccine and microbicides.