In the build-up to our Annual India Symposium on April 4, 2019 in New Delhi, the Mittal Institute organized four brainstorming sessions to bring together academics and industry leaders to discuss some of the scientific and technological issues India faces, and the potential solutions to these problems. Four group of experts, who will compose four of the panels at the Annual India Symposium, huddled together to discuss topics related to agricultural advancement, the life sciences, STEM education, and digital health.
Technological Advancements in Agriculture
The members of the agricultural panel discussed the role of transgenics in agriculture, encapsulating areas such as politics, business, religion, and culture, as well as the role of scientists in the implementation of policies on the ground. According to the panelists, the areas of research and development and the lack of budgeting, multinational intervention, and agriculture-oriented curriculum were believed to be the major reasons for ineffective technological advancement in agriculture.
Why Study Life Sciences?
The life science panelists discussed the expansion of the life sciences domain to include big data and computation over the past few decades. Today, life science is no longer restricted to its parochial definition. The group members discussed the advanced role that life sciences can play in helping India’s farmers, the ethics of scientific study, and how to revolutionize the manner in which science is taught in schools today.
Catalyzing India’s Digital Health Ecosystem
The panelists from the session on health focused on the National Health Stack (NHS) initiative launched by NITI Aayog in 2018. The group members discussed the need for a unique health identifier, as well as the regulatory and legal challenges associated with data privacy and the NHS. Existing Electronic Health Record (EHR) initiatives were presented, and their implementation methodology and challenges were discussed.
Methods and Tools to Enhance STEM Education
The panelists of the STEM education session sought a way for students in the social sciences to understand pure scientific learning, too, believing it important to have an inclusive approach for all students.
The group of scientists and industry leaders were also joined by the US Ambassador to India, Kenneth I. Juster, as well as Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the Chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon, and Professor K. VijayRaghavan, the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, who also gave brief speeches at the workshop.