Monday, July 5, 2010


Scientific research is meant to be for the benefit of mankind and any R & D activity of theoretical and academic interest cannot get priority over application oriented scientific pursuit. Scientists are often blamed for their "frog in the well" mindset which ignores what is required to be done to further the quality of life on this planet. Unfortunately such thoughts are shared by very few scientists while the vast majority has a limited vision for furthering their self interest. Thousands of scientists engaged in research have very low satisfaction threshold and are happy if their endeavor results in publication in international periodicals, preferably peer reviewed ones. In the area of food R & D being pursued in national institutions and Universities do not end up in innovations of any commercial or social significance that could benefit the citizens who bear the financial burden for supporting their research. Whether it is the failure of the policy makers or the scientists themselves can be a fit subject for critical examination, if the resultant conclusion can help reorient the science policies. The example set by the small country Ireland in optimizing their resources for food research to derive maximum impact is laudable and worthy of emulation by bigger countries like India.

"The alliance aims to underpin the development of a sustainable, competitive and innovative Irish food industry and to consolidate Ireland's strengths in food science, technology and innovation. UCC and Teagasc resources will now be deployed to build a common food research and innovation programme on the themes of food and health, food science and technology and food and the consumer. More than 250 researchers, post-doctorates, and post-graduates are currently working across a wide variety of disciplines in food science, food technology, nutrition, food for health and food business. A work plan and management framework for the alliance is now being prepared by a steering committee headed by Professor Michael Dowling, who chaired a joint working group that helped bring the idea to fruition".

There has to be dramatic change of attitudes amongst the scientists as well as the industry managers and the prevalent hostility or non-appreciation of the strength of each other will have to give way to mutual appreciation and cooperation. While industry will be better off with co-opting scientists into their management structure, research organizations must meet the industry half way by inviting industry captains or associations to be part of their decision making apparatus. Resource limited poor countries cannot afford the luxury of ivory tower research and what ever investment is made in R & D must be deployed for result oriented and mission mode accomplishments with tangible impact. Ireland is setting the agenda for others to follow to get the desired results.

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