There is general disappointment about senior appointments by the present government, but Dr Vijay Raghavan’s appointment as scientific adviser is welcome. In a recent lecture I gave to senior scientists at the Administrative Staff College of India, there was discussion on the leadership scientific institutions need to develop Nehru’s oft-quoted “rational scientific temper”. A reference was made to the low turnover with most of them staying in laboratories almost for a lifetime.
In spite of the advances made by ISRO and others, there is a feeling that scientific establishments are retaining people but losing talent! If a scientist has to spend a lifetime in a lab, he or she needs role models and leadership, such as the one demonstrated by APJ Abdul Kalam. The main task of scientific leadership is to identify talent and nurture it over a long period of time, with sufficient support and budgets. Dr Vijay Raghavan’s appointment is a breath of fresh air. Hopefully, we will have more of it.
Sudarsanam Padam, Hyderabad