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Opinion

Mr. Sanjay Sahay is an IPS officer of the 1989 batch, borne on Karnataka cadre. He is currently the Additional Director General of Police, Karnataka Lokayukta. Sanjay has been the Police Chief of three districts & IG of Eastern Range, Davangere. He has headed Police Computer Wing, as IGP & ADGP and is an officer with 360 degrees understanding of Police functions and an astounding capability to deliver.

Sanjay is known for creating the Police IT Ecosystem, on which the state police functions: an ERP Software, Statewide Intranet, Tier 2 Data Center which is now on a private cloud. He is a Technology Evangelist and believes that only R&D can transform the nation. He has a multifarious personality; a thought leader, professional public speaker, a writer, a mentor, a Cyber Security expert and a management guru. He is a man in the public domain with large number of professionals following him from all domains.


Research Agenda for the Nation

 

Research is nation building. The success of the growth agenda of the nation is directly proportional to the fruitful research conducted. While we chart out the growth agenda of organizations and institutions, or of the nation, a parallel blueprint of reaching the commensurate research capabilities and delivery, needs to planned and executed. Growth agenda, individual or cumulative has to be sustained by research and development, failing which, the growth trajectory leads into wilderness, never to come back again on the rails, as anticipated. We are replete with examples of this type, but have decided not learn from
our experiences and keep repeating the failed path, to our detriment.
Research is the ultimate service provider to the nation. Modalities of research robust enough to meet the requirements are not even thought of. The single guideresearcher model has brought us thus far; possibly it cannot take us any further. This has been everybody’s experience, given the present day challenges posed to the researchers. Much better and evolved research models are needed, which can match up to the requirements within fixed timelines and is worthy of mass use. Research on research mechanism can be the beginning, getting it created could be the first milestone and the first major success towards the creation of a Research Agenda. This would be the beginning of India’s research transformation. High end technology comes from the industry, mostly foreign. The academic and research institutions have become bystanders. The requirement-research connect is not even a part of our thought process. The lab to field connect has to be firmly established. We should bid adieu
to the self-certification industry of the academic world.

Funding, autonomy and supposedly enlightened leadership has not helped in creating research agendas for institutions, leave aside worthwhile research products for the nation. Research approvals are just a jargon circulating around in academic circles with no societal relevance. Seventy years is a long time and wasting any further time for sure would be futile, if we go by our experience but for some shining examples like ISRO. What is dished out in the name of research and validated by the organizations themselves is self-serving.

In silos we come and silos we go, while all our life we sing the collaboration song. Leave aside the academia-industry collaboration, does the academia collaborate even amongst itself? Collaborative research can be planned based on the researcher’s expertise, facilities available, projects at hand, nature of the research team, timelines and the clearly stated project deliverables. How many inter-IIT projects should happen in a year, is a call to be taken. Short term, medium term and long term projects need are to be decided. There can be bigger projects which have to happen at a totally different scale of resources and at a different level of coordination. This would mean the death of the highly inflated ego which comes in way of a collaborative exercise. Research has to be a team game. Intra, inter and multidisciplinary are the future of research and of the discipline itself.

An Artificial Intelligence Research Center can be an example. What would be the research projects, timelines, products, testing, field trials and the creation of an ecosystem to support this institution? These cannot be stand alone institutions; they need interfaces with the outer world depending on the project. Another easy entry into the agenda of collaboration would be to tap into the Disruptive Technologies of the day, for our needs. The sectors and problems can be neatly defined for an easy take off. It can be scaled up, as it progresses, depending on the expertise gained. In India, our research projects are etched in stone, with fixed funds, human resources, project goals and completion / success predefined. It is not a continuum.  Whether, it fulfils nation’s agenda, is something we are not bothered about.

The work on Disruptive Innovation can just lead to the creation of an Innovation Hub. Its modalities can surface as the time passes by. By then our own resources will have the potential to create a blueprint of a cutting edge technology institution. A great trait of collaborative research is that it leads to natural growth of multifarious research avenues and also helps create forward linkage institutions. This nature of progressive growth provides an inherent strength to the ever growing research and the institutions. Blockchain Technology is another technology having the potential to redefine the world; the internet of information would graduate to internet of value as well. There are lots of projects coming together, globally, which would help create the roadmap. Hyper Ledger Project and research activities in Estonia supported by NASDAQ may well be the game changers.

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