Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, C.N.R. Rao, has asked students to work hard and improve the quality of research.

He was delivering a special lecture at the Agriculture College, near here, on Saturday.

Referring to China's reported intention to beat the United States in scientific research by 2013, Prof. Rao said China might beat the U.S. in the number of research papers it produced in a year. But the country needed at least another 50 years to meet the standards of research in the U.S. However, India had the potential to meet the U.S. standards, provided talented people got the opportunities, he said.

Stressing the need for research in energy conservation, Prof. Rao said India should give more importance to research in solar energy.

He pointed out that many students from rural areas had not been able to get through competitive exams.

Efforts should be made to provide equal opportunities to rural students to exhibit their talent on a par with others, he said.