Vijayawada

Webinar focusses on post-COVID scenario

Professor C.N.R. Rao chairs the webinar hosted by SRM University-AP on Friday.

Professor C.N.R. Rao chairs the webinar hosted by SRM University-AP on Friday.  

Senior scientist and Bharat Ratna recipient C.N.R. Rao has said that human intelligence and determination can defeat COVID-19.

Addressing a webinar hosted by SRM University-AP in association with The Hindu on Friday to rethink the strategies for nurturing a scientific landscape in the post-COVID situation, Professor Rao said that though the pandemic caused a temporary slowdown, it cannot diminish the intelligence and determination of the scientific community.

The webinar witnessed several insights and key points relating to research and technology in a post-COVID world and all the speakers said that humankind was resilient enough to fight this pandemic while urging people to be cautious and careful for the next few months.

"Science is the urge of people to create and innovate which would keep shimmering even after lockdown,” said Professor Rao.

Stating that the contribution of India to Science and Technology was marginal, Professor Rao said that the scientists of the country should engage in three types of research -- frontiers of science to combat COVID directly, research that helps in improving the important sectors of India, and domains where India has the potential to beat the rest of the world to be on top.

He also urged the government to spend at least 2% of its GDP to promote scientific and technological research.

Pro Vice-Chancellor of the university D. Narayana Rao said that post-COVID, there would be a dire need for international collaborations and said that India could definitely consider this as a potential opportunity and the scientists, technologists, engineers, bureaucrats and policy makers can reinvent the ways of doing research on Science & Technology.

Professor Narayana Rao also said that CSIR Laboratories and outfits like BIRAC built a strong bio-science foundation with a robust and start-up corporate base. He ardently believes that in a way COVID-19 pandemic crises have catalysed India and its scientific community.

Ashutosh Sharma, secretary, DST, said that COVID-19 taught mankind to adopt a problem-centric approach rather than a tool-centric one.

“The future is about the convergence of science and technology. We should understand the fundamental challenges and use the opportunity,” said Professor Sharma.

S. Chandra Sekhar, Director, CSIR, IICT, Hyderabad, said that in the Co-COVID era, the pursuit of science should be making the people future-ready. "Cutting edge research is to be used to combat pandemics in the future."

“Pandemics are going to happen. AI model, computational tools should be used to predict virus mutations and alerts should be given to researchers to prepare a vaccine beforehand, “ he said.

'Self-reliant'

Shashi Bala Singh, Director, NIPER, Hyderabad, said that Indian R&D sector was very vibrant and has the capabilities to be self-reliant in the sectors of food and agriculture, biomedical equipment, and pharmaceuticals.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 7:27:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/webinar-focusses-on-post-covid-scenario/article31705417.ece

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