India strives for a place in nanoworld

In nano on October 7, 2006 at 4:51 pm

India has missed out on major innovations in science but it’s trying hard to ensure that it does not lag behind in the latest revolution.

A nano-science initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) that began in 2003 has now identified and equipped research units in the country. Eminent scientist and pioneer of the nanotechnology initiative in India, Prof CNR Rao, is determined to carry forward India’s nano-tech hopes. Prof Rao heads DST’s Nanotechnology Steering Committee.

Research funding is also expected to rise. Those shortlisted for research funding reportedly include the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Madras, Pune and Benaras universities. Last year, the committee channelised Rs 20 crore in equipping identified units across the country to carry out research.

Even though facilities in universities are not good enough, India plans to have a reasonable capability for nanoscience over the next five years.

Scientific laboratories have started preparing nano materials for various applications in industrial houses and elsewhere. Over the past few years, we have been producing scientific output in the area of nanotechnology.

However, this has been very small in comparison to China and Japan, which have made large investments in this area. As for India, Prof Rao’s laboratory at JNCASR in Bangalore has been among the main contributors to the turnout.

Indian scientists have done a lot of work in the synthesis and discovery of new nano-materials. They have created four classes of inorganic nanotubes. Now, they look forward to developing expertise in nano-scale drug delivery, nano-electronics and nano-engineering with the help of industries.

Moreover, efforts are on to attract more research students and teachers into the stream through workshops, seminars and training programmes.

Time and again, President APJ Abdul Kalam has also expressed the need for greater focus on nanotechnology in the country. In fact, he has asked a team of experts to draw up a plan for increased funding for nano-research.
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