Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will inaugurate the 98th Indian Science Congress to be held at SRM varsity campus in Chennai for five days from January 3, 2011.
Around 7,000 delegates from India and abroad, including six Nobel Laureates and several eminent scientists from across the world are expected to be part of the 5-day affair, Indian Science Congress Association President K C Pandey told.
The theme of the Congress would be 'Quality Education and Excellence in Scientific Research in Indian Universities', he said.
The theme has been chosen as there is a need to create proper facilities and environment for research in Indian Universities to carry out innovative work at the cutting edge of Science and Technology, he said.
Besides the theme session, there will be 14 sessions, including on science and challenges in new power and renewable energy, climate change and food security.
Though India has the third largest higher education sector in the world, it has not been able to keep pace with the knowledge explosion, he said.
Higher quality of science education and excellence in scientific research in Indian universities is the key to success if the country has to become a knowledge superpower, he added.
Stating that innovations and challenges in science and technology required to solve societal problems were quite complex and demanding, Mr. Pandey said "there is a need to make radical changes in our educational system and our approach to scientific research."
Replying to questions, Prof. Pandey, while welcoming the improved H-index of top Indian universities, however, said it did not indicate that there has been significant increase in scientific research in academic institutions.
Though the research activities have improved during the last few years, thanks to the increased thrust given by the central government to science education and allocation of substantial funds, it was not up to the mark. "A lot more needs to be done, since there is a renewed thrust on science education we hope that research will develop," Prof. Pandey stated.