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It was a great delight to have inaugurated an innovation and research think-tank, the Research and Innovation Circle of Hyd (RICH), today along with Hon’ble IT Minister Sri KT Rama Rao garu, eminent scientist Padma Vibhushan and former director of CISR, Dr R A Mashelkar, Sri Jayesh Ranjan garu, Dr Chandra Sekhar garu and former Dean of ISB, Sri Ajit Rangnekar garu.

RICH will become a classic example of how small steps have humungous impact. Any advancement in research and innovation, with a focus to take them to market, is significant, and a potential game-changer.

My bit of concern on today’s research landscape is its near data-sovereignty. As British economist and author Ronald Coase once said, if you torture data sufficiently, it will confess to anything. Most of our R&D is increasingly dependent on data and statistics. It is of course a sign of professionalism, having numbers to back your theories. Number cruncher is a good tag.

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But then, there is more to understanding the universe, and getting a newer insight than data. For example, as KTR will agree, politicians know that seeing is believing. When we stay closely connected with people, we seethe truth differently, and don’t depend upon numbers the same way. It must be also true for scientists.

We in India have achieved amazing results in our sciences. But we have tobe guarded against “Science and R&D for its own sake”. Scientists are prone to be lost in reality of their work, and perhaps a bit away from social realities. In contrast, the market is a place of crude reality. Hence, taking innovation and R&D to market is key to transformation and benefiting people. Scientists and businesses have to work together for this transformation, and government, and think-tanks like RICH, must create that interaction, multitude of conversations and building a catalytic ecosystem.

We know the benefits too well. Hyderabad is a living example of the benefits society can derive out of having a robust R&D ecosystem which is linked to industry and markets.

Another aspect of Indian R&S is ambition. We have harnessed low-lying grapes for a long time now. We must say enough. It is time for aiming much higher.

Quoting Nandamuri Balakrishna from his latest movie, Gautami Putra Satakarni, “We have somehow survived so far, existed. Now, let us establish and flourish.”

RICH is an example of expression of that ambition… to combine R&D and innovation with the market, focusing on taking benefits of science to people; to conquer and flourish.