Author: Dr. Shivaji Bhosale, Associate Professor, Sir Parashurambhau College, Pune
A much-needed S&T Digital’s Hybrid Conference on “Careers in Science and Technology 2024 was organized on 3-4 Feb 2024 at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune (IISER). Prof. Satishchandra Ogale, Director, RISE, TCG-CREST and Emeritus Professor IISESR, Pune was instrumental in organizing the conference to make UG and PG students aware about the pool of opportunities available in the future. The conference was attended by parents, students, and teachers in online and offline mode.
The conference included the plenary talks of several scientists and entrepreneurs.
Prof. Shekhar Mande (NCCS), on Career in Biomedical Sciences….
His talk emphasized on how a career in biomedical sciences offers a wide range of opportunities to contribute to the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of various medical conditions. He said Biomedical sciences encompass a diverse array of fields, including genetics, microbiology, immunology, pharmacology, biochemistry, and more. Various potential career options according to him are Biomedical researcher/scientist, Clinical researcher, Genetic Counseller, and Public Health scientist. He also stated the need for interdisplinary approach in making career.
Prof. Tarun Sourdeep (RRI, Bangaluru, Astrophysics and Gravitational Waves) on Cosmic Quests and Conquests…
Prof. Tarun said “Cosmic quests and conquests” typically refer to ambitious endeavors related to space exploration, astronomy, and the understanding of the cosmos. HE stated several opportunities in the filed of space missions, explorations, space telescopes, space tourism and commercial space explorations, understanding dark matter and dark energy.
In addition to this he said, these cosmic quests and conquests represent humanity’s ongoing fascination with the cosmos and our desire to explore, understand, and possibly inhabit other parts of the universe. Advances in technology, collaboration among nations, and the involvement of private companies contribute to the realization of these ambitious endeavors.
Prof. Sumantra Chatterjee (TCG-CREST Neuroscience) on new ways of thinking about a career in science: Neuroscience as a case study….
Prof. Sumantra said, exploring a career in science, particularly in neuroscience, can benefit from innovative and multidisciplinary approaches. She stressed on Interdisplinary collaborations and break down the traditional silos between scientific disciplines. Collaborate with experts in computer science, engineering, psychology, and other fields to leverage diverse perspectives and skills in addressing complex questions in neuroscience. Embrace the entrepreneurial spirit within neuroscience. Innovate and create new technologies, tools, or applications for understanding and improving brain function. Start-ups and partnerships with the private sector can drive advancements in neurotechnology. Leverage the power of data science and AI in neuroscience research. Analyze large datasets, develop algorithms for pattern recognition, and use machine learning to uncover hidden insights from brain-related data. This can revolutionize our understanding of the brain and lead to new discoveries. Engage in discussions about the ethical implications of neuroscience research and its applications. Contribute to the development of policies and guidelines that ensure responsible use of neuroscientific advancements, especially in areas like brain-machine interfaces and cognitive enhancement. Collaborate with researchers and institutions around the world to tackle global challenges in neuroscience. Share data, resources, and expertise to address diverse perspectives and populations, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of the brain. Adopt a patient-centered approach to neuroscience research. Collaborate with healthcare professionals, patients, and advocacy groups to ensure that research priorities align with the needs of those affected by neurological disorders. This approach can enhance the translational impact of research. Investigate the neuroscience of mindfulness, meditation, and well-being. Contribute to the growing field of contemplative neuroscience, exploring how practices that enhance mental health and resilience impact the brain.
Prof. Akshara Kaginalkar (CDAC, Compurter Science Applications) on Evolving Cross-sectorial Opportunities in Computational Science and Technology Applications…….
Prof Akshara said the field of computational science and technology applications is constantly evolving, offering cross-sectorial opportunities that extend beyond traditional boundaries. Computational methods, including molecular modeling and simulations, are accelerating the drug discovery process, enabling the identification of potential therapeutic compounds more efficiently. Computational models simulate climate systems, enabling researchers to study climate change patterns, predict future scenarios, and develop strategies for mitigation and adaptation. Computational simulations are critical for designing and testing aircraft, spacecraft, and defense systems, reducing the need for extensive physical prototypes. Advanced computational techniques are employed for threat detection, encryption, and the development of secure communication systems. Computational tools analyze large datasets to identify and respond to cybersecurity threats in real-time, enhancing the overall security posture of organizations.
Prof. N. B. Dhokey (COEP Technological University, Pune) on Innovating for a better tomorrow…….
Prof Dhokey gave an important insight on effective implementation of NEP at college and Institution. The Indian government’s initiatives, “Make in India” and “Startup India,” promote innovation, entrepreneurship, and the manufacturing sector. These programs aim to create a conducive environment for startups and businesses in India to thrive and has implemented several government schemes and initiatives to promote industry-institute collaboration and foster innovation. These programs aim to bridge the gap between academia and industry, encourage research and development, and enhance the overall innovation ecosystem.
He also talked about Sustainable development goals, Research and Development Cells in HEI’s, Institution’s Innovation Council, KAPILA guidelines, National Innovation and Startup Policy 2019 for students and faculty and Maharashtra State Innovation Society
Dr. Sanjay Khare (MD SKODA, Industry) on Engineering a sustainable future: Navigating Challenges and Embracing solutions…..
Dr. Sanjay talked about Nikky Kumar Jha who operates a startup named SABJIKOTI (an agri-tech start-up incubated at IIT Kanpur). He is from Bhagalpur, Bihar. He is an electrical and electronics engineer and environmentalist. SABJIKOTI is a product used for the storage of various agricultural produce. After harvesting, not all the crops get sold, only that much amount of crops get sold which is required for the consumers and according to the market demand. Rest all the crops don’t get proper storage facilities and there is post-harvest loss which is very high (around 30%). Farmers cannot protect their crops from damage and not all farmers can afford cold storage. So to get rid of these problems a farmer can buy SABJI KOTHI which protects the crops from damage with various features and at affordable sabjikothi cost (Rs10,000 for up to 500kg). It is an IoT- enabled storage device. It requires 10 watts of electricity (on or off the grid) and a liter of water daily. Its controlled microclimate created inside the insulated chamber inhibits pathogen growth, delays browning and ripening, inhibits ethylene biosynthesis which is responsible for perishability, oxidizes ethylene into small molecules, and regulates the activity of antioxidant enzymes. It can save farm net 30% of their horticultural crops that goes to waste due to insufficient storage facility. Other storage devices require high energy to store crops but this product requires only 10 watts a day, it operates on a small lead acid battery.
He also gave an example of Pune based GREENTOKARI private company.
He stressed on thinking local solutions for local problems and asked the students to give importance to mindware like Hardware and Software. In this regards he gave an example of MAMAEARTH. Ghazal Alagh became an entrepreneur when she couldn’t find toxin-free baby products for her son. A mother’s desperation combined with a clear whitespace in the domestic baby care market prompted her (and her husband Varun Alagh) to start Mamaearth. It was in 2016, when direct-to-consumer (D2C) was yet to become a catchphrase, that Mamaearth launched six baby products. Two years on, it expanded into categories like skincare and haircare, which today account for 80 per cent of its sales, according to a Jefferies report.
Dr. Devapriya Chattopadhyay (IISER, Earth and Climate Science) on From Exploration to Conservation: Careers in Earth Science in the present and future….
Careers in Earth science cover a broad spectrum, from exploration and understanding of the Earth’s systems to the critical task of conserving its resources. The field is dynamic and continues to evolve, driven by advancements in technology, increasing environmental awareness, and the need for sustainable practices.Earth science continues to play a pivotal role in addressing global challenges, including climate change, environmental degradation, and resource management, the demand for skilled professionals in these fields is expected to grow. Developing a strong foundation in relevant scientific disciplines, staying informed about technological advancements, and gaining practical experience through internships and research projects are key steps for pursuing a successful career in Earth science.
Prof. Ramgopal Rao (Nanotechnology and Device Science) on From Lab to Land: Pioneering Inventions via Basic Science and technology Confluence……
Prof. Ramgopal said the journey from the laboratory to real-world impact is a testament to the synergy between basic science and technology. Pioneering inventions emerge when these two forces converge, creating innovations that not only push the boundaries of knowledge but also address real-world challenges. This confluence is a dynamic process that transforms theoretical concepts into practical solutions, ultimately shaping the way we live, work, and interact with the world.
He talked about NanoSniff Technologies which is a Fabless MEMS Start-Up Company Founded by Dr. Nitin Kale, Mr. Kapil Bardeja, Prof. Soumyo Mukherji and Prof. Ramgopal Rao. It was incubated at IIT Bombay in 2011. It has been funded via Founders’ contributions, Angel Investors (Priyas Investments), Grants (GCC, BIRAC, GITA etc), and Crowd-Sourcing (1Cr).
He also gave example of Vehant Technologies an startup which provides AI and Deep learning based Premise Security and Traffic Enforcement Solutions. It is incubated in Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi in 2005 and designed & developed in India; manufactured in India and Europe to meet global standards, features and quality.
Dr. Anuya Nisal (Serigen Mediproducts) on Choosing Deep Science Entrepreneurship as an Exciting Career Option….
Dr. Anuya said choosing deep science entrepreneurship as a career option can indeed be an exciting and rewarding path. Deep science refers to cutting-edge, research-intensive fields such as biotechnology, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and others that involve a deep understanding of fundamental scientific principles. She gave the example of Bone void fillers developed from natural silk and talked about her startup Serigen Mediproducts Pvt Ltd. Serigen, formerly known as BiolMed Innovations, is an innovation-driven, tissue regeneration products company, founded with the vision to become a global leader in biomedical devices. They leverage the materials science of natural silk proteins to develop novel biomedical products that serve the clinical needs of diverse patient communities. A brainchild of passionate scientists and innovators, Serigen originated as a spin-off from CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, an esteemed research institute specializing in materials and chemicals based in India.
Prof. Vidya Gupta (ARI, Agriculture Biotechnology) Agri-Bio Research, Innovation and Technology: A Key to Food and Nutritional Security…..
Prof Vidya said intersection of agriculture, biology, research, innovation, and technology plays a crucial role in ensuring global food and nutritional security. Advances in genetic engineering and biotechnology have led to the development of genetically modified (GM) crops with enhanced resistance to pests, diseases, and adverse environmental conditions. This has increased crop yields and minimized post-harvest losses. Technology-driven precision farming techniques involve the use of sensors, GPS, and data analytics to optimize the use of resources such as water, fertilizers, and pesticides. Utilizing biological agents for pest control, such as deploying natural predators or using biopesticides, helps reduce reliance on chemical pesticides. This minimizes environmental pollution and promotes long-term ecological balance. Integration of IoT in agriculture allows for real-time monitoring of crops, soil conditions, and weather. This data-driven approach enables farmers to make informed decisions, optimize resource use, and enhance overall productivity.
Prof. Suwarna Datar (DIAT, Defense Technologies) on Exploring Career Opportunity in Science and Technology for Defense….
Prof. Suwarna gave the information about Defense Institute and Armament Technology (DIAT) university. She also explained the role of AI in Defense and its utility in sensors, Directed Energy Weapons and Electronic Warfare, Satellites and Pseudo-satellites, Energy Generation etc. To pursue a career in science and technology for defense, consider obtaining relevant degrees in engineering, computer science, physics, materials science, or other related fields. Additionally, gaining experience through internships, collaborating with defense contractors or research institutions, and staying informed about advancements in the field are essential steps.
Prof. Sunil Nair (IISER Pune, Quantum Technologies) on The second Quantum Revolution: Challenges and Opportunities….
Prof. Sunil said, the second quantum revolution refers to the ongoing advancements in the field of quantum science and technology that have the potential to transform various industries and scientific disciplines. This revolution is characterized by the development and application of quantum technologies, such as quantum computing, quantum communication, and quantum sensing. While it holds immense promise, it also presents challenges that need to be addressed for the full realization of its potential.
He also gave the list of QT courses within the country like M.Tech in Quantum Technology at IISc Banglore, IIT Madras, IIT Jodhpur, Dual Degree Course in QT at IIT Bombay and Masters in Quantum Technology at IISER-Pune.
He gave a full list of Quantum technology Market place with trends till 2030 and the involvement of quantum technology in various company activities like sensors, networking and communications, computing hardware, algorithm and applications and facilitating technology. He also stated various job profiles like Engineering, Experimental Scientist, Theorist, Technician, Application Researcher, Sales, Business Developer and Technical support which will emerge in this industry in due course of time.
Prof. S. Sivaram (IISER Pune, Polymer Science and Engineering) on What Must You Learn that They Do not Teach You in the University to Succeed in Career?…
Prof. Sivram said while universities provide a solid foundation for academic knowledge and often technical skills in a specific field, there are several aspects crucial for career success that may not be explicitly taught. He said three pillars of education are critical enquiry, entrepreneurial thinking and ethics, and integrity. He said problems are part of life and facing them is an art of life and one must understand the impact of ethics in three dimensions. His talk focused on ten things that universities do not teach and purpose of science education.
He said one must balance breadth vs depth of knowledge. What are ones interests other than the subject one is currently pursuing. Does one read broadly and what will one do if he cannot pursue what he is doing it at present. One must learn to solve problems rather than find answers to a question. One must learn to connect dots and define problems that need to be solved rather than that can be solved. One must understand the ethical dimensions of science and technology. One must learn Entrepreneurial skills and understand the spirit of collaboration and learning to work in teams. Must develop leadership qualities with interpersonal relationships. One must develop the ability the ability to understand others and learn to take calculative risks. He quoted Swami Vivekanand “Take risks in life; if you win you can lead, if you loose, you may guide. One must develop the art of writing and speaking and understand the importance of context, content and conclusion. Art of story telling is very important in life. Read well-written books to write better and quoted Francis Bacon “Reading maketh a full man, writing an exact man”. He said one must learn to seek mentor and a sponsor and art of teaching. One must understand the relationship between science, technology, public policies and society. It is important to learn to cope with rejections and disappointments and control emotional intelligence.
Prof. Satishchandra Ogale delivered a talk on Powering the Changing World: New Challenges, New Career Opportunities…
Prof. Satishchandra expressed his views on the importance of Industry-Academia-Government nexus. He gave several examples of how research can be done from available resources like using dead neem leaves to high energy density supercapacitors. He also talked about 10 disruptive battery technologies.
He focused on urgent need for sustainable practices that has fueled a global shift towards renewable energy sources. Careers in solar, wind, hydro, and other renewable technologies are at the forefront. Professionals in these fields contribute to creating a more environmentally friendly and resilient energy infrastructure. Careers in artificial intelligence, data science, and automation are in high demand. Technology is not only changing the way we work but also creating entirely new fields, offering opportunities for those with the skills to navigate this ever-expanding digital landscape.
Embracing the shifts in power dynamics and actively pursuing careers aligned with these changes can lead to a fulfilling professional journey. Whether in the realm of renewable energy, technology, global collaboration, or inclusive workplaces, individuals who navigate this landscape with agility and innovation will find themselves at the forefront of shaping the future.