Scientific co-operation between India & US seeks to have greater social impact

ATLANTA (TIP): The World Affairs Council of Atlanta and the American India Foundation [AIF] hosted, August 18, Dr. Rajeev Tayal, Executive Director of the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum [IUSSTF] for a breakfast presentation at the City Club of Buckhead in Atlanta. Set against the backdrop of the ever-increasing science and technology co-operation between India and the United States, Dr. Tayal delved into a range of issues including the start-up climate in India, the innovation landscape and how IUSSTF is striving to be an enabler of new ideas. In a Q&A format with Ambassador Charles Shapiro, World Affairs Council President, Dr. Tayal discussed how targeted investments can have a societal impact in India, the United States and beyond.

Dr. Tayal highlighted the success of the Forum saying, “We have been able to connect about 25,000 scientists on both sides. This bridging has been one of our biggest successes. Half a dozen products have just reached the market.”  He added,” “We are good value for money. We take care of educational and research activities, support bilateral workshops. Both parties (US & India) deliberate on scientific issues. We support virtual centers which provide unique opportunities for people to work and collaborate together.”

India’s Consul-General Nagesh Singh who was present on the occasion said, “There are nearly 50 tracks of dialogue happening across the two countries. There is a greater acceptance of the importance of knowledge-sharing on both sides as we see scientists working at key research institutions. We are pleased to host Dr. Tayal in Atlanta and put the spotlight on the niche areas that IUSSTF is working on to strengthen the science and technology partnership between the two countries.”

IUSSTF is a nodal agency established under an agreement between the Governments of India and the United States, is an autonomous, not for profit society in India, co-funded and co-governed by both the governments. Dr. Tayal pointed out that, “Although there are several other bi-lateral arrangements similar to this, the India-US engagement has been the most vibrant. We support the last-mile coverage of the R&D value chain.”  He quoted examples of medical devices to address several health issues like diabetes, and a low-cost knee joint that is a collaborative effort between Stanford University and a hospital in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. IUSSTF does not patent these innovations nor control the intellectual property and leaves it to the innovators.

Chair of the AIF Atlanta Chapter Dr. Amitabh Sharma welcomed the gathering highlighting the role of AIF in nurturing an environment of collaboration and shared learning especially in the context of addressing the larger social issues of access to education, public health and skilling young people.

Other key people in attendance included Tarun Mohindra, Counsellor, Science and Technology, Embassy of India, Georgia Tech Professor Suman Das, Arun Rai from Georgia State University and Shailesh Patel from the Chugh Firm.