I was browsing through Amazon.com for some book and landed into this book named “Why do men have nipples?”. As it got my curiosity ticking, I googled up several pages and found out the reason. Apparently, every human is bisexual till the 23rd chromosome kicks in and gates the gender part of humans. So, till that time, humans develop both sorts of organs only to be left inactive at a later point of time. Anyway, it makes for a good reading and you will discover some very interesting facts. As I was researching, it occured to me that my research was not bound by time or deadline. It was my innate curiosity to find the unknown. It led me to think about this topic that i have always pondered about. Can research be quantified in terms of deadlines and funding?
I was talking to Shoba’s sister today (a professor) and she told me that, the enrollment of PhD candidates in IITs and IISc are diminishing. People dont want to do research anymore. Obviously, the compensation plays a big role. An entry level professor/lecturer gets around Rs 7000, while an IT company pays around Rs 23,000 or more. And, the growth prospects of being in the academic field is not very colorful either. That being said about the Indian academia, I think globally, research is taking a new dimension these days. With the advent in technology, a lot of research areas these days need money. And, money is pumped to those companies who can build a product that could be marketed in someway in the foreseeable future. In other words, if you dont show a promise for a breakthrough, nobody is going to invest in the company. In a way, research is no longer about throwing darts in a random cloud. This is good from the point of view that research folks are forced to focus and are responsible of outcomes. But, it is bad from the point of view that, venturing into unknowns are becoming very limited. Above all, this creates a big gap between the academia who usually share technologies for the betterment of all the researchers and hence, greater technologies could be extended out of already existing ideas.
I think there has to be a paradigm shift in the way research is being looked at. Evolution cannot be quantified. Breakthroughs cannot be quantified. So, trying to quantify research in the confinements of market and money will have a huge impact in the future. For any country to be a global force in terms of innovation and technology, they will have to spend their money in incubating researchers to work on such technologies. The “number of engineers” theory that many are going after by itself is not going to yield greater results on a longer term. Time will only answer how this research environment will unfold itself in the future.