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Indian, S. African Leaders Call For Developing Countries To Work Together, Invest More In Science

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday during the launch of the Third World Academy of Sciences meeting (TWAS) in Hyderabad, India, called for developing countries to place greater emphasis on scientific research and application, the Economic Times reports.

“We need to invest in science. We need to invest in scientific infrastructure – in our schools, in our laboratories. We need to promote an eco-system that rewards innovation, creativity and excellence,” Singh said. “Pointing out that the developing world was constrained by the lack of well-organised systems and critical mass of expertise in its scientific establishments, … Singh underlined the need for collaboration among scientific communities of the developing world,” the news service adds.

“The challenges developing countries face are similar, whether it is in combating tropical diseases, transforming traditional agriculture, or predicting and tackling natural disasters,” Singh said. “These problems of under-development do not receive adequate attention in the advanced industrialized countries. Nor should we expect others to solve our problems for us” (10/19). Singh also noted the role of science in influencing global policy, the Hindu notes (10/20).

Later on Tuesday, a ministerial roundtable discussion was held on opportunities for research collaboration between Africa and India, SciDev.Net reports.

“Unless developing countries come together more regularly ‘we do not have a concrete measure of how our [scientific activity] is advancing’, [South Africa’s minister for science and technology, Naledi] Pandor told” the leaders at the roundtable Tuesday. “Pandor also said that greater links between researchers and policymakers would help developing countries resolve challenges they face, including poverty, disease and environmental degradation,” according to the news service.

Addressing the impact that science students migrating from Africa have on the ability to advance scientific research, Pandor noted South Africa’s focus on “‘attracting scientists of the South to work in countries of the South’ and pursuing links with other developing countries,” according to the news service.

“Current collaboration programmes between South Africa and India include the South Africa–India student exchange, partnerships under the trilateral India–Brazil–South Africa platform, and international science projects such as the Square Kilometer Array project, an international collaboration among 20 countries to build the biggest radio telescope to date,” according to SciDev.Net. Additionally, the article notes, India offers post-graduate scholarships and fellowships to African researchers.

The TWAS meeting will close on Friday (Padma, 10/20).

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