Goverdhan Mehta Director, Indian Institute of Science



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  • Goverdhan Mehta

  • Director, Indian Institute of Science

  • Co-Chair, InterAcademy Council

  • Past President–Indian National Science Academy (INSA)
















The Dignity of Work





Growing inequalities

  • Knowledge Divide





Rising Inequities

  • Inequities are rising within and between countries

  • Assets of world’s 3 richest people exceed combined GDP of poorest 48 countries

  • 1.2 billion people living on less than $1 a day and 2.8 billion on less than $2 a day (1998)



Industrialized nations vs Less Developed Countries (LDCs)





Knowledge “have nots”



Asymmetry in scientific spending vs incomes

  • Income = 60 times (OECD:LIE)

  • Research = 250 times (OECD:LIE)









Bend the Curves



Among the many challenges of the global knowledge divide, the growing S&T gap between North and South is the most important









Inventing the Future

  • Urgent Need for

  • S & T Capacity Building for transition to the knowledge society

  • Recognize it as a worldwide challenge



S & T Capacity Building-The Road Ahead

  • Need for a global perspective and commitment- harmonize with local contexts

  • Rethink by global institutions that deal with scientific knowledge

  • New understanding of south--talent is all pervasive, access & opportunity are not

  • Practical, pragmatic strategies





10,000 years ago………….. “Let Knowledge come from all sides” -Rig Veda



Clusters of Action points

  • Human Resources-New paradigms in science education

  • Universal scientific and technical literacy

  • Science, its values and Societal engagement

  • Institutions, infrastructure and networks

  • Information access-particularly to scientific journals

  • Public/Private partnerships

  • Policy issues - national and international















  • Origin of IAC

  • Established in 2001 and supported by the world’s leading academies of sciences

  • [Inter Academy Panel, IAP, ~90 academies ]

  • Purpose of IAC

  • Mobilizing the world’s best science for a better tomorrow.



  • Executive Board

  • Academies of Science from Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States; and the Third World Academy of Sciences

  • Co-Chairs

  • Bruce Alberts, President, National Academy of Sciences

  • Goverdhan Mehta, Past President, Indian National Science Academy

  • Observers

  • International Council for Science, ICSU;

  • InterAcademy Panel (IAP) ; and

  • The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences



  • Modus operandi

  • Project-by-project studies, sponsor-initiated

  • Transparent Process

  • Independence

  • Study panels established through broad consultations (IAP Academies)

  • Composition of panels approved by IAC Board

  • Merit-based

  • Draft reports subject to intensive peer review

  • Released after approval by the IAC Board



First study:

  • First study:

  • Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology.

  • (Expected release Dec 2003, Mexico City)

  • Second study:

  • Science and Technology for Improving Agricultural Productivity in Africa

  • (Expected completion Jan 2004)

  • Third study initiated:

  • Towards Transitions to Sustainable Energy Systems

  • (under implementation)



  • Activities Planned

  • Gender Issues in Science & Technology

  • Use of Internet for Distance Education in S & T

  • Science and Technology in Preserving World Heritage Sites (UNESCO)



“ Today, the Third World is only slowly waking up to the realization that in the final analysis, creation, mastery and utilization of modern science and technology is basically what distinguishes the South from the North. On S &T depend the standards of living of a nation” - Prof. Abdus Salam Founder TWAS



Thank You

  • Thank You





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