Sixteenth Raja Ramanna Memorial Lecture-Prof. Deepak Pental will speak on "R&D and National Prosperity”

National Institute of Advanced Studies

Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bengaluru 560 012



  You are cordially invited to the


Sixteenth Raja Ramanna Memorial Lecture

(via Teams Meeting)




“R&D and National Prosperity”




Prof. Deepak Pental

Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Delhi

Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants, University of Delhi


on Wednesday8 September 2021 at 4.00 PM


Chairperson: Prof. Anindya Sinha, Animal Behaviour and Cognition Programme, NIAS


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Abstract: No country has been prosperous without engaging strongly with R&D. India has the ambition of defeating poverty and be counted amongst the developed countries of the world. Is the country making enough efforts in R&D and its endgame – production and manufacturing to realise the two big ambitions? I recently wrote a Perspective article on the role of R&D in agriculture for a low-input, high-output production system (published in Dialogue A broad conclusion was that, barring some exceptions, we are neither generating enough new knowledge nor using the knowledge spill-overs efficiently. What bedevils agricultural R&D seems to be happening to the other areas also. Since 2010, India has been spending only around 0.7 percent of its GDP on R&D, substantially lower than the GDP percentage spent by the Western and East Asian countries. The number of institutions and universities has grown, the number of doctoral students has increased; however, the R&D expenditure as a percentage of GDP remains stagnant. Several reforms are essential. First and foremost, the country needs to increase the percentage of GDP spent on R&D, with enhanced contributions from the public and private sectors, to 2.5% of the GDP. An important consideration should be to improve the competency level of doctoral students. Post-doctoral work within the country and abroad needs to be encouraged with enhanced fellowships. The competitive grant system for R&D needs to be strengthened to allow the Principal Investigators more freedom to operate their projects. A new cadre of National Professors should be created to keep outstanding scientists engaged with R&D for their working lifetime. Our academies need to play a major role in convincing the government and the public at large on the centrality of R&D and manufacturing for achieving national prosperity


About the Speaker: Deepak Pental with colleagues and doctoral students has worked on the breeding of oilseed mustard and cotton for the last thirty years. His group's work has led to significant breakthroughs in mustard breeding for higher yield, better oil and meal quality, and disease resistance. He has published around 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals that have received more than 3000 citations. Deepak Pental studied at Panjab University for his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees, received his doctoral degree from Rutgers University, and did post-doctoral research work at the University of Nottingham. Since 1993 he has been associated with the University of Delhi. After his superannuation as Professor of Genetics, he continues to work at the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants in the University. He is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences, and Indian National Science Academy, and has received many awards which include – O. P. Bhasin Award for Research in Agriculture-2008, FICCI Award for Innovative R&D in Life Sciences-2010, Lifetime Achievement Award in Agriculture by Mahindra and Mahindra Foundation- 2018. He was a recipient of the J. C. Bose National Fellowship from DST from 2009 to 2019 and was a CSIR-Distinguished Scientist from 2017 to 2020. Deepak Pental has written extensively on reforms in higher education and agriculture and supported the use of new plant breeding technologies to provide a better deal to the farmers of India. From 2005 to 2010 he served as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi.


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For further information, please contact Dr. M B Rajani <>  


Wednesday, September 8, 2021