Thursday, September 30, 2010

Workshop on Towards a Knowledge Economy

Workshop on Towards a Knowledge Economy

Dates: 18-20 November 2010

Venue: International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi

Organized by Centre for Management of Innovation and Technology (CMIT), IMI, New Delhi

Supported by Department of Information Technology, GoI & Project on National Competitiveness in the Knowledge Economy

Workshop Objectives
The Workshop will discuss issues and recommendations relating to the following topics:
  • Mapping the directions of transition from industrial economy to knowledge economy.
  • Developing strategies of change management for transformation from industrial age to information age.
  • Identifying new knowledge streams/ disciplines likely to emerge in the evolving knowledge economy and suggesting specialized courses to help meet manpower requirements of the knowledge economy.
  • Generating deeper understanding, among key stakeholders, of the scope and significance of Knowledge, Technology, R&D and Innovation management for the emerging knowledge economy, and developing model course curricula for adoption by other knowledge institutions.
  • Anticipating trends and identifying issues for formulating policy initiatives.
  • Creating a network of knowledge institutions.
  • Promoting the use of Knowledge Management as a tool for securing larger good of the society.

For pursuing its objectives, the Workshop will structure its discussions as follows:
  • Recommendations for use by the government as input for making necessary policies and programs for the Knowledge Economy.
  • A template for collaborative and cooperative synergy amongst Industry-Academia-Government-Society for realizing a knowledge economy.
  • Identification of new streams/disciplines for the emerging knowledge economy.
  • Short-courses / MDPS in Knowledge Technology R&D and Innovation Management for key decision makers.
The Workshop will be conducted in an interactive mode through a mix of presentations and discussions. Eminent experts from academia, business & industry, industry associations, government, NGOs and international agencies are being invited to write and submit discussion notes/concept papers/thought papers/research papers for sharing their expertise and perceptions. In each technical session, a Discussant will present a composite summary of all the notes and papers pertaining to that session. The subject will then be thrown open for discussion by the participants. In order that the sessions should lead to draft recommendations, the technical sessions will focus on discussing recommendations rather than individual papers. Towards the end, sessions will be devoted to formulation and finalization of recommendations.

Target Group
Participation is invited from those who have been working on knowledge related issues and hope to contribute meaningfully to the discussions. They are expected to be working in the government/government bodies, educational and research institutions, public/ private sector units, voluntary agencies/ NGOs and other relevant organizations.

Participation Arrangements
There is no participation fee. Participants are expected to report at the venue half an hour before the commencement of the Workshop on the first day and attend all the sessions up to the close of working hours on the final day.

Nominations for Participation
Nominations for intending participants should be sent by their heads of divisions/ departments/ organizations by post as also by e-mail so as to reach latest by 29 October 2010, giving the following particulars:
  • Name of the nominee
  • Designation, division/department and organization
  • Office address
  • Phone number
  • Residential address and Phone number
  • Email ID

Nominations should be addressed to:
Mr. S.N. Zindal
Project Consultant (CMIT)
International Management Institute
B-10 Qutab Institutional Area
New Delhi 110016
Email: snzindal[at], Phone: 09810040160/ 011-46013050

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quality Over Quantity: How Many Universities India Has is Less Important than How Good They Are

Quality Over Quantity: How Many Universities India Has is Less Important than How Good They Are

Bhaskar Dutta

The QS ranking of world universities was released recently. Like all such rankings,this one too has many critics who question its methodology and hence the accuracy of its ranking.But Indian universities and educational institutions fare far too badly for this to be attributed to faulty methodology.The highest-ranked Indian institution is IIT Mumbai, with a rank of 187 in the world. What is perhaps more disheartening is that 35 other Asian institutions have been ranked above it.Clearly,we are falling far behind even countries like South Korea,Thailand,Malaysia and,of course,China and Japan in higher education.
Why should we care whether we have a world-class university when we do not have enough primary schools and inadequate healthcare facilities This may well be the reaction of large numbers of Indians,who view top-quality higher educational institutions as a luxury good that cannot be afforded by developing countries.Unfortunately,this is an extremely myopic view.The absence of Harvards and Cambridges in India has resulted in gigantic outflows of the best Indian students leaving the country to study abroad.In fact,sometimes i feel that i hear more students speaking in Hindi on the University of Warwick campus than,for instance,in the Delhi School of Economics!
This migration would not have mattered if it had been temporary.It is not an overwhelming fraction of Indians who go abroad to study do not return to India.The sheer magnitude of the brain drain from India is mind-boggling.India does benefit from their presence abroad through remittances and goodwill earned overseas.But we suffer a far bigger loss because the direct benefits of their skills as managers,doctors,innovators and researchers accrue to the countries where they reside.
The UPA government started its second innings with the promise to build several world-class universities.We have not yet been told how it intends to keep its promise although half its term is over.Perhaps,the government believes that all it has to do is construct some new buildings and the rest will follow.But what we actually need is a dramatically new approach.
The strategy followed so far in developing higher education in India has been to gradually increase the number of universities,all of them with roughly the same scale of facilities.This emphasis on quantity has had a deplorable effect on quality because resources have been spread too thinly.Even the most well-funded university or research institute in India receives no more than a fraction of the funds available to comparable institutions in several Asian countries.
Consider,for example,the salaries on offer in Indian universities.Despite the quite large increase in salaries after the last pay commission report,university salaries remain grossly inadequate compared to remunerations available elsewhere.A bright young researcher who,after finishing a PhD abroad,has just received an assistant professorship in any North American university would have to attach an exceedingly high premium to the intangible joys of working back home in order to actually return to India.
Is it surprising then that even leading universities and research institutes find it impossible to reverse the brain drain Similarly,a comparison of salaries in the corporate world with those in academia explains why increasingly large numbers of bright students opt for a career in the private sector instead of entering academia.
Of course,salaries are just one component of what young researchers look for when they evaluate alternative job offers.Although the internet,skype and e-mail have made the world a smaller place,it is imperative for young academics to have generous research grants so as to be able to travel abroad to attend conferences and workshops,to collaborate with foreign co-authors.Experimental scientists need state-of-the art laboratories.Which Indian university offers these facilities. So,the financial requirements of world-class universities are very large.This means that the only feasible option is to discard the current policy of uniformity same salary scale,same rules regarding travel grants,etc,across all universities.Instead,the government should build perhaps three or four universities with research facilities and salaries comparable to the best in Asia.Moreover,these universities must be truly autonomous institutions.And they must be completely free from the draconian formulaic regime imposed by the UGC in particular and the government in general.For example,imagine that Harvard wants to hire an outstanding young academic as an associate professor,but is unable to do so because the person has not completed eight years after his PhD!
Ideally,these universities should have both undergraduate and graduate programmes.Moreover,the size of the undergraduate programme should be sufficiently small so that the entire teaching is done by the graduate faculty instead of being farmed out to affiliated colleges.This practice,which has also been advocated by the vice-chancellor of Delhi University in a recent newspaper article, will improve the quality of undergraduate teaching dramatically.
Of course,this will mean inequality in the education sector both in terms of the quality of teaching available to students as well as the remuneration package available to faculty.This will inevitably attract the charge of elitism.Unfortunately,this is the additional price which has to be paid for setting up world-class universities!

The writer is professor, University of Warwick.

Source: Times of India, 21 September 2010

Gambling with Science by Daniel Lyons

Friends Without Benefits: The sad truth about Facebook

by Daniel Lyons

From focusing on hard science, today the Silicon Valley has become a casino, a place where smart kids arrive hoping to make an easy fortune.

The people who run Facebook, the social-networking company, are furious about a new movie that takes lots of liberties in its depiction of how Facebook came into existence. They're upset because much of The Social Network, which opens Oct. 1, is just completely made up. That's fair enough. But to me, the really interesting thing about this movie is that while much of the tale is invented, the story tells a larger truth about Silicon Valley's get-rich-quick culture and the kind of people—like Facebook's 26-year-old founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg—who thrive in this environment.
The Valley used to be a place run by scientists and engineers, people like Robert Noyce, the Ph.D. physicist who helped invent the integrated circuit and cofounded Intel. The Valley, in those days, was focused on hard science and making things. At first there were semiconductors, which is how Silicon Valley got its name; then came computers and software. But now the Valley has become a casino, a place where smart kids arrive hoping to make an easy fortune building companies that seem, if not pointless, at least not as serious as, say, old-guard companies like HP, Intel, Cisco, and Apple.
The three hottest tech companies today are Facebook, Twitter, and Zynga. What, exactly, do they do? Facebook lets you keep in touch with your friends; for this profound service to mankind it will generate about $1.5 billion in revenue this year by bombarding its 500 million members with ads. Twitter is a noisy circus of spats and celebrity watching, and its hapless founders still can't figure out how to make money. That hasn't stopped venture capitalists from funding dozens of companies that make little apps that work with Twitter, just as they're also funding countless companies that make apps for Apple's iPhone, and just as, a few years ago, they were all funding companies that made applications to run on Facebook. Zynga, the biggest of those Facebook app-makers, reportedly will rake in $500 million this year by getting people addicted to cheesy games like Farmville and Mafia Wars, then selling "virtual goods" to use inside the games.
Meanwhile, among some longtime techies, there's a sense that something important has been lost.
"The old Silicon Valley was about solving really hard problems, making technical bets. But there's no real technical bet being made with Facebook or Zynga," says Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft who now runs an invention lab in Seattle. "Today almost everyone in the Valley will tell you there is too much ‘me-tooism,' too much looking for a gold rush and not enough people who are looking to solve really hard problems."
Sure, there are still entrepreneurs and investors chasing serious technology challenges in the Valley. And Myhrvold says he means no disrespect to Facebook and Zynga, which have had clever ideas and are making loads of money.
"What bothers me is the zillions of wannabes who will follow along, and the expectation that every company ought to be focused on doing really short-term, easy things to achieve giant paydays. I think that's unrealistic, and it's not healthy," Myhrvold says.
His company, Intellectual Ventures, intentionally runs counter to the prevailing trend in Silicon Valley. The only problems it tries to solve are ones that seem overwhelmingly difficult. These include creating a new kind of nuclear reactor and developing technologies that could address climate change and eradicate malaria.
Myhrvold doesn't have problems raising money. He made a fortune at Microsoft and is a close friend of Bill Gates. But he worries about "the unknown engineers and professors who have good ideas. Are those people going to get funded or will they be talked out of it and told they should do something like Zynga, because virtual goods is where it's at these days?"
The risk is that by focusing an entire generation of bright young entrepreneurs on such silly things, we'll fall behind in creating the fundamental building blocks of our economy. The transistor and the integrated circuit gave rise to the last half century of prosperity. But what comes next? "If we distract people with the lure of easy money, with making companies that don't solve anything hard, we're going to wind up derailing the thing that has been driving our economy," Myhrvold says.
We've already fallen behind in areas like alternative energy, better batteries, and nanotechnology. Instead of racing to catch up, we're buying seeds and garden gnomes on Facebook. This won't end well.

Daniel Lyons is also the author of Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs and Dog Days: A Novel.

Source: The Newsweek

Training Program on "Interfacing Social Sciences with Management Education"

Training Program on "Interfacing Social Sciences with Management Education"
Dates: 20-22 October 2010
Venue: International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi
Organized by Centre for Management of Innovation and Technology (CMIT), IMI
Sponsored by Technology Management Programme Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, GoI

The Centre for Management of Innovation and Technology (CMIT) of the International Management Institute (IMI), New Delhi is organizing a Training Program on "Interfacing Social Sciences with Management Education". An Announcement Brochure of the Program outlining its objectives, contents and methodology is now available.
The three-day program is proposed to be organized from 20-22 October, 2010 at the International Management Institute, New Delhi. Financial assistance for organizing the Program is being extended by the Technology Management Programme Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India.
The need for providing better understanding of social sciences in management education and integrating social sciences seamlessly with management education cannot be overemphasized. If this is to happen the agents of change will be teachers of management and indeed social scientists who are fully sensitized to the issues of social sciences as they impinge on the preparation of managers and can bring about needed curriculum changes, without, of course, compromising on the management content. The purpose of the program is to develop awareness and sensitizing teachers of management programs to a host of issues relating to society so as to enable them to make curriculum changes and implement them.
An research or higher education institution can nominate a senior functionary of their respective organization to participate in the Training Program. Organizers shall appreciate the contribution of their representative in presenting the perspective on the subject from the point of view of their organization in various sessions. There is no fee payable for participation. However, due to financial constraints, Organizers are unable to offer financial assistance to participants for travel, stay and related costs.
Last date for sending nomination is 11 October 2010.

Program Brochure and Nomination Form can be obtained from Ms. Mamta Bhatnagar.

Seeking Suggestions/Views on the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research Bill, 2010

Department-Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment and Forests Invites Suggestions/Views on the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research Bill, 2010

  1. The Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research Bill, 2010, as introduced and pending in Lok Sabha has been referred to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment and Forests headed by Dr. T. Subbarami Reddy, M.P. (Rajya Sabha), for examination and report.
  2. The Bill seeks to establish an Academy for furtherance of the advancement of learning and promotion of research in the field of science and technology in association with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and to declare the institution known as the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research, to be an institution of national importance, and to provide for its incorporation and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Academy is proposed to be set up for substantially increasing the number of researchers in integrative and inter-disciplinary areas of science and engineering in a cost effective manner without requirement of any significant gestation period and additional funds from the Government.
  3. In order to have wider consultations, the Committee has decided to invite memoranda containing suggestions/views/comments of experts/ institutions/organizations interested in the subject matter of the Bill.
  4. Those desirous of submitting memoranda to the Committee may send their written comments/ suggestions either in English or Hindi to Shri V.S.P. Singh, Joint Director, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Room No. 142, First Floo/; Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi-110001, [Tel: 23035411(0), Fax No.: 011-23013917, 011-23011245, email: rsc-st[at] within 15 days from the date of publication of this advertisement. Those who are willing to appear before the Committee for oral evidence besides submitting the memoranda may indicate so. However, the Committee's decision in this regard shall be final.
  5. The memoranda submitted to the Committee, would form part of the records of the Committee and would be treated as confidential and would enjoy privileges of the Committee.
  6. The Bill has been published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary Part II, Section 2, dated the 30th July, 2010. Copies of the Bill may be obtained on written request from the Assistant Director (S&T) , Rajya Sabha Secretariat Cabin 'F', Committee Complex, Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi-11 0001, or can be downloaded from the official website of the Rajya Sabha (httg:// under the heading 'Bills with the Committee'.

Website: Email: rsc-st[at]

Parliament of India || Rajya Sabha Secretariat davp 31202/11/0019/1011

Download Draft Bill

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Conference on Digital Archiving of Community Knowledge

Conference on Digital Archiving of Community Knowledge

Organized by Centre for Community Knowledge, Ambedkar University, Delhi

15-18 December 2010

The conference will deliberate on systems and methods of collecting, documenting and applying Knowledge located and embedded in people and communities. Such knowledge is location and context specific and grows in the processes of its acquisition, use and dissemination by members of the community in changing social, political, cultural and economic contexts.
The challenge is to archive such knowledge, usually oral, in a form that can link to acquisition, use and dissemination in modes compatible with formal, academic, multi-disciplinary and institutional processes. Effort must be made to ensure that such archives are available to the communities concerned to enable them to enrich their own repositories of knowledge.
The conference is being organized in collaboration with the World Oral Literatures Project, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge UK.
In the context of the conference, what we refer to as Community Knowledge has also been called Traditional Knowledge, Oral Knowledge, Grass-roots Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, etc. The areas covered under this rubric include:
  • Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of cultural heritage
  • Performing arts, such as traditional music, dance and theater
  • Social practices, rituals and festive events
  • Knowledge and practices concerning life, nature and the universe
  • Plastic Arts and Traditional craftsmanship.
The Conference will be of interest to:
  • The Communities concerned who wish to document such knowledge
  • Field workers who collect such knowledge
  • System designers engaged in database management, who can contribute to an open-source design solution, catering to large quantities of video and audio data, in addition to images and documents.
  • Scholars and researchers interested in linking their disciplinary knowledge with oral community knowledge.
Digital archiving entails discussion on a matrix of three linked aspects:
  1. Data and Information Collection: What and how to document – who decides?
  2. Documentation/ Archiving: Design parameters of MIS (storage and retrieval); Classification and Codification; Open Source Technology Platforms.
  3. Users of Archives: Researchers, Scholars, Policy makers and the Communities concerned. They would suggest Retrieval Taxonomy/ Thematic aggregations and the level of detail expected from the Archives.
The Conference will be conducted in an interactive mode following presentations by Keynote speakers like Dr Mark Turin of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, and Dr Kim Fortun of the Department of Science and Technology Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, New York.
If you are interested in attending the conference, please submit a short statement of interest (300 words) and a brief CV to Akha Mao (kaihriimao[at] by 30 September 2010. Invitations to attend the Conference will be despatched by 15 October 2010.
The language of the Conference will be English.

Friday, September 10, 2010

oikos Winter School 2010 ...beyond sustainability: A Critical Dialogue Between Culture and Economics

oikos Winter School 2010: ... beyond sustainability: A Critical Dialogue Between Culture and Economics

A student conference going beyond the surface of sustainable development in economics, culture and politics.

Venue: University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany

Dates: 7-13 November 2010

What's it all about?
Between November 7th and 13th 2010 the oikos Winter School welcomes 25-30 highly engaged students and young professionals from all over the world on the beautiful campus of Witten/Herdecke University situated in the heart of Europe's capital of culture 'Ruhr 2010'.
The Winter School 2010 aims to provide a platform to enter into a critical dialogue between culture and economics allowing new perspectives on sustainability that are not merely an add-on, but a cultural process in and between different societies.
In a week full of reflection, boosting inspiration and forward-thriving action our participants will gain a deeper, more critical and sustainable perception of the world that will enable them to act as circulators and change agents for sustainable development in economics and culture.
A constituent part of the Winter School will be the conveyance of practical skills to create and implement participant's sustainable project ideas as well as a methodological approach to art as a way towards new and innovative ideas.

You can apply for the oikos Winter School 2010 until the 1st of October 2010.