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AAAS Visit to India: Emerging Power in Science and Technology

A delegation from AAAS traveled to India to take part in a number of events and learn more about India’s research & development (R&D) ecosystem from Jan. 16–22. The group was led by Dr. Sudip Parikh, CEO of AAAS and executive publisher of the Science family of journals, and included Andrew Black, AAAS chief of staff and chief public affairs officer, and Dr. Kim Montgomery, AAAS director of international affairs and science diplomacy.

The trip included stops in Delhi and Pune where the delegation participated in the 2024 India Science Festival and the India International Science Festival 2023, as well as had meetings with the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India Professor Ajay Sood, the Indian National Science Academy, and the Atal Innovation Mission. Though not a full recap of the trip, some highlights from the visit are outlined below.

 

1. The 2024 India Science Festival 

Sudip Parikh speaking at India Science Festival

 

The delegation was thrilled to attend and participate in the 2024 India Science Festival, which was held Jan. 20-21 in Pune, India. Parikh gave a presentation in Pune titled “Discovering Futures: Navigating Varied Paths in Science” and moderated a session at a pre-festival event in Delhi on Jan. 17. 

The festival was a fantastic opportunity to connect with Indian science and science policy leaders as well as engage with vibrant and motivated young science, technology, engineering and mathematics students.

 

2. Meeting with Professor Ajay Sood

Andrew Black, Sudip Parikh, Professor Ajay Sood and Kim Montgomery
From left to right: Andrew Black, Sudip Parikh, Professor Ajay Sood and Kim Montgomery

While in Delhi, the delegation had the privilege of meeting with Professor Ajay Sood, principal scientific adviser to the Government of India. It was an insightful meeting that allowed the group to learn about recent developments in India’s R&D priorities and hear more about the formation of an Indian National Research Foundation. The meeting was also a chance to discuss the important role of scientific advice and potential paths of collaboration between AAAS and Indian scientific and science policy communities.

 

3. The India International Science Festival 2023

India International Science Festival banner

 

The delegation also attended the India International Science Festival 2023, which took place just outside of Delhi, in Haryana, from Jan. 17–21. It was a pleasure to take part in this festival, which focuses on commemorating the successes of science and making science more accessible to the public.

A highlight of this festival was seeing the Student Science Village, an initiative that encourages student involvement in STEM subjects with fun and interactive activities, including hands-on experiments and interactions with scientists. It was wonderful to see so many young students from all around India participating.

 

4. Meeting with Indian National Science Academy

Kim Montgomery, Brajesh Pandey, Sudip Parikh, Ashutosh Sharma and Andrew Black
From left to right: Kim Montgomery, Brajesh Pandey, Sudip Parikh, Ashutosh Sharma and Andrew Black

On the heels of the India International Science Festival, the delegation from AAAS was also excited to meet with leadership of the Indian National Science Academy: INSA President Professor Ashutosh Sharma and INSA Executive Director Dr. Brajesh Pandey. The discussion touched on several topics, including India’s future R&D investment priorities, scientific publishing and the role of national scientific academies in global networks.

 

5. Meeting with the Atal Innovation Mission

Atal Innovation Mission logo
Credit: Atal Innovation Mission

 

The group from AAAS was pleased to meet with Dr. Chintan Vaishnav, mission director, and Mr. Joshi Himanshu, program director of the Atal Innovation Mission. AIM is a flagship initiative by the Government of India developed in 2016 to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across various sectors in India. This meeting was an opportunity to hear more about the country’s priorities in science and technology and AIM’s priorities and recent activities.

 

Acknowledgements

While this piece highlights some key activities that took place during this visit to India, it is by no means a comprehensive list. The delegation from AAAS is grateful to all who took time out of their busy schedules to meet with us and are very thankful to everyone who so kindly hosted us.

 

Authors

Kimberly Montgomery

Director, International Affairs and Science Diplomacy

Katie Garner

Program Coordinator for International Affairs and Science Diplomacy

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