Manu Pubby New Delhi, December 22, 2014 | India Today. in
A few months after India’s premier defence research body DRDO was prodded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to empower younger scientists, the organisation is planning to set up a new laboratory that will only have scientists under the age of 35.
While Modi had said that he wants to see five laboratories headed by scientists under the age of 35, DRDO is making a start by setting up a new lab within the Electronics and Communications Systems (ECS) cluster in Bangalore exclusively for young scientists.
The DRDO is currently scouting for scientists within its ranks under the age of 35 to join the lab and has sent out circulars to all its institutions for suggestions and recommendations. The new laboratory is likely to come up within the campus of the Bangalore-based Electronics and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE).
The new lab will focus on three specific areas – image processing, cognitive radio and waveforms for communication systems, a circular that has been sent to DRDO establishments across the nation says. It is however not clear yet when the new laboratory will be set up and whether it would have a special provision for career progression of young, talented scientists.
As reported by the India Today, the average age of DRDO scientists is creeping closer to 40 and an internal survey had found that most of its entry-level scientists are unhappy about their career prospects. Almost 57 per cent of all scientists who leave the organisation prematurely do so because of lack of professional satisfaction. Since 2008, nearly 500 entry and mid-level scientists have resigned or taken early retirement while intake of new scientists has barely kept pace. The DRDO’s annual intake of young scientists has dipped to 70 per year.
A deep review of the organisation by the Rama Rao Committee in 2008, had identified five labs working in critical fields such as solid state physics, metallurgy, cryptology and lasers for ’empowered’ status in order to give them the liberty to quickly induct young talent, bypassing the cumbersome selection process. The UPA government never fully implemented the recommendation.