Minutes of the Seminar on “Impact of R&D on National Development” jointly organized by CARES and BCSIR on October 8, 2013

Minutes of the Seminar on “Impact of R&D on National Development”  jointly organized by CARES and BCSIR on October 8, 2013

GNOBB owes to Mr. Manjoor Rahim, Director CARES for the minutes of the seminar  (organized jointly by BCSIR and CARES). Inadvertently, the name of Professor Zeba  Seraj was attributed instead. GNOBB offers an unqualified apology for the mistake.

Dhaka the 20th October, 2013. A Seminar with the theme “Impact of R&D on National Development” was held in the BCSIR auditorium on 8th  October, 2013. The Seminar was attended by some 200 participants from the BCSIR, several members of CARES and academics from various institutions. The Seminar was structured into three sessions, an opening session, the keynote address by Professor Samir Kumar Brahmachari, Director General of CSIR, India who is also the Secretary of DSIR, and the concluding session with a presentation from the BCSIR. Session-wise the summary is given below:

Opening Session: Chaired by Professor Ahmad Ismail Mustafa, the session was addressed by CARES Chairman, Dr. A. Majeed Khan, Professor Md. Rafiqul Hoque, Vice Chancellor of BAU, Dr. Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, Secretary M/O Science and Technology and  the Chief Guest Architect, Yeafesh Osman, the Hon’ble State Minister of Science and Technology and Dr. Atiur Rahman, the Governor of Bangladesh Bank.

Welcoming the guests and participants, Professor Mustafa stressed the importance of R&D and its commercialization, stating that the country needs a technology platform and such a platform could be provided by the BCSIR. He further stated that CARES and BCSIR had joined hands and was addressing all stakeholders to advance science and technology for the benefit of the country. He stated that the Government was committed to promotion of science and had drawn up a National Science Policy 2011. It is creating the necessary environment in the BCSIR. One state-of-art Laboratory had been set up (DRICM) in 2012 and another coming up in Sylhet soon. Drawing attention to the scientists of the BCSIR, he said that by extending the retirement age to 67 for BCSIR scientists, it is now time to work and contribute more to the nation. The government is committed, the Hon’ble Minister is supportive, now it is time to bring qualitative change in the organization, BCSIR Chairman added. All have to give their best and impact factor has to be assessed. Referring to the CSIR, India’s work in both low-tech and high-tech fields which have been able to provide technology platform for India  and have been helping the path of development and knowledge, he stated that Bangladesh would like to learn from the experiences of other countries, and in particular from neighbors. The BCSIR Chairman stated that Professor Brahmachari’s presence had laid the ground for building the bridge between his organization and the BCSIR for future substantive work for mutual benefit.

CARES Chairman, Dr. A. Majeed Khan began by saying that he believed in friendship. He recounted to BCSIR’s founding in 1955 through the efforts of Dr. Qudrat–i-Khuda, its subsequent growth, its rich human and facility resources. He then mentioned the Bangladesh Agricultural University, terming it as the largest science and learning institute in Bangladesh. He added that utilizing the two institutions optimally, a technology platform for Bangladesh could be developed. Dr. Khan stated that CARES believes in ethos: science-industry-commerce linkage. He then gave a brief account of the genesis of CARES, its vision and catalyst work undertaken. He stated that “we can play in the game in the fields of science and technology-research, extension and services –  promoting targeted research to improve quality of life”. He thanked the BCSIR and the Hon’ble State Minister for joining his efforts for marriage between science and commerce with a view to “reaching out to every single person”. He quoted from Dr. Brahmachri’s conversation with him the previous evening when the latter had mentioned that the strength of a country today is not measured by the number or type of weapons it had, but by knowledge base. He concluded by pointing to the BCSIR scientists that “you are on a pledge to build a technology platform for Bangladesh from here”.

The Vice Chancellor of BAU Professor Mr. Rafiqul Hoque stated that the problem in the field of  research is  absence of follow-up. He stated that dedicated research is needed for climate change adaptations and for feeding the 160 million population. He added that BAU have more than 200 research programs and more than 1000 ongoing research projects. What is needed now is how to get these adopted, extended and accepted. “Action for research and research for action are the needs of the time”. He commented that international collaboration for research is valuable.  On behalf of BAU, he pledged to work with relevant institutions to build a united platform for science and research – crucial to face the growing challenges of the time. [Courtesy Prof. Zeba I. Seraj at the Plant Breeding Lab under her management.]

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