PM dedicates five DRDO Young Scientists Labs to nation

PM dedicates five DRDO Young Scientists Labs to nation

Bengaluru: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches as many as five Defence Research and Development (DRDO) young scientists laboratories during his two-day visit to Karnataka

In a move to accelerate research at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday dedicated five new labs to the nation. The prime minister expressed confidence that the labs will give wings to thoughts and actions of young scientists.

The DRDO Young Scientist Laboratories (DYSLs) are expected to carve new frontiers in advanced technologies and smart materials to enable the development of futuristic defence systems.

The lab in Bengaluru is set to concentrate on Artificial Intelligence. The other four labs are located in Kolkata (focusing on asymmetric technologies), in IIT Chennai (cognitive technologies), in IIT Mumbai (quantum technologies)
and in Hyderabad (smart materials).

Dr G Sateesh Reddy, the Chairman of DRDO, clarified that all five labs are already operational since April 2019. When asked about the nature of the lab in Bengaluru, which is focusing on Artificial Intelligence, a DRDO spokesperson clarified that: “The advances which will be made in the lab will be applicable across all realms of the military - land, air, sea and space.”

During his address on Thursday, Modi described DRDO as being a powerhouse of scientific intellect. “The best scientific minds of the country are in DRDO today. The achievements of DRDO are innumerable,” he said, adding that this decade is critically important for New India. 

“This decade will decide India’s strength and global position. This decade is for the youth and innovators who are born or have attained youth in the 21st century,” he said.

The young scientists labs were realised after five years of his announcements on 24 August 2014, when during a DRDO award function, he had asked the organisation to empower the youth by giving them decision-making powers and challenging research opportunities.

Brain drain at DRDO

The move is also part of an effort to retain talent. Most entry-level scientists in DRDO are said to be unhappy about their career prospects. Almost 57% of all scientists who leave the organisation are said to do so ‘because of a lack of professional satisfaction’.

Government statistics show that over 586 scientists had quit their DRDO jobs over the course of nine years from 2008 to 2017.

A statement from DRDO said that the new directors are empowered with financial and administrative authorities at par with any director of a DRDO laboratory. “Establishment of DYSLs for work on advanced and future
technologies will be a big leap forward for DRDO from the goal of making India self reliant to future ready in defence technologies,” the statement added.

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