The co-founder of Infosys, NR Narayana Murthy, emphasised on the importance of scientific research in the nation by stating that it was a matter of “unimaginable shame” that an India-made cough syrup was to blame for the deaths of 66 children in Gambia. 

The mishap has damaged the reputation of the nation’s pharmaceutical regulatory agency, he said. He was speaking at the Infosys Science Prize 2022 award function in Bengaluru on Tuesday. 

Shedding light on the importance of scientific research, Murthy said research in science is very important for a developing country like India that aspires to join the rank of the developed world. “A nation’s progress on the economic and social fronts depends on the quality of scientific and technological research in the country,” he said. 

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Murthy further said that India has had a healthy run in scientific and technological progress in the last few years. “We rolled out Covid vaccine for a billion Indians. These were produced by two Indian firms. That is a remarkable achievement by any standard,” he remarked. 

Despite the progress seen, huge challenges still persist, he opines. Murthy mentioned that there is not a single Indian institution of higher learning in the top 250 of the world university global rankings in 2022. Even the vaccines India has produced are either based on technology from advanced countries or based on research from the developed world. Consequently, the country has still not produced a vaccine for Dengue and Chikungunya which have been ravaging us for over 70 years now, he further noted. 

The Infosys Science Foundation (ISF) today announced the winners of the Infosys Prize 2022 in six categories — Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences.

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Mahesh Kakde, Professor of Mathematics, Indian Institute of Science; Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, National Law School of India University; and Suman Chakraborty, Dean of Research and Development, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, were some of the award winners.