Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Infosys India Prize


This is really, really big.

Simply because of the prize money. At 5 million rupees, each prize is worth twice as much as the highest award for scientists in India: the India Science Prize [see footnote].

And also because of its coverage -- there's a prize in each of five different areas: mathematical, physical, biological, engineering and social sciences.

Here's the company's press release:

Infosys Technologies Ltd. (Infosys) today announced that it has set up "Infosys Science Foundation", a not-for-profit trust to promote research in sciences in India. Under the aegis of the foundation, Infosys will honor outstanding contributions and achievements by Indians across various sciences. The annual award for each category is Rs. 50 lakh.

The Infosys Science Foundation will be funded by a corpus of Rs. 21.5 crore contributed by Infosys executive board members and an annual grant from Infosys Technologies Ltd.

The “Infosys India Prize” categories include:

  • Physical Sciences – Physics and Chemistry

  • Mathematical Sciences – Mathematics and Statistics

  • Engineering Sciences – All branches of Engineering

  • Life Sciences – Biology and Medicine

  • Social Sciences and Economics – Economics, History, Sociology, Political Sciences and other Social Sciences

The jury panel for each area will consist of eminent international personalities in each area selected by the trustees of the foundation.

Announcing the award, Mr. N. R. Narayana Murthy, Chief Mentor and Chairman of the Board, Infosys Technologies Ltd. said, “India needs bright minds across all areas of academics, government, business and society to strive for global excellence. We need to encourage research in India to address our developmental problems. This award will honor outstanding researchers who will make a difference to India’s future.”

All in all, a great move for Infosys. It'll now be associated with the most prestigious award in the country.

Now, how long is it going to take before someone institutes the Indian version of the Genius award, aka the MacArthur Fellowship?

* * *

Footnote: The India Science Prize has been awarded only once in its five year history -- to Prof. C.N.R. Rao.

8 Comments:

  1. Vinod Khare said...

    This is good news. This announcements indicates both the rise self recognition in Indian science and the involvement of the private sector in growth of technology. My only wish now is that such awards become prestigious enough that we don't look towards the west for recognition.

    As a sidenote, doesn't Dr. CNR Rao already have too many awards. Why do they keep giving him more? :P

  2. chitta said...

    The first Infosys prize on Math has been awarded to Prof. Manindra Agarwal.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Great step forward to make the private industry stakeholders in Indian R&D through endowments and prizes like this.

  4. Anonymous said...

    On similar lines Indian industry should also get much more involved with building good institutes (like BITs) and R&D labs to give IITs and IISc some healthy competition. It can also help them to take on a more leadership role in a globalized world.

  5. karatalaamalaka said...

    Finally someone recognizes that research in engineering and social sciences needs a shot in the arm too. Everyone is talking about the decay of science in India. Shouldn't it be rather be about the overall decay/stagnation of research and development, irrespective of the field? Of course, I am not referring to IISc, IITs or any of the research focused labs like NCBS, CAIR, etc. I am wondering about the researchers in the average university, like, say, the Bangalore University... I hope the Infosys Prize is a starting point for a general thrust in providing monetary rewards to improve the overall research output of a billion strong country, where the burgeoning middle class has historically prioritized education and learning. No offense meant :P , but looking at the big picture, it would be encouraging to see people from non-IISc-IIT-Govt.R&D, Bangalore-Mysore-Mumbai-Kolkata-type universities doing good enough to get some of the more prestigious prizes.

  6. Anonymous said...

    Wait a minute: first of all not everyone from the IISc's etc. get prizes award. In fact, it is the same set of guys (and gals?) which gets every award. So it would be nice to first of all have a transparent system even in this segment. Let us get to the Bangalore Universities after that.

  7. SK said...

    I wonder when you will win it?

  8. Abi said...

    One of these days, SK, one of these days ... '-)