Thursday, June 24, 2010

Salute to the great leader Dr. Maqsudul Alam with high expectation of national leadership in science

Dear Leader Dr. Alam,



Heartfelt congratulation for Jute genome sequencing, not for the technical part, but for the leadership. Because doing the technical part of genome sequencing is not new for you , you did it twice before when you were given responsibilities ( I think) in USA and in Malaysia with adequate resources. But in case of Jute genome sequencing you took the initiative and led the project successfully. Carrying out given responsibility and taking responsibility are two different things with very big difference. Leaders take responsibility. Bangladesh need leaders in every sector. Scientific research is no exception. we have good researchers even in Bangladesh but we lack in leadership. We are lucky to get a great leader like you in our scientific arena. Alhamdullilah.





Hence Salute to the great leader Dr. Maqsudul Alam with high expectation of national leadership in science. Your leadership has made young researchers confident, hopeful and optimistic for future of science in Bangladesh.



As young Bangladeshi researchers, we would like to express our two expectations to you.



First one about genome sequencing , second one about Scientific research as a whole, not only about biotechnology or biology.



From your interview with prothom-alo, your next focus is to sequence genome of Tulsi, a medicinal herb. My expectation is that you widen your focus, form a genome sequencing consortium involving All major private(NSU,IUB, BRAC) and public universities (specially old one) and research organizations such as NIB, BCSIR, BJRI, BRRI etc to sequence a number of important crops for Bangladesh. I can name some of them which become issue every year in our country such as sugarcan(sugar), onion, green chilly, lentils, mastared oil . we are highly dependent on other countries for these crops. Importance of these crops can be easily presented to our govt and make big difference in our national life by improving these crops and increasing production. You can easily influence our govt now as you already proved yours capability. I believe money is not big deal, persuasion is the critical factor. You are in a position to persuade the govt. successfully. We can not afford to miss this opportunity.



Second one is that , You expand your focus from Bioscience / biotechnology to sciences as a whole. We expect you persuade so that govt takes measures to improve the performance of our all research organizations. Scientists in our national research organizations can not utilize their full potential due to mismanagement of money, time and human resources. You have experience of USA, Russia, Malaysia. Combing all , you persuade present govt to make overall reform of our research organizations so that those who are in Bangladeshi research organizations can make best use of their potential(ability). We believe no Bangladeshi researchers stay back in abroad for money. They stay back mostly becuase at the end of higher study they feel and understand that they will not be able to utilize their potential going back in Bangladesh. If we can improve the managment of money, time and human resource managemnet in our research organisations it will stop brain drain and brain wastage simultaneously.

We believe iron is hot enough now to shape the Research organizations and scientific research arena of Bangladesh. We can not afford to miss it . You got the great chance to bring the big change. We are sure , you will make best use of it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Science and Technology : Not an issue yet in Bangladesh: BAS Awards: Charity or Award?

Science and Technology : Not an issue yet in Bangladesh: BAS Awards: Charity or Award?

BAS Awards: Charity or Award?

The basic difference between charity and Award is that charity should be given silently and award with best publicity. In charity it is accepted and expected that you will not publicize your charity. This is to make sure that people don’t think that charity is not your main purpose, publicity is objective, though nowadays charity is publicised to gain popularity and political gain. In Islam it is also advised that do your charity in such a way that left hand don’t know when right hand donating. In charity it is expected that person or body accepting charity is worth of charity. It is not necessary and expected to make public why that person is worth of charity.

On the other hand, the purposes of awards are different. The main purposes of giving awards are recognition, motivation, promotion, and stimulation. Firstly, awards are giving to recognize the contribution of the awardee in a specific area, secondly to keep the awardee motivated and committed to make more contribution. Thirdly, promote the subject in which awardee accomplished something to be awarded .Thirdly promote the organisation giving the award. Last but not least, create stimulation and competition so that more and more people become interested in the subject area and make their best effort to be recognized by getting the award.
To gain all of these objectives, it is necessary that Awards, awardee and reason for someone getting award will get best publicity. If enough is done to get the due publicity for these three, then the fourth, the organisation giving award will automatically get promoted.

From the way Bangladesh Academy of Sciences giving its awards, with almost no publicity, it seems that it is doing charity. None will disagree that Awards given by The Academy of sciences is the highest award for scientists in any country. At least it should be well publicised in the scientists community. But sorry to notice the opposite. There is no way to know why some one has got the award, for what specific contribution. Though there is a list of the awardee in the Academy website, nothing more. No Biodata of the awardee, or a single line for what specific contribution some one was awarded.

With such a low publicity, even awardee does not feel that they are awarded such a prestigious award. Tow of my fellow microbiologists got the TWAS young Scientists award. But we didn’t know it until meet them in the first ever young scientist’s congress. I raised the point of publicity of awardee as suggestion in the single session where president and secretary were listening to young scientists. After that one of the Awardee thanks me to raise the issue. The expression I found is like that he has got award but don’t feel like that he has been awarded. I couldn’t ask him for what he has got the award. So later I visited the BAS website and searched in the newspaper to find for what contribution they were awarded. But no clue no where.
If the Awardee themselves don’t feet that they were awarded, then how come the award serves it purpose, “stimulate talents among the active scientists and technologists of the country”?

However, at this time of Private TV channels, large number of print media and BAS having own website, Publicity of Award is not that hard.
The following steps can easily make the Awardee feel that they were awarded and stimulate active scientists:
1. Publish the Biodata of the Awardee, with specific emphasis on the contribution for which he/she got award, in the website of BAS.
2. Make at least one electronic and one print media partner of the award giving ceremony. BAS time to time organise some discussions with some media. We believe BAS easily can make them media partner of the Award giving ceremonies.
3. Sending the Biodata of the awardee to the editor of each and every national daily with request to publish them in the science pages of the dailies.
These simple measures will make the awardee fell like awarded and stimulate talents.

Friday, April 30, 2010

If there were an organisation of Sceitntists

Budget is coming on 20 Jun for the year 2010-2011. Different organisations arranging discussion on budget and expressing their expectation and making recommendations.

Never found in the past that any organisation was arranging such discussion on behalf of scientists or researchers and making recommendations. In spite of that, last year the govt doubled the allocation for science and research. There should have some review of the allocation from a thirdparty /organisation whether it was double in reality or there was any mispresentation of the figure. If the allocation was really doubled, was it utilized and has made any noticeable improvement? Or doubling money has just doubled the wastage as the efficiency of our research organisations in utilizing the resources is very poor ? Should not we take account of all these issues? Govt should have some mechanism to get feedback on how their invested or allocated money performing in research organisations. Similary professional scientists should also speak out how much more money they need to make the ensure the utilization of the allocated money, what other than money they need to utilize the money , where they need reform for efficient use of the money .

If there were an organisation of Sceitntists that would speak about the expectation of scientists in the budget and give feedback on how the 100% increase in last budget was utilized or abused or wasted or brought improvement , Bangladesh could make progress at a better pace.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How are the mirrors reflecting scientific status of Bangladesh?

Friends are mirror for each other. If we want to know someone and he is not available for contact and who will not be free and frank in front of us, then having contact with his friends we can have some idea about him. What are the mirrors of the scientific status (status of scientific research and technology development) of a country? Aren't Scientific journals, research organizations and professional organizations of scientists the mirror looking at which we can have idea of the scientific status of a country? The scientific status of a country is well reflected in the regularity, quantity and quality of scientific journals published from that country, performance of research organizations and vision, mission and dynamism of professional scientists’ organizations.

If we look at regularity, quantity and quality of our scientific journals, we can easily find out what’s the status of our country. Very few journals are published regularly due to lack of money and lack of enough articles. Quality of articles are not that much high. Hence we have only 5 indexed journals with small number of articles per year.

Source: http://www.scimagojr.com/journalrank.php?area=0&category=0&country=BD&year=2008&order=sjr&min=1&min_type=cd

If looking at the performance of our research organizations, that also shows the similar poor status. There are hardly any research organizations researchers of which feel proud to say that I am a researcher of this or that organization. If you talk with the top people of the largest research organizations of the country, they will speak about the service they are providing , not about research as they have hardly any research achievement to speak about it .

If we all look at the professional scientists’ organizations, we can not be happy also. These organizations have no mission statement, no vision and performance evaluation. Different people come to the leadership at different times. Do something sporadically. These organizations hardly organize their annual conference regularly. Researchers are hardly enthusiastic to present their paper in these conferences. If these professional organizations had long term goal and vision, they could have done much for the professional groups and the country. In such case, new executive committee would have some pre-assigned and planned work other than organizing annual conference and forming new committee. For example, antibiotic is an over abused drug in Bangladesh.
This over abuse causing huge harm to our economy and national health. There should have policy to minimize abuse of antibiotics. But neither the government nor people are aware of it. Some relevant professional groups should make plan and program to make the govt adopt and implement proper policy and people aware of harm from sporadic use of antibiotics. This is an example for those professional scientists’ associations/societies who know well about the harm of antibiotic abuse. Every professional group can find some such task that needs long term campaign and lobbing for good policy and its implementation. Campaigning for such cause can be regarded social responsibility of professional scientists’ associations/societies. From this they will be benefited as corporate organizations benefited from their corporate social responsibilities.

However, what is the best and most reflective mirror of the scientific status of a country? Isn’t it the Academy of Sciences of that country? Vision, mission and dynamism and influence of The Academy of Sciences of a country are reflected in the science policy and research funding and performance of the research organizations of that country. Looking at scientific status of our country, what perception we get about the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences (BAS)? How was it (a mostly unknown organization to the science graduates of the country) doing in the past? Not satisfactorily. Can we be hopeful from the present movement of BAS? May be as it has become an active organization recently. It has organized Young Scientists Congress for the first time in last December and declared to organize it every year. It has also organized science Olympiad and will organize such program regularly at school level. It has been awarding researchers for long though it is not possible for what contribution the researchers are awarded from the website of BAS (www.bad.org.bd).


However, Bangladesh Academy of Sciences have to go long way, needs more movement, strategically and effectively, to make Bangladesh perform satisfactorily in scientific research and technology development. Because no other organizations have such influence on the government that BAS can exert on govt science policy shaping and funding.

Some one, some body needs to be regularly critical of BAS so that it exerts its ability and influence on government for science and technology in Bangladesh.

References
SCImago. (2007). SJR — SCImago Journal & Country Rank.
Retrieved April 12, 2010, from http://www.scimagojr.com

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What should be focus of discussion of Bangladeshi scientists' community?

What sciences(different branches of Science) can do for Bangladesh? Or

Why Bangladesh can’t reap the benefit of science? or

How can we reap benefit of Science for the development of Bangladesh?

or

Why our research organisations' performances are very poor?


Why our Universities are not centre for excellence for for research ? how can we make them so?

Or we should we waste time on discussion on vague and vast topic such as life, genome, emerging diseases and so on so forth ?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Young Scientists' Congress by BAS- a heartening sign

Even in February, 2009 one had scope to be critical of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences as its website was not updated since 2002-3(http://scitechinbd.blogspot.com/2009/02/bangladesh-academy-of-sciences.html).

Now it is really very heartening to see a dynamic Bangladesh Academy of Sciences is which is evident from the vibrant and interactive website of the organization.

Organizing young scientists’ congress (so far I know) for the fist time is another evidence of its liveliness. But it seems something is missing in the congress. The congress has well defined and articulated objectives. It has rightly focused to infuse dream in the mind of young scientists (The Academy will organize a two day Young Scientists Congress on 29-30 December 2009 in order to encourage the young scientists and to infuse dream among them to develop their future pathway at a pace with other parts of the globe.)
The objectives should come as a theme of the congress. Then it will very easily communicate the message of the congress to the young scientists. The theme can be “Chase your researcher’s dream and develop yourself and Bangladesh in scientific research” or simply “Chase your researcher’s dream”. Organizer can even find best theme as they have full understanding of the objectives of the congress.Bottom line is that the congress should have a theme.

However, as Bangladesh Academy of Sciences is a dynamic and vibrant organization now like its leaders, we are very hopeful that Bangladesh will soon make noticeable progress in research and technology development and transfer

Share it