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.