First EMBO meet in plant biology offers networking platform for Indian researchers

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 5: Scientists must not neglect basic research in science while striving to find practical and market friendly applications of their work, according to top plant biology scientists who participated in the global conference on plant biology which concluded here yesterday. 

“In today’s world, fundamental scientific research is very important because it helps us find things worth looking for. Am very happy to see that in India there is both basic and applied research,” said Dr Jennifer Ann Harikrishna, Professor, Institute Of Biological Sciences, Malaysia.

The researcher was among over 30 noted scientists from nearly 20 countries taking part in the four-day conference organised jointly by city-based Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) and the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO.

“We are happy to host the first EMBO conference in plant biology in India. This offers a platform for young and senior molecular plant biologists and researchers from leading institutions from different countries to meet and discuss the various cutting edge research in this filed,” said Dr M Radhakrishnan Pillai, Director, RGCB.

Other participants also emphasised the importance of not neglecting fundamental research.

“I must congratulate RGCB on taking the first step in organising this meeting here in India and encouraging Indian scientists to avail of this opportunity to listen to their peers. Of course EMBO conferences regularly take place in Europe but not everybody, especially young research students may not be able to go there,” said Dr Usha Vijayaraghavan,  Professor, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

Michael Wrzaczek Research Fellow from Finland said that compared to studies in other subjects such as computers, basic research in plant biology was expensive and the governments must support researchers.

 Dr Soniya E V, who did the groundwork in bringing the conference to India, said the event had the participation of over 30 per cent women researchers and speakers. "It is important to have an understanding of the scientific issues that other researchers are working on and it is beneficial especially to young researchers who get exposed to a whole lot of new ideas."

The conference also saw a segment devoted to research study by young investigators in India.  In February 2016,  Department of Biotechnology signed a cooperation agreement with EMBO, under which India became an EMBC Associate Member State.

EMBO is an organisation of more than 1,700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in life sciences. Its programmes and activities are funded by the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC).  

The EMBC, founded in 1969, is an inter-governmental organisation comprising 33 member- and partner-states, including India, which came under its fold in February 2016. 




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