New Delhi: EChO Network, a national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India with the specific focus of increasing research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment, was launched yesterday in New Delhi by Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
Speaking at the event, Raghavan said India has recently embarked on a number of national-level efforts to promote ecological and environmental research on the subcontinent; however, there remains a lacuna of trained scientists with interdisciplinary skills and collaborative mindset.
“We need to train a new generation of educators and students who can identify and solve problems in an interdisciplinary manner and who can listen to our natural world and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology and I am convinced this network will inspire an entirely new approach to Indian education and exploration necessary for the post-technological world,” said Raghavan.
India faces unprecedented threats to its human and environmental ecosystems, solving which require a confluence of India’s strong technological expertise and knowledge of the natural world itself, stated the Ministry of Commerce & Industry in a Press communication.
EChO will develop a national network to catalyse Indians who can synthesize interdisciplinary concepts and tackle real-world problems in medicine, agriculture, ecology, and technology.
With no precedent for such a network anywhere in the world, EChO Network establishes a new platform to change how science is embedded in modern society.
Through interactive sessions with citizens, industry, academia, and the government, the Network will identify gaps in knowledge regarding select topics in human and environmental ecosystems. The program will train postdoctoral leaders in research and outreach on these topics, while also incorporating current public and private efforts into a national network.
EChO will go on to establish nationwide awareness in these issues through public discourse and education for citizens, industry, and government, with information exchange at all educational levels.
Over time, EChO Network intends to create an international distributed institute comprising individuals housed within industry, government, private, and academic sectors, combining their expertise and resources collectively to tackle large scale problems.
The initiative has drawn in partners from Government, industry and academia, with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India steering the program under the guidance of Prof. Shannon Olsson, Director, EChO Network.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Hindustan Unilever Limited, RoundGlass, India Climate Collaborative, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP) are the founding partners of the EChO Network.
This is a mission of hope, remarked Prof. Olsson at the launch program, adding that throughout his career in India, he has met countless individuals working hard to make a positive difference for Indian ecosystems.
The purpose of this Network, Olsson observed, is to bring all those together to share knowledge and synergize efforts under the umbrella of science. In order to do this, we need leaders who are trained to communicate across different sectors of society, he added.