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EXPERTSPEAK

Exploring new territories

R. RAVIKANTH REDDY

Move ahead of IT and think beyond software jobs. Frontier technologies are waiting to be explored in the U.S.



Krishna R. Dronamraju

The vast, planned highways in the United States might offer a smooth drive and a comfortable journey for visitors connecting the entire country from coast to coast. But they also offer lucrative careers. Highway engineering is an area worth taking a look at.

If one has the dream and the courage to think differently and visualise a career five years down the line, it is just one among the many lucrative careers waiting for Indian students in the United States.

Nanotechnology, genomics, proteomics, gene therapy, vaccine research, synthetic biology, cell cloning, telecommunications, sanitation and public health are a few virgin areas that can be exploited by the Indian students.

Think ahead

"Such courses offer exciting careers for those who think ahead of their times," says Krishna R. Dronamraju, a Houston-based professor and entrepreneur. Information Technology should not be the end of Indian students' search but they should look for careers that emerge with the blending of IT, and the U.S. universities are looking forward to such candidates, says Dr. Krishna, president of Foundation for Genetic Research, Houston. Interestingly, he was an advisor to the Clinton Government on biotech and his name was floated for the key post of U.S. Ambassador to India.

The run-of-the-mill kind might get jobs but students willing to take on challenges are what U.S. universities will throw their arms open to and support.

New technologies will grow blending with IT and Indian students strength in IT will be an added advantage. These fields will offer job opportunities not just in the U.S., but India will emerge as a centre for such careers in the future.

Flexibility

However, the lack of a multidisciplinary approach can hamper their prospects, Dr. Krishna says. It is important for students to come out of the age-old practice of specialising in a single area and cross disciplines.

"The success of U.S. science stream is the flexibility and multidisciplinary approach where no one is confined to a single area," he says adding that Indian students should be willing to cross disciplines and pursue interdisciplinary research.

Research facilities

Dr. Krishna, who was in Hyderabad to chair a plenary session on Frontier Technologies at the 93rd Indian Science Congress, blames the Indian universities for not taking initiatives to provide research facilities.

Of course, the Government should take the blame for not financially supporting them. "If a couple of individuals or organisations take up research, the country will not benefit. It should be done simultaneously in several cities by several organisations."

More funds should be pumped into universities to encourage research rather than funding the IITs, as the IITs cannot replace universities at any cost, he says. Students and young scientists interested in research can reach him at kdronamraj@aol.com.

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