Sundeep Waslekar,President of SFG inaugurated the centennial lecture series of Sir Parshurambhau College, a 100 year old educational institution on 2nd August 2013 in Pune, India. Speaking on 'The Future of Knowledge", he said, “Our future depends on our ability to collaborate and it is necessary that we do that in the most difficult and sensitive areas".
Waslekar added that after independence, the Indian private sector has failed to make significant investments in fundamental research. “Prior to independence, the Tatas founded two institutions ---the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. But, after 1947, although the government has taken several initiatives in the field of science and research, the private sector has failed to do so."
Drawing comparison with the European Union, which despite its gloomy economic scenario, invested 52 billion dollars in international collaborative research over 5 years, Waslekar added that India has a long way to go. “With no focus on research we are lagging behind in core sectors like computer science. Colleges should not merely churn skilled manpower for the industry. Instead they should evaluate the students on basis of their intellect and give them enough exposure to do fundamental research,” he said.
Finally, he spoke about the importance of understanding the purpose of knowledge. “Knowledge can be dangerous as it can lead to the development of dangerous weapons such as nuclear arsenals, biological weapons and all that endangers civilization. Seeking the purpose of knowledge is the way forward and its purpose is to seek the truth."
The speech was attended by a few thousand students and faculty members, and widely covered in the media. Strategic Foresight Group has been addressing issues pertaining to the future of knowledge in its foresight methodology stream.