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Science 20 Inception Meeting – 30 & 31 January 2023, Puducherry

Posted On: 01 FEB 2023 3:36PM by PIB Chennai

The Inception Meeting of Science20 (S20), the science engagement vertical of G20, was held at Puducherry on 30 and 31 January 2023.

S20 Engagement Group, comprising the national science academies of the G20 countries, was initiated during Germany’s Presidency in 2017. It presents policymakers with consensus-based science-driven recommendations formulated through task forces comprising international experts.

A total of 15 foreign delegates from 11 G20 countries – Australia, Brazil, China, European Union, France, India, Republic of Korea, Türkiye, Russia, United Kingdom, and United States of America – participated in the Inception meeting. About 50 delegates and special invitees from various research and academic institutions across India were also present in the Puducherry S20 meeting.

India, as the President of G20, aspires to make G20 truly “inclusive, ambitious, decisive, and action-oriented”, as exhorted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The agenda of S20 reflects this principle in the planning and use of science for inclusive and sustainable development.

The theme of S20 for 2023 is Disruptive Science for Innovative and Sustainable Development. Within this broad theme, the deliberations will focus on three sets of issues: Clean Energy for a Greener Future, Universal Holistic Health, and Connecting Science to Society and Culture. The consultations have begun with the Puducherry meeting. The next three meetings will be held in Agartala (Tripura), Bangaram Island (Lakshadweep) and Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), and will conclude with a Summit meeting in Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) later in the year where policy recommendations will be provided to the G20 Leadership.

The Inception Meeting began with welcome remarks from Prof G Rangarajan, Director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), which is the Secretariat for S20. “The grand challenges of today and tomorrow – climate change, pandemics, energy security, water management, food shortage – cannot be addressed by one country alone. It requires the cooperation of many different nations so that experiences and breakthroughs in science and technology can be shared with each other,” he said.

"We have gathered here because we are deeply committed to furthering scientific research, education, and innovation both within our own borders and beyond them through strong partnerships, multilateral collaborations, and global alliance,” said Prof Ashutosh Sharma, President of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and Chair of the meeting.

 

Mr TV Mohandas Pai, entrepreneur and venture capitalist, and Chair of Manipal Global Education, gave an engaging talk on the theme of disruptive science for inclusive and sustainable development. In his address, he elaborated upon the major technologies that will be disruptive in the coming years – Artificial Intelligence, alternative energy sources, personalised and precision healthcare; and smart materials and meta materials – and how they could dramatically impact our lives.

Biomedical scientist Dr Bhushan Patwardhan provided an overview of universal holistic health, one of the three themes of S20 in 2023. "Universal holistic health is about evidence-based integrative medicine drawing strengths from available knowledge systems, art, science and technology in the best interest of people,” he said.

Prof Ambuj Sagar, founding Head of the School of Public Policy, IIT Delhi, spoke about the second theme of this year’s S20 – clean energy. Highlighting the need to work towards not just a green future but also a just and inclusive future, he said, “Along with sustainability, we should be thinking about availability, accessibility and affordability.”

The third theme of S20 in 2023, connecting science to society and culture, was introduced by Prof Ashutosh Sharma. He said, “In order to make a sustainable, enlightened, compassionate, and happy society, we need new ways of thinking and disruptive tech, with the lights and shadows of science.”

Each session was followed by remarks and discussions among the delegates from G20 countries. Delegates from many G20 countries participated in the event and shared their insights and recommendations.

  

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