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First EMBO meet in plant biology stresses on basic research

Monday, Feb 6, 2017,12:14 IST By anju A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | The need for scientists to pursue basic research in science while striving to find practical and market-friendly applications of their work was stressed at a global conference on plant biology here.

More than 30 noted scientists from nearly 20 countries took part in the four-day conference, organised jointly by city-based Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) and the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).

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), a release said today.

In February 2016, the Department of Biotechnology signed a cooperation agreement with EMBO, under which India became an EMBC Associate Member State.

The EMBC, founded in 1969, is an inter-governmental organisation comprising 33 member and partner states.

“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, told the conference which concluded last evening.

“We are happy to host the first EMBO conference in plant biology in India. This offered 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 be able to go there,” said Dr Usha Vijayaraghavan, rofessor, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

Michael Wrzaczek, a 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.
 
The conference also saw a segment devoted to research study by young investigators in the country.