Funding, legal challenges slowing India's scientific progress: Nobel Laureate David J Gross

India had the opportunity to become a leading scientific power in the world but tendency to delay funding and at times, legal challenges came in its way, according to Nobel laureate David J Gross, who won the Physics Nobel Prize in 2004.

Gross was speaking at the Nobel Dialogue 2017 -- part of the Nobel Prize Series, organised at Vibrant Gujarat, the biennial global summit. He added that India had explored many opportunities in participating and leading scientific projects but due to the challenges India had not been able to capitalise on them.

He referred to the neutrino observatory project, India's most advanced particle physics experiment for which the government had sanctioned Rs1,500 crore. It had, however, been caught up in anti-nuclear politics and legal tangle. "India is on the verge of losing a marvellous opportunity," he said.

He said there were a lot of opportunities for India but it was China which was seizing them. "India must rise to the role it should be playing for its benefit, for the benefit of science and rest of the world," he added. India and China had been growing rapidly in the last few decades with both doubling their GDP, but in this period China had doubled its investment in science and technology while India's funding had not changed. He pointed out that South Korea, a much smaller country, was also investing a lot in science and the results were showing.

''The country is not moving as fast as it should have been on major scientific projects due to political and legal delays, said Gross,  a physicist and 2004 Nobel laureate, while speaking at Nobel dialogue series at the Vibrant Gujarat summit in Ahmedabad yesterday.

''India has to go beyond being a minor collaborator in big science research projects and take the lead but there have been inexcusable political and legal delays,'' said Gross.