The first appointment in a scheme to recruit expatriate scientists to senior positions in the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) — India's largest science agency — seems to have misfired badly. A US scientist of Indian origin has been dismissed just five months after he was offered the position of 'outstanding scientist' and tasked with helping to commercialize technologies developed at CSIR institutes. Shiva Ayyadurai, an entrepreneur inventor and Fulbright Scholar with four degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, was the first scientist to be appointed under the CSIR scheme to recruit about 30 scientists and technologists of Indian origin (STIOs) into researcher leadership roles. “The offer was withdrawn as he did not accept the terms and conditions and demanded unreasonable compensation,” Samir Brahmachari, director general of the CSIR, told Nature.
Ayyadurai denies this. In a 30 October letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also president of the CSIR, he claims that he was sacked for sending senior CSIR scientists a report that was critical of the agency's leadership and organization. The report, published on 19 October, was authored by Ayyadurai and colleague Deepak Sardana, who joined the CSIR as a consultant in January. Ayyadurai says that the report — which was not commissioned by the CSIR — was intended to elicit feedback about the institutional barriers to technology commercialization. “Our interaction with CSIR scientists revealed that they work in a medieval, feudal environment,” says Ayyadurai. “Our report said the system required a major overhaul because innovation cannot take place in this environment.”