©Photo of the author with Dr. Manickavasagam Sundaram, who taught the author about ways to do research
Timely and effective communication is vital for the industry.
As the global cotton sector is under tremendous pressure in terms of demand and price levels, two factors can be helpful: 1) Mission-linked research and 2) Effective and timely communication.
In the textile industry, where established giants such as China and India are struggling, research that can lead to cost-effective products via diversification is a critical need. Research that can lead to products to improve life, meet societal requirements and protect the environment will help the industry. The model developed by the agriculture sector, i.e., mission-linked research approach can be followed by the textile sector. This approach emphasizes the importance of stakeholders views in planning, executing and supporting research programs.
United States’ cotton growers are a good example in supporting and carrying out research that will benefit their cause such as reducing insect pressure, yield improvements amidst environmental stress, contamination control, etc.
Although, there is no simple or straight forward strategy to conduct research, sage advice given to me 25-years ago by Dr. Manickvasagam Sundaram, currently a senior physician in the Department of Medicine at Lakeridge Health, Oshawa, Canada, while I was a doctoral student at Leeds University, U.K., is worth noting. Working on parallel projects, although tough will help to reduce risk, was a valuable guidance given to me by Dr. Sundaram, which helps me even to this day. I have used this approach in my twenty years at Texas Tech University that has resulted in products such as toxic chemical decontamination wipe, “FiberTect,” and environmentally friendly oil absorbing mat, “Towelie.”
Dr. Sundaram is currently visiting our laboratory in Lubbock and reiterated the importance of research and effective communication, which are important for practicing physicians, academicians, industrialists and even policy makers. More often research yields results, which are not expected, but they help with improving and will lead to successful outcomes. In such situations, transparent and clear communication clearly help.
The need for timely and good communication across the industry was emphasized today in Lubbock in a gathering of about 250 people at the Texas Cotton Association’s Cotton Flow meeting.
Proper planning, skillful execution and effective communication are needed for the industry, and in fact any project to succeed.
Publisher’s Note: As India celebrates Teachers Day today, the article is a tribute to my mentors in India, U.K and the United States, who have helped with my research and communication skills.
Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor, Texas Tech University, USA