Work Culture & Management
NCL has an open work culture. Scientists manage independent research programmes and collaborate freely within NCL and outside it. NCL has research programmes in most of the major areas in chemicals and materials sciences and engineering; thus, scientists hired at NCL find a ready peer group with whom they have healthy interactions and exchange of ideas. The research environment at NCL embodies the most desirable features of academic institutions (such as independence to decide your own goals and research priorities, the opportunity to work with students, flexibility to interact with openly and to collaborate with academic and industrial scientists across the world) and industrial research laboratories (such as the opportunity to work on large focused projects as part of a team and, to work in an environment that is responsive to your need to meet deadlines). At NCL, scientists are expected to balance a mix of curiosity-driven research with application-oriented projects funded by industrial sponsors. However, each scientist decides his/her own balance and defines his/her own portfolio of work.
Hierarchy matters very little when it comes to working relationships at NCL. Senior colleagues and department heads provide a nurturing environment and actively mentor freshly recruited scientists – but do not supervise their work. Scientists who perform can seek leadership of projects, irrespective of their grade. Project leaders define their teams according to the requirements of the project and junior scientists often lead teams that have senior colleagues as team members.
The management at NCL has focused on reducing red tape at NCL to free the scientists to devote their attention to doing science rather than paperwork. Bureaucracy at NCL is considerably lesser than at other government institutions – this is because the leadership at NCL has been proactively striving to reduce paperwork. Procedures to purchase chemicals and equipment are streamlined, and in most cases, are done entirely online. While we are not yet an entirely paper-free organization, we are moving towards that.