Design & development of an indigenous atomic clock for India's NAVIC GPS system is currently one of the major challenges for ISRO

Substantial research efforts are needed to find solutions to address grave challenges like providing drinking water, eradicating neglected diseases and reducing hunger, ISRO Chairman Dr. K Sivan said here on Saturday.

"Despite the progress made over the last half century, we still have several unsolved issues, including providing clean drinking water, clean environment, quality education and good health services and sanitation," he said.

In fact, some of the problems like providing ample drinking water and solving the urban garbage problem had become so acute that it was being said that the next world war would be for water and "cities would explode to become totally unlivable," he said.

"Substantial research efforts are needed to find solutions that address these challenges," he said.

Dr Sivan was addressing the 55th convocation at Sri Venkateswara University here.

He said ISRO has provided more than 300 spin-offs for societal applications like Jaipur foot, Left ventricle assist device and lithium-ion cell technology to address some of these problems.

Now ISRO proposes to look beyond Earth in solving some of these problems, he said, adding that such an approach would kick-start the next wave of research and innovation to solve many of national and global problems.

Earlier, the varsity awarded degrees to 26,331 students of PhD, MPhil, PG and graduate courses.

Dr Sivan was also awarded an honorary doctorate by the governing body, headed by the Varsity Vice Chancellor A Damodaram.