RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
10.1. INDIA’S SPENDING ON R&D
- As per a study of the National Science and Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS), India’s gross research spending on R&D has consistently been increasing over the years.
Recently Ministry of Science & Technology announced four new schemes to promote young scientists and researchers in the country.
Teacher Associateship for Research Excellence (TARE) Scheme
- It aims to tap the latent potential of faculty working in state universities, colleges and private academic institutions who are well trained but have difficulty in pursuing their research due to reasons like lack of facilities, funding and guidance.
- The scheme facilitates mobility of such faculty members to carryout research in well-established public funded institution such as IITs, IISc, NITs, CSIR, ICAR, etc. Up to 500 TAs (Teacher Associates) will be supported under this scheme.
Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship (OVDF)
- This has been instituted for enhancing the international mobility of Indian research students with potential to create a talented pool of globally trained manpower.
- It offers opportunities for up to 100 PhD students admitted in the Indian institutions for gaining exposure and training in overseas universities for period up to 12 months during their doctoral research.
Distinguished Investigator Award (DIA)
- This has been initiated to recognize and reward Principal Investigators (PIs) of Science and Engineering Research Board/Department of Science and Technology projects who have performed remarkably well.
- It is a one-time career award devised to specifically cater to the younger scientists who have not received any other prestigious awards or fellowships.
Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR) scheme
- This has been initiated to encourage, empower and endow popular science writing through newspapers, magazines, blogs, social media, etc. by young PhD Scholars.
- The scheme aims to tap the tremendous potential in the country to popularize & communicate science and also to inculcate scientific temperament in the masses.
- While India spent 0.69 per cent of its GDP on R&D in 2014-15, other major countries spent much more.
- India topped the list with regard to the government’s participation in R&D but hit the bottom in terms of participation of institutions of higher education.
- The central government accounted for 45.1 per cent of total expenditure, followed by private sector industries (38.1 per cent), state governments (7.4 per cent), higher education sector (3.9 per cent) and the public sector industries (5.5 per cent).
- Women’s participation in extra mural R&D projects has increased significantly from a mere 13% in 2000-01 to 29 % in 2014-15.
- The country’s share in global research publications increased from 2.2 per cent in 2000 to 3.7 per cent in 2013 while the number of researchers per million population increased from 110 in 2000 to 218 in 2015.
Other scheme launched
NIDHI (National Initiative for Development and Harnessing Innovations),
- It’s an umbrella program by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) for nurturing ideas and innovations (knowledge-based and technology-driven) into successful startups.
- Aim: to provide technological solutions not only to the pressing needs of the society but also targets to create new avenues for wealth and job creation.
KIRAN (Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing)
- Implemeted by Department of Science & technology
- Aim: To bring gender equality to the field of science and technology and build leadership positions for women
- Objective: To increase the number of lady researchers in the country, and to provide research grants, especially to those who are female researchers and technologists taking a break in their career due to household or domestic compulsions.
10.2. PRIME MINISTER’S RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP SCHEME
Why in news?
- Cabinet recently decided to implement “Prime Minister’s Fellowship Scheme”.
About the Scheme
- It is a public-private partnership (PPP) between Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB), which is an autonomous body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
- It aims to improve the quality of research by attracting the best talents across the country and reduce brain drain.
- Under the scheme around 1000 students who have completed B.Tech or integrated M.Tech or M.sc in Science and technology streams will be offered direct admission in PhD programme in the IITs/IISc with a fixed amount of fellowship.
- Apart from this, a research grant of Rs.2 lakhs will be provided to each of the Fellows for a period of 5 years to enable them to participate in international research conferences and present research papers.
Science & Engineering Research Board
- It is a statutory body established through an Act of Parliament.
- Supporting basic research in emerging areas of Science & Engineering are the primary mandate of the Board.
- The Board is vested with both financial and administrative powers to enable quicker decisions on research issues, greatly improving thereby our responsiveness to the genuine needs of the research scientists and the S&T system.
10.3. ATL COMMUNITY DAY
Why in news?
- Recently Atal Innovation Mission celebrated Community Drive Initiative as a part of ATL Community Day under aegis of NITI Aayog.
Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)
- It is government’s endeavour (including Self-employment and Talent Utilization) to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Its objective is to serve as a platform of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology areas.
Two core functions of AIM:
- Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) where innovators will be supported and mentored.
- Innovation promotion – to provide a platform where innovative ideas will be generated.
Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) Community Day
- It is an initiative under which 25 young mentors will interact with over 200 children not enrolled in formal education system by conducting brief sessions.
- It is aimed at maximising the impact of Atal Tinkering Lab by extending innovation to children with a purpose to provide them with same educational tools as the students in ATL to enable them to become problem solvers and inspire the spirit of innovation.
Atal Tinkering Labs
- They are dedicated innovation play workspaces for students between class 6-12 to learn innovation skills and develop ideas for stimulating innovations.
- Atal Innovation Mission supports establishment of ATLs for realising the need to create scientific temper and cultivate the spirit of curiosity, entrepreneurship and innovation among young minds and achieve the vision of “Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators.”
- Under ATLs children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand what, how and why aspects of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)
- These labs are equipped with state of the art technology like 3D printers, robotics, sensory technology kits, Internet of Things etc. and are designed to spur the spark of creativity and go beyond regular curriculum and text book learning.
Other Initiatives under ATLs
- Unbox Tinkering – It is a training workshop for ATL In-charge to make them understand the philosophy of the Labs and technically equip them to guide the students.
- ATL School of the Month Challenge– These were conducted to engage the ATLs.
- Atal Tinkering Marathon – They are a 2 month long events that align with national mission and focus on clean energy, health,
- smart mobility, smart agriculture, waste management and water resources. The top performer in the event gets to participate at multiple external events such as World Robotics Olympiad and Maker Faire.
- Mentor India programme: It’s a strategic nation building initiative to engage leaders who can guide and mentor schools students in over 900 Atal Tinkering Labs established by Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in schools across India.
10.4. SCHEMES FOR BRAIN GAIN
Department of Science and Technology (DST)-
- VAJRA (Visiting Advanced Joint Research) faculty scheme
- It is being implemented by Science and Engineering Research Board to enable NRI and overseas scientists community to participate and carry out R&D in the
- InternationalFaculty/ scientists/ technologists including Non-resident Indians (NRI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) / Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) are offered adjunct / visiting faculty positions in Indian Institutions/ Universities for a period of 1-3 months under this scheme.
- The faculty can also undertake the role of teaching /mentoring apart from R&D.
- Public funded institutions and national laboratories are allowed to host the VAJRA faculty.
- Ramanujan Fellowship Program:
- for Indian scientists and engineers from all over the world, especially those who
- wish to return to India, to take up scientific research positions at any of the scientific institutions and universities in India.
- All areas of science are covered under this Fellowship and the Fellowship is given for 5 years duration with financial
- This along with other schemes were referred by Indian delegation to the
- Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) 2017 held in San Diego
- Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Faculty Scheme: offers a
contractual research positions to Indian citizens and people of Indian origin including NRI/PIO status with PhD (in science, engineering, pharmacy, medicine, and agriculture related subjects) from any recognized university in the world.
Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
- Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship for Indian Nationals who are working overseas in various fields of biotechnology and life sciences and are interested in taking up
- scientific research positions in India.
- It allows fellows to work in any of the scientific institutions/ universities in the country and would also be eligible for regular research grant through extramural and other research schemes of various S&T agencies of the Government of India.
- DBT also runs Welcome Trust Fellowship Program (Indian scientists, physicians researchers and bio-engineers), and Energy Biosciences Overseas Fellowship (scientists of Indian origin working outside India to pursue R&D in an Indian scientific institute /university in fields of energy related biological sciences and bio-energy).
Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
- BIO is the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.
- The BIO International Convention, hosted by BIO since 1993, is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry and attracts the biggest names in biotech, offers key networking and partnering opportunities, and provides insights and inspiration on the major trends affecting the industry. The BIO International Convention helps BIO fulfill its mission to help grow the global biotech industry.
10.5. PT. DEEN DAYAL UPADHAYAY VIGYAN GRAM SANKUL PARIYOJANA
Why in news?
- Recently, Ministry of Science and technology has launched Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana in Uttarakhand.
About Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhayay Vigyan Gram Sankul Pariyojana.
- Under the scheme Department of Science and Technology will adopt and develop a cluster of villages into self-sustainable in time bound manner.
- In this the local resources and manpower will be utilised which will be further imparted value addition in local produce and services.
- At present four clusters have been identified namely – Gaindikhata, Bazeera, Bhigun (in Garhwal) and Kausani (in Kumaon) which will be expanded further after validation of these clusters.
- Areas of intervention would include –
- Processing and value addition in milk, honey, mushrooms, herbal tea horticulture, forest produce etc.
- Traditional handicraft of Uttarakhand
- Post-harvest processing of Kiwi, strawberry, cherry, tulsi etc. through solar drying
- Extraction of apricot through cold press technology
- Stringent intervention in product and process control will also be maintained for energy and water conservation.