Science & Technology in Pursuit of Excellence & Social Development In India
Editor's Note: Ines Zamur has posted a Haitian Creole translation of this article: Syans ak Teknoloji nan Pousuiv Ekselans & devlopman sosyal Nan End .
New Delhi, Jan 24, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / PIB-India) Advancing science and technology and scientific knowledge is one of our loftiest pursuits. Established in May, 1971, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) bears the primary mandate to strengthen the foundation of science and technology (S&T) and research and development (R&D) in India. The Department has now redefined its own role and has coordinated more with other ministries as well as countries in the process.
The Department of Science & Technology is mandated to play a critical role in formulation of S&T policy statements and guidelines. The promotion of research in frontier and new areas as well as in networking the institutions, coordinating multi-institutional projects and establishing S&T specific infrastructure are the country wide S&T lead roles that come naturally to DST. DST aids a number of autonomous scientific research institutions in specialized areas. The Extra Mural Research Funding role has dominated the functions of DST for many years and Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) is its flagship agency. There are several landmark developments with potentials for directional changes within the Department & across entire S&T spectrum of the country under its established and unfolding programmes.
During the eleventh plan period, DST has embarked upon a multi pronged approach to further strengthen its service to excellence in the S&T sector and Society at large.
Pursuit Of Excellence
Vigorous R&D efforts are key to the competitive edge of country’s S&T and also for it’s economic development. Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) has enhanced the Indian capability and global visibility in research. Level of funding support per scientist has been driven to critical levels. It has created and nurtured competency in frontier areas of global standards especially like Plasma Physics; Structural Biology; Neuroscience, Organic Synthesis; Robotics & Manufacturing, Biomedical Engineering and so on etc. SERC has emerged as a national model for a transparent & rigorous peer review mechanism. Under the SERC/PAC mechanism a total of about 530 new projects costing about Rs.160.3 crores were sanctioned in 2009-10, and support continued for about 1250 ongoing projects.
SERC supported research lead to about 1200 papers annually with an average per paper impact factor rating of about 2.2 and evidence for enrolment of about 300 new entrants to research in academic sector. There is a Mentorship scheme in place for the Investigators. The R&D promotion is further intensified through innovative programmes such as Intensification of Research in High Priority Areas (IRHPA), Fund for Improvement of S&T Infrastructure in Universities and Higher Educational Institutions (FIST), FAST Track Young Scientist’s R&D programme and prestigious Fellowships bearing names of great Indian scientists like J.C Bose, Ramanujan, Ramanna, etc.
The Science and Engineering Research Board functions as an autonomous body for funding research and partner’s DST in the development as well as promotional roles.
Mega Facilities For Basic Research are supported for internationally important high value projects, at the moment including continued participation in the CMS, ALICE and LHC GRID projects at CERN Geneva, Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) in Germany, India-based Neutrino Observatory, International Linear Collider Project, building a Beam Line at the Elletra Synchrotron Radiation Source in Italy, and building a Large Optical Telescope. Participation in Giant Segmented Mirror Telescope (GSMT) project is also envisaged.
The National Mission On Nano Science And Nano Technology is an umbrella programme under which during 2009-10, 32 R&D projects, 2 new Units on Nano Science at IISER, Pune and IIT, Madras, Chennai and one M. Tech. programme in Nano Technology at JNTU, Hyderabad are being in addition to the ongoing programmes.
The Technology Development Programme (TDP), redesigned for implementation of convergent technology solutions to socially significant problems, aims at priorities like water security, solar energy and alternate fuels. Network initiatives, rather than individual demonstration of technology elements, have now been mounted. Some of the major achievements include: Development of Human Pulse Detection and Analysis System for diagnosis by Ayurvedic Way; Development of a Fluorescence based biosensor for detection of iron; Development of Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) based online instrument for quality assessment in Edible Oil Industry; Development of a continuous feed equipment for extraction of Aloe Vera Gel, and Real time evaluation of X-ray imaging based mango sorting system, Electrically enhanced Transdermal Drug Delivery System, and Development of Automatic Remote Accessible Rain-Gauge at IISc, Bangalore.
With Inputs from the Department of Science & Technology