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Aug 19, 2019 (Kolkata)
OFB signs MoU with CSIR for development of new products
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Kolkata on 16 August 2019.The MoU was signed by Umesh Singh, Deputy Director General of OFB and Dr Harish Hirani, Director of the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute, Durgapur under CSIR.
This MoU is an umbrella arrangement under which individual factories under OFB can collaborate with specific CSIR laboratories for taking up of new R & D projects. The MoU will facilitate collaboration and exchange of information between OFB and CSIR on a wide range of technologies.
The MoU has been signed as part of the ongoing efforts to boost the in-house research and development (R & D) capability of the OFB so as to give a boost to the 'Make in India' initiative of the Government of India.
Aug 8, 2019 (New Delhi)
Research will make India a world leader - Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'
Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' chaired the meeting of Secretaries of Higher and Technical Education of States & Union Territories to discuss the draft New Education Policy (NEP) here today.
Speaking on the Occasion the Minister said that the research is the foundation for the development of any country and India will again become a world leader by giving boost to research in the country. Shri Nishank said that states have a very important role in the new education policy. He called upon all the states that there should be more brainstorming before framing the new education policy. He added that the education policy is for the whole country and everyone's participation in the country's policy should be ensured.
The Union Minister said that the draft National Education Policy is the result of detailed consultations with all stakeholders in the last 4 years. The aim of the National Education Policy is to bring reforms in the Indian education system so that India can play a major role in the global knowledge system. He further said that there are many provisions in this draft which will give a new direction to education sector of the country.
In the draft NEP, provisions like the restructuring of higher education, promotion of research by the National Research Foundation, promotion of Indian languages, bringing more financial resources in this area and promoting more autonomy in the higher education system have been made for the holistic development of education.
Shri Nishank said that higher education today needs to be more employable, research oriented, innovative, technology-oriented and accountable, so that the youth can get the right direction. The Minister further said that our education system also has an important responsibility to establish the country as a global power by meeting international standards.
Shri Nishank said that to improve the quality of education, there is a need to fill the vacant posts in all educational institutions immediately. He stressed that all states need to think seriously on this issue. The Minister also said that for the better future of the country, we have a responsibility to implement our strategies in a timely manner to benefit all the students in the country.
July 31, 2019 (Hyderabad)
Govt-funded R&D facilities may now become accessible to pvt firms, individuals
A portal will facilitate sharing
The Research & Development (R&D) infrastructure and other resources of public-funded entities will soon be opened up for private firms and individuals to carry out their research.
"Sharing of publicly-funded R&D resources has become ever more urgent owing to the very high cost of equipment and facilities and costs laid out over their future operation and maintenance," says a draft, which has been released for feedback/comments from pharma, biotech industry and other stakeholders. Access may be provided for a fee, at subsidised rates or even free of cost, depending on the government policy.
The Centre is working on launching an integrated portal to be called Indian Science, Technology and Engineering Facilities Map, I-STEM Portal, in this regard.
The portal, which will have an up-to-date list of all functioning R&D equipment and facilities procured through government grants located at various institutions and organisation, will be made open to the public, according to the draft guidelines on sharing of public-funded R&D resources, released by Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
The advanced information technologies can enable the sharing of resources a reality as different agencies of government can create and maintain an updated national and regional inventory of resources.
"This has the potential for revving up R&D productivity and enhancing the effectiveness of public investment. Apparently, the motto is linking researchers and resources," the draft said.
A nodal office should be set up at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore to establish, operate and maintain the I-STEM portal, it suggested. If this becomes a reality, key and expensive equipment installed in various entities, including national and regional research labs under the administrative control of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, among others, could be thrown open to private and individual research projects.
July 22, 2019 (New Delhi)
Government of India is running several research fellowship schemes to attract meritorious students into research-HRD Minister
The undergraduate programmes in the premier institutions such as Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) are the most sought after academic programmes. However, only few of them opt to pursue research after completing their B.Tech. courses. In order to attract these meritorious students into research, Government of India, in 2018 launched Prime Minister's Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme, which offers direct admission to such students in the Ph.D porgrammes in the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISERs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) with attractive fellowship of Rs.70,000/- to Rs.80,000/- per month. In addition, a research grant of Rs.2 lakh per year is provided to the selected fellows for a period of five years to present research papers. With further modification, the scheme has been opened for eligible students from all recognized institutions/universities in the country. The rate of fellowship/emoluments for other Ph.D, Junior Research Fellows (JRF) and Senior Research Fellows (SRFs) has also been revised from the existing Rs.25,000/- to Rs.31,000/- and Rs. 28,000/- to Rs.35,000/- per month effective from 01.01.2019. All students pursuing M.Tech. programmes in the Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs) and those affiliated with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) are offered a monthly fellowship of Rs.12,400/-.
The Department of Science & Technology has also revised the rates of emoluments for Research Associates from the existing Rs.36,000 to 47,000/-, Rs.38,000/- to 49,000/- and Rs.40,000/- to Rs.54,000/- per month as per eligibility. As regards foreign students taking up R&D, no such centralized data is maintained.
The information was given by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
July 22, 2019 (New Delhi)
And the CSIR award goes to... its chief
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has given away one of its prestigious awards to its former director-general a month after his retirement, triggering murmurs of protests within the CSIR family
Scientists described it as a probable case of 'conflict of interest' that needs to be probed. In 2018, the council presented its 'CSIR Technology Award' in the category of life sciences to the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH), Chandigarh, for developing a state-of-the-art clot-buster drug known as clot specific streptokinase.
Girish Sahni, a scientist who developed the indigenous clot-buster during his long research career at IMTECH, was the director-general of CSIR when his pet project was selected for the award.
"The streptokinase technology was developed years ago. The CSIR had even signed a commercial agreement with a pharmaceutical company in 2011. Then why was it awarded at a time when Sahni was at the helm of affairs to throw around his influence? The issue of conflict of interest can?t be ruled out and the CSIR headquarters must come out clean," a senior CSIR scientist, who didn't wish to be identified, told DH.
Sahni retired as a CSIR director-general on August 23, 2018. The CSIR awards are presented every year on its foundation day on September 26. But the process of selecting the award by a 14-member jury was carried out when Sahni was in charge of India's oldest research council.
A CSIR spokesperson said, "In 2018, the (selection) committee, after deliberations, recommended the nomination 'Clot Busters for Thrombolytic Therapy' submitted by a group of scientists of IMTECH for the award. By a coincidence, Sahni was one of the contributing scientists of IMTECH for the nomination."
"The nominations for CSIR technology awards are scrutinised in detail, deliberated and selected by respective award selection committee comprising high level external members drawn from various institutions in India. This committee is an independent one; non-members (including director-general, CSIR) don't participate in the meeting," the spokesperson said.
Sahni responded to DH, countering the charges. "I'm not aware of any personal knowledge or intervention in this matter. To the best of my knowledge, no influence was exercised. For me, it's very difficult to comment more than this. I can say with utmost honesty that I have a clear conscience in this matter. A large group of scientists and students worked on this project for several years and created a strong societal impact," he said.
Incidentally, the charges against the former CSIR chief come at a time when India's principal scientific advisor has come out with a draft national policy on academic ethics. In one of the chapters dealing with science administration, it says, "Conflicts of interest have to be avoided. When potential conflicts are liable to occur, the official must make this known to the concerned colleagues."
July 18, 2019 (New Delhi)
Indian agreement to boost 'IP culture' in defence
Indian government agencies have signed an agreement to strengthen intellectual property (IP) rights within India's defence industry.The Ministry of Defence said on 10 July that the agreement was signed by the Department of Defence Production's Intellectual Property Facilitation Cell (IPFC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology's National Research Development Corporation (NRDC).
The MoD said the partnership between the IPFC and NRDC is ?expected to bridge a capacity shortfall and provide a major fillip to the ongoing efforts of the MoD towards promoting a culture of innovation and IP rights in India's defence industry".The agreement is intended to enable the two agencies to support domestic defence companies to file patents for defence technologies and to commercialise related products and IPs.
India's Defence Production Secretary Ajay Kumar announced in June that India's state-owned enterprises filed for 730 patents during fiscal year (FY) 2018?19 and are aiming to file 1,000 patents in FY 2019?20.Mr.Kumar said the growth was because of the success of the Indian government's campaign - launched in November 2018 - to boost the IP rights culture within India's defence industry.
This campaign is dubbed 'Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti' (MRGS) and as part of related reforms the IPFC was launched in 2018 under the DDP's Directorate General of Quality Assurance.
July 18, 2019 (New Delhi)
MoU Signed between Ministry of Health and Ministry of AYUSH for 'Tuberculosis Free India' initiative
Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare have signed MoU today to forge inter-sectoral convergence at the level of policy, planning and programme implementation for accelerated response towards "Tuberculosis Free India" initiative. The intended collaboration between the two Ministries aims at development of linkages and integration of TB care services within the infrastructure and institutional network of AYUSH. The MoU was signed by Secretary Health and Family Welfare Smt. Preeti Sudan and Secretary AYUSH, Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha in the presence of Minister of Health and Family Welfare Shri Harshvardhan, MoS Health and Family Welfare Shri Ashwini Choubey and Minister of State for AYUSH and MoS Defence Shri Shripad Yesso Naik.
On this occasion Shri Shripad Naik said that Tuberculosis is not only a challenge for medical fraternity but also a serious social problems mainly hitting the populations battling with poverty, malnutrition, poor hygiene, housing and working conditions. The Minister said that AYUSH systems have potential knowledge base, qualified & trained human resources and holistic healthcare practices to help achieving the objective of TB- free India. He further said that accordingly, it is expected that multifaceted issues of the people suffering from TB can be addressed with integrated approaches, inter- sectoral convergence and meaningful involvement of AYUSH sector.
The MoU with the Central TB Division of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare outlines the scope and extent of AYUSH involvement in sensitization, awareness generation, capacity building of AYUSH institutions and health service providers in the areas of TB diagnosis, control and management. Focused activities envisaged under the MoU will cover joint planning to work with AYUSH organisations & professional bodies and promote adjuvant use of evidence- based AYUSH interventions for, TB control and management. It is also intended to facilitate research collaboration and best practices of AYUSH healthcare and build up capacities for TB-free work places and communities. Both Ministries will appoint Nodal Officers for development of implementation plan, modalities of operationalization and steering the collaboration activities outlined in the MoU.
July 16, 2019 (New Delhi)
IIT Delhi signs MoU with five CSIR laboratories to promote cooperative research
As a part of MoU, IIT Delhi plans to promote collaborative research, exchange of ideas, development of knowledge, enhancing high quality research throughput.
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, recognised by the Government of India as an Institution of Eminence,has entered into an agreement with five of the renowned national laboratories of by signing an MoU to promote cooperative research. The laboratories are CSIR-Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute, CSIRCentral Scientific Instruments Organisation, CSIR-Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute, CSIRInstitute of Minerals & Materials Technology and CSIR-National Physical Laboratory of India.
CSIR or Council of Scientific and Industrial Research works under the Government of India as the largest research and development organisation in the country.The MoU was signed by the Directors of the laboratories and Prof V. Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi in the presence of Dr Shekhar C. Mande, DG, CSIR today.Prof. Rao in his opening remarks said that IIT Delhi has been pioneering in providing its students and faculty with world class infrastructure and conducive environment for research.He also spoke about the plans to initiate about 60 Interdisciplinary Research projects with the five CSIR laboratories this year.
Welcoming the partnership, Dr Mande said that the CSIR laboratories can benefit immensely with such collaborations that are in the mutual interest areas of research and together it can participate more proactively in solving nation's persisting problem in the areas of science and technology, healthcare. As a part of MoU, IIT Delhi plans to promote collaborative research, exchange of ideas, development of knowledge, enhancing high quality research throughput. The MoU would also serve as a platform to students, faculty and other research scholars equally to contribute towards research and development growth of nation and fuelling its growth, an IIT Delhi statement said.
July 5, 2019 (New Delhi)
HRD plans National Research Foundation
The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry is working on a plan to create a National Research Foundation (NRF) and is veering towards structuring it as a commission created by an act of Parliament and headed by the Prime Minister.
The NRF's mandate is to foster research, much like the US' National Science Foundation does, although it will do this by working almost exclusively through universities and premier educational institutions.
Some people expect an announcement of the funding and creation of NRF to come in the Union Budget which will be presented on Friday.
According to a senior government official familiar with the matter, a panel of nearly 80 experts including NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, former revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Niti Aayog, principal scientific adviser to the PM, K VijayRaghaThe van, former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan, former Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan and top HRD officials led by higher education secretary R Subrahmanyam, has given a detailed plan on setting up NRF to the ministry.
According to the report submitted by these experts under the ministry's Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP), NRF may be commission by an Act of Parliament and will aim at achieving excellence in knowledge creation and research and innovation infrastructure.
Its operations should follow a so-called hub-and-spoke model with a network of Centres of Excellence (CoEs) located in premier institutions, the report further says.
NRF will fund research projects through grants. It will establish high- intensity thematic research labs in areas of science such as oceanography, nanotechnology, and Information & Communication Technology.
"NRF will be an apex body formed under the chairmanship of Prime Minister and will aim for excellence in knowledge, people and infrastructure. It will focus on promoting R&D activities in branches of science and technology, humanities and social sciences identified through national and state missions," the report says.
HT has reviewed a copy of the report.
According to the panel, which was formed on the direction of the Prime Minister's office and whose report was submitted to HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, NRF will establish and support research centres in existing higher education institutions. It will also support and fund postdoctoral students.
"The overarching goal of NRF will be to enable a culture of research to permeate through our universities. In particular, NRF will explicitly aim to remove the current obstacles in creating a global quality research ecosystem in the country by providing a reliable base of merit-based peerreviewed research funding, helping to develop a culture of research in the country through suitable incentives for and recognition of outstanding research, and by undertaking major initiatives to seed and grow research at state universities and other public institutions where research capability is currently limited," the report says.
The report also calls for an innovation fund for supporting innovative projects at pre-incubation, incubation and start-up levels.
"It is an excellent idea. The New Education Policy draft has also called for setting up a research foundation. However, creating it through an act of parliament and headed by the prime minister as aspects will add to its stature...," said former UGC member Inder Mohan Kapahy.