The year 2020 has been the ‘Year of Science’ when the best of humanity has shone through the gloom that descended upon us due to the COVID19 pandemic. It is a matter of record that as the spread of the disease accelerated, so did the research efforts to mitigate this.
India’s Ranking In Innovations
- India is placed 3rd among countries in scientific publication as per NSF database.
- The country has featured within the top 50 innovative economies globally (at 48th rank), as per Global Innovation Index (GII).
- It has also reached 3rd Position in terms of no of PhDs, in size of Higher Education System; as well as in terms of No of Startups.
India is a key Mover of Global S&T Efforts
- India has emerged as an inevitable member of leading international scientific coalitions– notably, global efforts in vaccine research, development and supply, and global partnership on artificial intelligence (GPAI) to name a few.
- India was elected as Chair of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board which is a yet another remarkable achievement and recognition of India’s S&T prowess.
DRAFT 5thNational Science Technology and Innovation Policy
- The draft of the 5th National Science Technology and Innovation Policy has been finalized and is now available for public consultation.
- The policy drafted through a 4 track process of consultations during last 6 months aims to bring about profound changes through short, medium and long- term mission mode projects by building a nurtured ecosystem that promotes research and innovation on the part of both individuals and organizations.
- It aims to foster, develop, and nurture a robust system for evidence and stakeholder- driven STI planning, information, evaluation, and policy research in India.
- The objective of the policy is to identify and address strengths and weaknesses of the Indian STI ecosystem to catalyse socio-economic developmentof the country and also make the Indian STI ecosystem globally competitive.
DST’S Programmes Triggered extraordinary performance of Innovation Ecosystem
- The National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovation (NIDHI) made some major impacts on India’s Innovation ecosystem by nurturing 3,681 startups through a network of 153 incubators created by DST, which generated 65,864 jobs as cumulative direct employment, created a wealth of Rs 27,262 crores and generated 1,992 intellectual property.
- The “Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge (MANAK)” programme brought 3.8 mn ideas from middle and high schools across the country, out of which some brilliant ones have been shortlisted for showcasing at district, state and then at the National Level Exhibition & Project Competition.
Mathematical Model predicts the rise and fall of the pandemic
- India National Supermodel Committee predicted the rise and fall of the pandemic over time.
- The modelling study called the ‘COVID-19 India National Supermodel’ deduced that India passed its COVID-19 peak in September and, if current trends continue, there will be ‘minimal cases’ by February.
- However, they warned that there is no place for complacence and existing personal safety protocols need to continue in full measure.
- The deduction is the result of analysis by an expert committee consisting of mathematicians and epidemiologists.
- The National Super Computing Mission (NSM) is rapidly boosting High-Performance Computing (HPC) in the country to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups in oil exploration, flood prediction, genomics, and drug discovery.
- Param Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by Param Shakti and Param Brahma at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune, respectively.
- Thereafter, facilities were set up in two more institutions, and MoUs signed for providing itto 13 institutions.
- Param Siddhi ,the high-performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI), achieved global ranking of 63 among the top 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems.
Climate Change Research
- Three Centres of Excellence (CoE) were established in Himalayan Universities in Kashmir, and North Eastern States of Sikkim & Assam to lead climate change research.
- Research on monsoons, aerosols, glacial lake outburst floods saw significant publications.
- A study published in journal Science showed planetary wave from the North Atlantic is capable of derailing the Indian monsoon.
- Research published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics’ showed that aerosols increased incidents of high rainfall in the Himalayan foothills.
- Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, initiated a Scheme to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in Indian academic institutions and R&D laboratories.
- A well-thought- out Scheme titled “SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)” has beendesigned exclusively for women scientists and was launched on 29 October 2020.
- SERB-POWER promotes women researchers in regular service in academic and research institutions to take up R&D at the highest level through two categories of research support, namely, SERB – POWER Fellowship and SERB – POWER Research Grants.