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Research and Development Programmes

The Department of Science and Technology has been playing a crucial role in identifying and promoting front-line and priority areas on Research and Development (R&D) in various disciplines of science and engineering. This support, is provided through Science and Engineering Research Council (External website that opens in a new window) (SERC) - an advisory body consisting of eminent scientists and technologists drawn from academic institutions like IITs, universities, national laboratories and industry. The Council through its advisory committees, assists the Department not only in peer reviewing the proposals but also identifies newer and interdisciplinary areas of R&D for concerted efforts. The Council, with the help of the advisory committees, also monitors progress of individual projects sponsored in various disciplines along with monitoring the progress of co-ordinated and concerted efforts. Every year around 1,000 project proposals are received for consideration in the Department, most of which fall in the category of basic sciences and engineering research.

Assessing the importance of the emerging, highly interdisciplinary field of Nanoscience and Technology, a national programme titled "Nanomaterials Science and Technology Initiative (External website that opens in a new window) (NSTI)" has been started. The programme focuses at overall research and development in nanoscience and technology with vigour so that India can become a significant player in the area and contribute to the development of new technologies.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of India's Independence, the Government launched Swarnajayanti Fellowships for enabling outstanding young scientists to attain world class levels in science. The Fellowships are open to Indian scientists in the age group of 30-40 years, with proven capability for outstanding research work exploring new frontiers in their field of specialisation.

Infrastructure Development: The Department through its various programmes has been playing a catalytic role in supporting the setting-up of new R&D facilities along with the modernisation of the existing ones. 'Intensification of Research in High Priority Areas' - IRHPA has helped in strengthening of the infrastructure and research capabilities in selected areas of science and engineering. Under this programme, units/core groups and National Research Facilities are established around an outstanding scientist to act as a focal point to nucleate research activity in these areas.

Universities are cradles of innovation and research. In order to provide and improve basic infrastructure in academic sector for research and teaching a scheme viz. Fund for Improvement of S&T (FIST) Infrastructure in Universities and Higher Educational Institutions was initiated during the 9th Five Year Plan. Under this programme support is provided for up-gradation of laboratories by providing equipment, computer networking, library facilities, etc. The programme identifies active university/academic departments for support through a peer review mechanism including on-site visits.

Human Resource Development: The Department also supports different programmes aimed at identifying new talent and provide them with financial assistance in the from of fellowships for pursuing research in front-line areas of science and technology. Also, for the researchers the Department supports training programmes, summer schools and contact programmes. The programmes supported are: BOYSCAST fellowships, SERC student fellowships, etc. Fellowships are also awarded to undergraduate students to get first hand exposure of research in leading research laboratories. To involve young scientists (below 35 years) in national S&T development process and to provide opportunities to them for pursuing exciting and innovative research ideas an exclusive scheme for Young Scientists is being implemented by the Department.

In order to motivate bright young minds at their secondary school/college levels, and to encourage them to stick on to a career in science, a new scheme called Kishore Vagyanik Protsahan Yojana has been initiated. Talent would be scouted through a competitive mechanism at school level and scholars would be selected for an attractive fellowship/scholarship until they pass their Masters Degree in Science. Further, in order to generate trained manpower in selected areas of science and technology, training courses, summer/winter schools were organised in theoretical chemistry, earth sciences, astronomy and astrophysics, lasers, optics, atomic and molecular physics.

Women Scientists Scheme has been launched during the year 2002 by the Department of Science and Technology. The scheme provides support to woman scientists, with or without a break in career, to pursue science in all its aspects and encourage them to continue in the scientific profession and also to contribute towards application of science and technology to societal development.

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 09-02-2011