Govt plans index to ensure ease of doing scientific research – Mint

The Centre is preparing a new playbook to coordinate high-impact research funding in a bid to promote scientific research on a par with global standards. As part of the plan, it is developing an “Ease of Doing Science Index” to ensure effective use of both disbursed funds and the time to weed out sub-standard research work.

According to the draft national biotechnology development strategy 2020-24, reviewed by Mint, the database will be a central repository for government-funded research, both completed and existing projects, and will help direct funding towards strategically important areas.

“Bringing in ease of doing science is critical to doing quality science with direction and relevance, some of which translates into socioeconomic opportunities with speed. The new science technology and innovation policy 2021 has a special focus on this aspect,” said Professor Ashutosh Sharma, secretary of department of science and technology. The proposed policy aims to develop regulatory guidelines for plants, microbes, insects, poultry, livestock and gene editing, besides other cutting-edge technologies.

The draft policy also proposes to set up a think tank and forecast and develop policy white papers on emerging and strategic priority areas.

“Educational curriculum needs to be aligned to prepare students as per industry demands and creating and strengthening state-of-the-art research facilities and translational centres,” the draft says.

The policy aims to focus on building a strong partnership between research and academia through venture capital funding for high-risk projects and enhancing research and development expenditure by the industry to strengthen the link between research projects and commercialization. In tune with PM Narendra Modi’s announcement that efforts were being made to ensure ‘Ease of doing Science’, budget 2021 allotted 14,798 crore for the ministry of science and technology. Sharma said the funds will be in addition to the existing corpus of extramural funds from the DST and the department of biotechnology.

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