A push for self-reliance in technology, enhanced underwriting for science, technology and innovation with an earmarked budget by states, gender and social audits in academic and professional organisations are one of the major takeaways of the draft STIP 2020 that aims to position India some of the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come. The draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP) has been uploaded by the Branch of Science and Technology (DST) on its website. The DST has also invited suggestions, inputs and comments for making changes by January 25.
The policy states that its aim is “to succeed in technological self-reliance and position India some of the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come; to double the number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) researchers, Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) and private sector contribution to the GERD each 5 years; build individual and institutional excellence in STI with the aspiration to succeed in the highest level of global recognitions and awards in the coming decade”.
The policy also envisages the formation of an STI Development Bank for direct investments on quite a lot of long and medium-term projects in make a selection strategic areas, commercial ventures, start-ups, technology diffusion and licensing.
It also aims to create an accountable research ecosystem, promoting translational in addition to foundational research in the country in alignment with global standards.
The lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community will be included in gender fairness conversations with special provisions to safeguard its members’ rights and promote their representation and retention in STI, the draft policy states.
The STIP will lead to the establishment of a National STI Observatory that will act as a central repository for a wide variety of data related to and generated from the STI ecosystem. It’s going to encompass an open centralised database platform for all financial schemes, programmes, grants and incentives existing in the ecosystem.
The draft policy says an all-encompassing Open Science Framework will be built to supply access to scientific data, information, knowledge and resources to everyone in the country and all who are engaging with the Indian STI ecosystem on an equal partnership basis.
A committed portal to supply access to the outputs of such publicly-funded research will be created through the Indian Science and Technology Archive of Research (INDSTA).
The policy also proposes to create pathways for the government to negotiate with publication publishers for a “one nation, one subscription” policy, whereby, in return for a centrally-negotiated payment, all individuals in the country will have access to publication articles.
It also talks approximately strategies to strengthen STI education, making it inclusive at all levels and more connected with the economy and that the society will be developed through processes of skill building, training and infrastructure development. It also proposes to set up education research centres (ERCs) and collaborative research centres (CRCs) to supply research inputs to policymakers and bring together stakeholders.
With an aim to expand the financial landscape of the STI ecosystem, each and every branch or ministry in the central, state and native governments, public sector enterprises, private sector companies and startups will set up an STI unit each and every with a minimum earmarked budget to pursue STI activities.
“Each and every state will earmark a percentage of the state allocation for STI-related activities under a separate budget head. Foreign Multi National Companies (MNCs) will collaborate with domestic private and public sector entities on projects aligned to national needs and priorities,” the draft states.
It also proposes that hybrid underwriting models with enhanced participation from private and non-private sectors will be created through the Advanced Missions in Innovative Research Ecosystem (ADMIRE) initiative.
Research and Innovation Excellence Frameworks (RIEF) will be developed to improve the quality of research at the side of the promotion of engagements with the applicable stakeholders. Proper guidelines will be formulated to improve the operating and safety protocols related to research and development. The research culture will be reoriented to recognise social impacts at the side of academic achievements.
The DST, at the side of the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, started the process of formulating the STIP 2020 final year. The policy was once to be out by the year-end, but has been reasonably delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.