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Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy

Topics Covered: Awareness in Science and Technology.

Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy:


Context:

The draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy released on Jan 1.

  • It could be game-changers for not just the scientific research community, but also for the way ordinary Indians interact with Science.

What is the overall philosophy behind the policy?

  • Unlike previous STI policies which were largely top-driven in formulation, the 5th national STI policy (STIP) follows core principles of being decentralised, evidence-informed, bottom-up, experts-driven, and inclusive.

Overall objectives:

  1. To position India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come.
  2. To attract, nurture, strengthen, and retain critical human capital through a people-centric STI ecosystem.
  3. To double the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers, gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) and private-sector contribution to GERD every five years.
  4. To build individual and institutional excellence in STI with the aim of reaching the highest levels of global recognition and awards in the coming decade.

Key components:

  1. It proposes an Open Science Framework, with free access for all to findings from publicly funded research.
  2. One Nation, One Subscription: The idea is to democratise science by providing access to scholarly knowledge to not just researchers but to every individual in the country.
  3. It suggests modification or waiver of General Financial Rules (GFR), for large-scale mission mode programmes and projects of national importance.

It has made recommendations such as:

  1. Mandatory positions for excluded groups in academics; 30% representation of women in selection/evaluation committees and decision-making groups.
  2. Addressing issues related to career breaks for women by considering academic age rather than biological/physical age.
  3. A dual recruitment policy for couples; and institutionalisation of equity and inclusion by establishing an Office of Equity and Inclusion, etc.

What are the learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic for India’s science and technology sector? How does the draft policy address those learnings?

In India, the pandemic presented an opportunity for R&D institutions, academia, and industry to work with a shared purpose, synergy, collaboration and cooperation, which helped the country develop the capability to produce these kits in record time.

  • The STIP draft focuses on the need to adopt such learnings for greater efficiency and synergy in future.

Sources: Indian Express.