DST Centre for Policy Research, IISc
The DST- Centre for Policy Research (DST-CPR) at IISc is one of the outcomes of the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Policy, 2013 with the objective to create and strengthen the institutionalisation of policy research mechanism in India. It was established in August 2014 with the major goal of studying policies and mechanisms that can help increase the research impact of Indian institutions and thereby improve their position in global rankings.
The Centre engages closely with different government bodies, private organisations and academic institutions, of national and international repute to provide pragmatic and evidence-based recommendations for enhancing decision-making processes in STI. In addition to collaborative projects, research publications and reports, the Centre is actively involved in various outreach, capacity-building and training activities.
Centre is also responsible for managing the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy fellowship programme of DST (DST-STI-PFP). All DST-STI policy fellows from 2020 batch onwards are affiliated with the Centre and hosted at different institutes and government offices. Centre coordinates the programme, organises various events for fellow’s professional development and conducts their annual review.
During the initial couple of years, the Centre focused on building a strong foundation and expertise in Scientometrics with the help of leading scientometricians and information scientists. However, it has now expanded its focus to the following areas:
(2) Higher Education
(3) Open Science
(4) Research, Innovation & Enterprise
(5) Science Diplomacy
(1) Scientometrics Studies
Centre’s Scientometrics team led by Prof. Subbiah Arunachalam (a globally renowned scientometrician) developed a methodology for data-collecting and a general framework for studying the research performance of Indian institutions in various scientific disciplines. Based on the same methodology, performance of India in Chemistry research during 2006-2015 has been analyzed and the findings are published in Current Science. The findings attracted some attention both from researchers and popular media. During the year 2018-19, the team rolled-out this methodology for studying the research performance of some of the major disciplines, such as engineering, materials, astrophysics, mathematics and biological sciences.
In addition to research performance evaluation of scientific disciplines, the scientometrics team works closely with the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India on policy issues such as open access, STI indicators and data architectures. Also, the team works closely with the Clarivate Analytics technical team to improve their InCites platform on issues such as data discrepancy, distribution of journals into different quartiles, and clubbing all IITs (and many CSIR labs) together. This is important as this has helped not only our team but all users of InCites worldwide in terms of getting relevant as well as more accurate data.
(2) Higher Education
Higher education institutions play a central role in developing the human, social, and knowledge capital of the STI ecosystems. The Centre’s work on higher education is focused on: (a) scientometric studies of publications from Indian institutions with a view to elucidate their research productivity and strengths in different fields of science and technology, and (b) a study on doctoral education in India whose aim is to assess the level and quality of training received by doctoral students to prepare them for both academic and non-academic careers.
(3) Open Science
Open science is an umbrella term referring to verticals like open access, open research data, open research protocols, sharing of research infrastructure, and citizen science. In continuation of the Centre’s research on studying the knowledge dissemination component, especially the ongoing transition in scholarly communication practices, this work focuses on critically examining strategies and policy choices for open access publishing and open science practices in India.
(4) Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship: Innovation and entrepreneurship are widely recognized as the engines of economic growth and development. It is important to analyze the major drivers, barriers, opportunities, and challenges to entrepreneurship in the country. Thus, under the mandate, the Centre is focused on analyzing policies and programs for promoting science and technology driven entrepreneurship, institutional practices conducive to the process of exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities, knowledge spillovers, and R&D funding.
Biofuel policy: Bioenergy plays a crucial role in the renewable energy transition in India. The Centre’s research on biofuel policy has studied (a) the vulnerability and politics behind the transition, and (b) different efforts by the government to move the country towards a bioeconomy, more specifically the efforts to develop lignocellulose-based bioethanol and biogas, commonly known as second generation (2G) biofuels.
Rare Diseases Research Ecosystem: Science policy interventions play a central role in the advancement of research in rare diseases. The Centre’s work on rare disease research ecosystem is focused on (a) studying the impact of public policy and public health interventions on the quality-of-life outcomes of persons with rare diseases, (b) stakeholder-mapping and analysis of public policies for promoting rare disease research in India, and (c) implications of open data practices for rare disease research and treatment.
(5) STI Diplomacy
Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Diplomacy is being increasingly used by countries around the world as an important instrument in foreign policy and diplomacy activities, especially in commercializing the nascent and potential capabilities of national STI ecosystems in emerging and strategic technologies such as Quantum Technologies, Artificial Intelligence, and Biotechnology. The Centre’s research on STI diplomacy is focused on (a) studying the role of STI, particularly in emerging technologies, in India’s foreign policy agenda, and (b) examining relationships between India’s STI capabilities and foreign policy goals, and (c) developing policy options for India’s efforts in STI diplomacy.
National and International linkages
The Centre had developed strong linkages with various national and international organizations. There are active MoUs with NITI Aayog and National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bengaluru. The DST-CPR team at IISc had established a working relationship with agencies and institutions such as UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), Science and Engineering Indicators Unit of National Science Foundation (NSF), UNESCO Science Policy and Capacity-building Division, University of Sussex (UK), Institute of Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany), UNU-MERIT and Maastricht University (Netherlands), OECD, PSA Office (GoI), NSTMIS (DST) and SPARC (Washington DC). Additionally, the Centre is in discussion with a few leading public policy schools in India to explore the possibilities of jointly developing a semester-long project work for their public policy masters’ students with a specific focus on science, technology and innovation.
Center’s outcome summary report (December 2021):