Rare diseases (RD) are severe and debilitating conditions that affect a small fraction of the population. These diseases are often not prioritised in the agenda-setting of government or the pharmaceutical industry. As such, there is a huge lack of awareness and medical attention to these diseases. This project aims to analyse the policy environment in India and identify the facilitators and barriers towards achieving equitable and affordable healthcare for people living with RDs. Through this project, we also attempt to explore ways to integrate public health thinking into RD management, raise awareness, and initiate discussion around RDs in India.
For more information, please contact Dr. Mohua Chakraborty Choudhury- email@example.com
The benefits of open science are multifold. It fosters transparency and efficiency of research and encourages collaborations and maximum resource utilisation. Overall, open science stimulates economic growth and meaningful scientific interventions in public lives. If we can adapt the practices of open science, it will be beneficial to guide the Indian research system towards higher competitiveness and quality. Researchers from the publicly funded Universities should share research publications and more importantly, research data, which includes negative results as well. More engagement/ dialogue between researchers and the public must be encouraged to make research more societal-need driven. There is an urgent need to stop relying on a “one-sided evaluation system” based on research articles and journal impact factors for research evaluation, funding. More importantly, the very fundamental of research projects must be the need of the society, not driven by the research choices of high impact commercial journals.
Free flow of science will help promote a transparent, collaborative and inspirational research process. The advancement of digital technologies has created online platforms to organise and publish the results of research projects, scientific publications and large data sets and make them available to a broader scientific community, potential users from the MSME sectors and the public in general. Cross-discipline learning and collaboration became a reality with the advancement of technologies. However, only a smaller section of the scientific community has woken up to support the causes of open science. We need wider participation to make open science a reality. It is very much true for India as well. We are far behind in adopting the open science practices. Nurturing open science will need some push from the system to make the researchers adopt open science practices. It’s high time for us to embrace the concepts of open science. Open science can potentially navigate the current research ecosystem from publications driven to societal need driven.
For more information, please contact Dr. Momita Koley- firstname.lastname@example.org
Emerging Technologies such as AI, Blockchain, Genome editing and Quantum technologies are essential drivers of the next phase of development. However, their immense possible impact on all walks of life necessitates the formulation of policy frameworks for their governance. Such policy frameworks should also incorporate tech diplomacy and global tech governance dimensions due to the inherently transboundary nature of these technologies. This project is an early attempt towards developing policy and governance frameworks for emerging technologies with the initial focus on Genome editing and Quantum technologies.
For more information, please contact Dr. Suryesh K Namdeo- email@example.com
Technology Assessment (TA) & Vision Analysis
The term TA has both broad and specific implications based on its country-specific and issue-specific usage. In India, although, there is little recognition for the name TA, many activities undertaken by the government or private organizations could be categorized as serving a TA-like function. The aim of this study is to look at different ways in which TA is understood and undertaken in the Indian context. The study, based on expert inputs and secondary literature, brings a historical understanding of different S&T values projected through different science policies in India and presents TA in relation to these values. The study concludes that India has a rich mix of different forms of TA. A special contribution of the Indian context for a global TA is its capacity and rich tradition of critical discourse on S&T which adds a new category of TA as critical discourse. The current challenge in front of India is to bring together all forms of TA being practiced in the country and make their best use by systematically connecting them to the S&T policy process.
Women in Science in India
The gap in the representation of women in higher institutes of scientific research and study is known to all. Their representation is minimal even in achieving prestigious awards, or even prestigious institutions of science. Various studies have been conducted over the last couple of decades, and the conclusions of all these studies are not in favor of women, and bring out the picture that the representation of women in absolute numbers exceptionally low. Women also face more difficulties in their careers than men, being in a certain social context that still hasn’t completely accepted women as scientists.
This project looks at the questions of interests of women in science and vice versa, their presence in science in a historical continuum, their career trajectories in socio-cultural context of doing science in India and changing gender relations in science in India in the context of an increasingly globalizing world.
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)
Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is part of a larger set of ideas and initiatives addressing socially responsible innovation and describes a research and innovation process that considers effects and potential impacts on the environment and society. RRI “refers to the comprehensive approach of proceeding in research and innovation in ways that allow all stakeholders that are involved in the processes of research and innovation at an early stage (A) to obtain relevant knowledge on the consequences of the outcomes of their actions and on the range of options open to them and (B) to effectively evaluate both outcomes and options in terms of societal needs and moral values and (C) to use these considerations (under A and B) as functional requirements for design and development of new research, products and services.”[a] The Centre has the following on-going research projects under this theme.
1. Responsible Research and Innovation to engage with Vulnerabilities of Agricultural Systems
2. Transitioning to a bio-based economy: a comparative study of innovation ecosystem for II generation (lignocellulose based) biofuels in India and Brazil.
3. What twirls the triple-helix for biofuels: A scientometrics and patentometrics study of top five biofuel producers in the world.
[a] European Commission (2013). “Options for Strengthening Responsible Research and Innovation – Report of the Expert Group on the State of Art in Europe on Responsible Research and Innovation” (PDF). doi:10.2777/46253.
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.
Government Science Advice
Science advice plays an inevitable role in evidence-based policy-making. Particularly, in the post-truth era, the demand for scientific evidence is more than ever before. However, in this age of information abundance, finding reliable and appropriate evidence to supporting rational policy choices are crucial. For this reason, various governments across the world are now focusing on building a robust science advisory mechanism or strengthening their existing science advisory setup. With this backdrop, the study attempts to understand the structure and knowledge flow of the existing science advice mechanism in India. The study covers the science advice process both at the Centre and State level; and interlink between them.
Policies for Industrial R&D
Research and Development (R&D) is an important contributor to the economy of any country and hence growth and sustainability of R&D is vital for a country’s growth. Investments into R&D by both the public and private sectors is equally essential. In developed and emerging economies, the private : public investments into R&D are generally in the range of 2:1. On the other hand, in India, private investments into R&D are estimated at only half of that of the public sector (i.e., 0.5:1). In fact, India is one among the countries which offers a very generous set of (fiscal and non-fiscal) incentives to encourage private participation in the R&D activities. Despite that, there are challenges in advancing and strengthening India’s Industrial R&D (private engagement in R&D) capabilities. This study aims to capture the details of the challenges involved in engaging private sector in the R&D activities in Indian context; and explores the possible policy options that could address some of these identified challenges by having a correlational understanding between the challenges and feasible incentives.