Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The 97-year-old Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will be formally upgraded and re-designated on Friday as a separate Department of Health Research under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The ICMR is the country’s apex body for formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.

This has been done keeping in mind the health scenario that calls for a closer interaction with the health systems and disease control programmes supported by the continued utilisation of scientific and technological advances.

The present ICMR structure does not facilitate meeting some of the challenges to its fullest potential, according to an official spokesperson of the Ministry. The new department will build upon and effectively utilise the research capacity and capabilities to engage in effective health systems research, conduct research into social determinants of health and develop technologies and products that respond to national health priorities.

By setting up the new department, the Ministry hopes to put research on top priority. The department would provide leadership and support in generation of new knowledge, improve medical and health research in medical schools and colleges and help in providing inputs for operationalisation of disease control programmes.

It would address the manpower and infrastructure needs for medical and health research and assess the health technology and health sciences developed and take these up at various levels of government to translate the research results into policy.

The Department of Health Research will also be able to interact effectively with the policymakers so that the health investment policies and interventions are based on scientific input.