The institutions under Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will take up research in various areas with a renewed vigour in the next couple of years.
Focus on medical plants used in Ayurveda for pharmacological research, opening up labs for industry for more collaborative efforts like incubation centres and technology transfer, affordable implements for farm sector and attracting the young into premier scientific institutions of the country are some of the key areas.
“Each lab has been asked to identify three projects and two technologies which have already been developed and these will now be deployed to the masses. Overall, some low-hanging fruit projects have been vetted to start immediate translation from lab to deliver results in the next 18-24 months,” explained CSIR Director General Girish Sahni.
This was decided by about 38 Directors of the top CSIR labs at a three-day brainstorming session held recently at Ghaziabad where it was decided to concentrate on “low-hanging fruits” to provide immediate tangible benefits to the society.
Impetus to the meeting’s reformist agenda has been Prime Minister Narender Modi’s nudge to CSIR to identify 100 problems facing the country and concentrate on immediate deliverables to provide direct benefits to the society.
“We have been doing a lot of work, but there is a need to change our orientation towards more partnerships with the industry to tackle the issues challenging the nation like drought, agriculture, drinking water availability and so on,” he averred, in a telephonic conversation.
Projects identified already have a scientific and technical base completed by the lab with the next phase action towards technology translation, identifying business opportunities and market needs in the areas of healthcare, medicines, diagnostic devices, agricultural sector, energy and environment, waste management, water mission and natural products.
Dr. Sahni said each lab has identified 10 problems to be taken up over the next two years under mission mode programme and to deliver products to the society in short timelines by “completing the last mile from lab to market”. Close interactions would also be taken up with fellow research bodies like the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), etc.
It was also decided to start diploma courses for students interested in the fields of metallurgy, bio-tech and many others to attract young talents for extensive skill development programme. To begin with, at least six institutions have been asked to start new courses from the forthcoming academic year itself.
“Our ongoing Indo-Swiss Partnership Programme in Chandigarh is a successful one and we plan to replicate it,” said the DG.
The action plan as outlined at the meeting include a major restructuring of the recruitment, promotions and incentives of the scientific personnel and reorient research towards outcomes. “We want to show results in the next two years. In fact, 60 per cent of our budget will be focused on deliverables,” added Dr. Sahni.