The year 2018 saw science in India getting further recognized as one of the most powerful instruments of growth and development, especially in the emerging competitive economy.
The Department of Science and Technology was one of the major drivers for this through the novel initiatives it has launched in emerging areas like Cyber Physical Systems, the opportunities like new fellowships it has initiated, the benefits of S&T it has reached to the people like air purifier technologies for vehicular junctions and the international collaborations it has facilitated to boost excellence in science.
Reaching S&T benefits to people—energy, water and others
Wind purification Unit to combat vehicular pollution
WAYU (Wind Augmentation and purify Ying Unit) was inaugurated in September by Union Science & Technology Minister at ITO intersection and Mukarba Chowk in New Delhi. WAYU helps in reducing ambient air pollution levels emitted by vehicles at places which have high concentration of pollutants. WAYU can reduce PM10, PM2.5, CO, VOCs, HC emitted in the atmosphere. The cost of device is Rs.60, 000 per device with a maintenance cost of Rs.1500 per month.
India’s first supercritical Brayton Cycle CO2 test facility for clean energy generation
A super critical carbon di oxide Brayton test loop facility was developed that would help generate clean energy from future power plants including solar thermal. This next generation technology loop was developed indigenously by Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
This is India’s first test-bed for next generation, efficient, compact, waterless super critical carbon dioxide Brayton cycle test loop for power generation. The technology is perhaps the first test loop coupled with solar heat source in the world.
This early stage research could potentially be useful for meeting the energy needs of the country. The new generation high efficiency power plants with closed cycle carbon dioxide as the working fluid have the potential to replace steam based nuclear and thermal power plants, thus reducing the carbon foot print significantly.
Low cost process developed for dye adsorption using nanotechnology
A pilot plant which can replace secondary treatment unit with low cost process for dye adsorption on acid modified soil was installed at CETP Jodhpur. It used visible light catalysis & carbon nano-mat fiber filter technology comprising Zinc oxide-Graphene based sensitive photo catalytic filter and was supported by Department of Science & Technology (DST) for effluent treatment at the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) Jodhpur.
The field based project provides a solution for textile effluent through colour removal, pH neutralization, reduction in total organic contaminants. The plant is intended to cater to treatment of the effluent generated in individual units up to a capacity of 10 Kiloliters per day before discharge into natural water bodies.
Low cost water level measurement modules
A research programme on optimal operation of water distribution networks helped develop and deploy a system consisting of a low power wireless sensor and actuator network for monitoring and control of water distribution networks in IIT Madras. The network consists of low cost water level measurement modules (remote node), relay nodes, gateway nodes and actuator nodes. This model will now be replicated in multi-village and industrial township schemes.
National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems launched
One of the biggest developments of the year was the approval of the Union Cabinet to the launch of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to be implemented by Department of Science &Technology. It has a total outlay of Rs. 3660 crore for a period of five years. The Mission addresses the ever increasing technological requirements of the society, and takes into account the international trends and road maps of leading countries for the next generation technologies.
Smart Girds R&D Conclave
Smart Girds R&D Conclave was organised at IIT Delhi, New Delhi to create possible collaboration among academic institutions, utilities and industries to exploit its commercialization and deployment in real time. This smart grids conclave brought together participants from 22 academic institutions, 32 Industries 18 utility companies for discussion on various issues pertaining to deployment of smart grids.
Upward revision of fellowships
An inter-ministerial meeting was held under the chairmanship of Secretary, DST to discuss harmonization of guidelines on emoluments and other service conditions of research personnel (JRF/SRF/RA) in R&D programmes of central government departments and agencies. The Inter-Ministerial Group recommended upward revision of fellowship with certain modification in the eligibility criterion.
Innovations opportunities for all
Water Innovation Centre for sustainable treatment, reuse solutions for water
A Water Innovation Centre has been initiated for sustainable treatment, reuse and management for efficient, affordable and synergistic solutions for water at IIT Madras with eight partnering institutions.
PPP initiative for innovation generation
The Make Tomorrow for Innovation Generation, a PPP Initiative between Department of Science & Technology, Intel Technologies and Indo-US S&T Forum, was launched.
Global Cooling Prize: innovation challenge for residential cooling launched
The Global Cooling Prize, an innovation challenge that aims to spur development of a residential cooling solution that has at least five times (5x) less climate impact than today's standard products was launched. This technology could prevent up to 100 gigatons (GT) of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2050. Over US$3 million will be awarded in prize money after the 2-year competition.
India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund established
Department of Science and Technology and the National Technological Innovation Authority of Israel jointly established a US$ 40m India-Israel Industrial R&D and Technological Innovation Fund (I4 Fund) for a period of five years. This fund will extend support to joint R&D projects aimed to co-develop innovative technology-driven products, services or processes that have potential for commercialization. The Fund will provide opportunity for techno-economic cooperation between India and Israel by extending institutional support in building up consortia including private industry, enterprises and R&D institutions.
1st ASEAN-India InnoTech Summit hosted by India
As part of its Act East policy, the 1st ASEAN-India InnoTech Summit was hosted by India in New Delhi. The main objective of the InnoTech Summit was to exhibit and build networks between Indian and ASEAN researchers, scientists, innovators, technocrats, private companies and start-ups etc to facilitate building an ASEAN-India innovation and technology databank for sharing among India and ASEAN country stakeholders.
Partnership announced for establishing Indo-Korean Center for Research & Innovation
A major partnership was announced between Indian Government and Republic of Korea in terms of establishment of Indo-Korean Center for Research and Innovation (IKCRI) in India, which will act as the hub for systematic operation and management of all cooperative programmes in research and innovation between the two countries including innovation & entrepreneurship and technology transfer.
New opportunities open doors in science
Fellowships for teachers, PhD students, overseas exposure, PIs: TARE, OVDF, DIA, AWSAR
The Teacher Associateship for Research Excellence (TARE) scheme aims to tap the latent potential of faculty working in state universities, colleges and private academic institutions that are well trained but have difficulty in pursuing their research due to varied reasons including lack of facilities, funding and guidance. This scheme facilitates mobility of such faculty members to carry out research in a well-established public funded institution such as IITs, IISc, IISERS and other National Institutions (NITs, CSIR, ICAR, ICMR labs, etc) and central universities located preferably nearer to the institution where the faculty member is working. Up to 500 TAs will be supported under this scheme.
Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship (OVDF) scheme offers opportunities for up to 100 PhD students admitted in the Indian institutions for gaining exposure and training in overseas universities / institutions of repute and areas of importance to country for period up to 12 months during their doctoral research.
SERB Distinguished Investigator Award (DIA) has been initiated to recognize and reward Principal Investigators (PIs) of SERB/DST projects who have performed remarkably well. The scheme aims not only to reward the best PIs of completed projects but also to motivate the ongoing PIs to perform exceedingly well. DIA is a one-time career award devised to specifically cater to the younger scientists who have not received any other prestigious awards or fellowships.
Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR), a new initiative aims to communicate and disseminate Indian research stories among masses in a format that is easy to understand and interesting for a common person. Department of Science and Technology (DST) invited popular science articles from Indian PhD Scholars and Post-Doctoral Fellows (PDFs) working in R&D universities and institutions about their respective research.
Science beyond borders: Collaborations for scientific excellence
Young scientist’s participation at BRICS Scientist Conclave
Department deputed 27 young Indian Scientist / Innovators for participation in 3rd BRICS Scientist Conclave which was held in Durban, South Africa. The Conclave covered 3 themes namely Energy, Water and Use of ICT for Societal applications. The Conclave also organized BRICS Young Innovators Award competition. One Indian innovator aged 23 years was awarded the BRICS most promising Innovator during the Conclave.
India-UK Science & Innovation Policy Dialogue
At the India – UK Science & Innovation Policy Dialogue it was agreed to scale up collaboration to tackle global challenges realizing the potential of artificial intelligence (AI), digital economy, health technologies, cyber security and promoting clean growth, smart urbanisation, future mobility, environment (removal of plastic and micro-plastics from land and ocean), fight against climate change and participation in International Solar Alliance (ISA). This came in as a follow up of the two Prime Ministers statement that technology partnership is central to their vision of India-UK collaboration and their desire to raise it to £ 400 million by 2021.
Agreement between India & Uzbekistan
Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Science Technology & Innovation between the Government of India and the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan was concluded.
Bilateral Science, Technology Innovation Agreement at Mission Innovation meeting
Mission Innovation Ministerial meeting at Denmark and Sweden saw signing of bilateral Science, Technology Innovation Agreement along with completion of 10 years of Indo-Dutch science, technology and innovation cooperation.
DST-CII Tech Summit with Italy as partner
The DST-CII Technology Summit was held in New Delhi with Italy as partner country. India & Italy has announced next phase of the India-Italy industrial research and development cooperation program to enable research institutes and industry to combine the high quality research of the two countries and convert them to technological solutions. The joint committee also agreed to set up an India Italy Platform for science and innovation for promoting and facilitating the establishment of Indo-Italian Centres of Excellence in selected areas of mutual strength such as cultural heritage preservation, renewable energy, life sciences, and geohazards.
33 young Indian scholars participated in Nobel Laureate’s meeting
Thirty young meritorious Indian scholars in the field of physiology and medicine and allied areas participated in the 68th Nobel Laureates meeting held in Lindau, Germany. The Indian team of students also visited various research institutes/universities in Germany jointly supported by DST and German Research Foundation.
Festivals to celebrate science
Indian Science Congress: Reaching the Unreached through Science and Technology
Hon’ble Prime Minister, Narendra Modi inaugurated the five-day Indian Science Congress at Manipur University, Imphal on 16 March, 2018 aiming to bring together science fraternity across the world to discuss scientific innovation and research. This year the focus was on translational science for promoting affordable sustainable innovation. Over 5,000 invitees took part, including 2,000 research scholars and scientists from all over the country. The highlights of the program included Children’s Science Congress, Women’s Science Congress, Science Communicator’s Meet and Science Exhibition.
President inaugurates Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) and presented the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation Awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
National Children’s Science Congress: Science, Technology & Innovation for Clean, Green & Healthy Nation
National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC), organised every year with the objective of providing a forum to children to give vent to their creativity and ability to innovate, was held at the SOA (Deemed to be University), Bhubneshwar from December 27 to 31, 2018. The programme encouraged the school children of the age group of 14-17 to make innovative prototypes using the kits given to them.
Policy push for science: Scientific Research Infrastructure & Maintenance Networks in S&T sector
A draft policy document Scientific Research Infrastructure and Maintenance Networks (SRIMAN) in the S&T sector has been framed and the year 2019 looks all set to see an accelerated impetus towards fulfillment of the mandate of Department of Science & Technology. It will help formulation of policies, promotion of new areas of S&T with special emphasis on emerging areas, integration of areas of S&T having cross-sectoral linkages, application of S&T for weaker sections, women and other disadvantaged sections of society and others.