The 49th foundation day of the Department of Science and Technology was observed on 3rd May 2020.
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- Union Minister of Science & Technology interacted with Heads of all Autonomous Institutions (AIs) and Subordinate offices of Department of Science & Technology (DST) via Video Conferencing on the occasion.
- The main focus was about their S&T initiatives, particularly in relation to their endeavours for combating the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Launch of “COVID KATHA”, a multimedia guide on COVID-19 also took place.
- DST’s efforts have helped India attain 3rd position globally after China and US in terms of number of publications in science citation index journals.
Steps for tackling COVID 19 by DST and associated institutes:
- DST through its autonomous institutions and statutory bodies has instituted three ways to fight COVID-19:
- Extensive mapping of solutions requiring R&D support, startups with viable products requiring facilitation and manufacturing support;
- Identification of market deployable products requiring seed support; and
- Support for solutions already in the market but requiring substantial scale-up to augment their manufacturing infrastructure and capabilities.
- Intensification of Research in High Priority Area (IRPHA)
- Under its IRPHA scheme, SERB had invited competitive proposals having a strong interdisciplinary component to ramp up national R&D efforts for epidemiological studies, studies on immune response and immunity during respiratory viral infections, new antivirals etc.
- The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) is an autonomous body under DST.
- Research Proposals Invited By TDB
- The Technology Development Board (TDB), a statutory body under DST, has invited proposals from Indian companies and enterprises to address protection and home-based respiratory interventions for COVID 19 patients.
- Industries may help in this crucial condition to provide need-based indigenously developed/imported technologically and innovative solutions like
- low-cost masks,
- cost-effective thermal scanning devices,
- technologies for sanitization of large areas as well as for contactless entry,
- rapid diagnostic kits,oxygenators, and ventilators.
- Artificial manual breathing unit (AMBU)
- Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology (SCTIMST), Trivandrum, has developed a ventilator system based on an artificial manual breathing unit (AMBU).
- Apart from this emergency ventilator, the Institute is also making efforts in developing low-cost AI-enabled digital X-ray detectors for screening COVID-19 patients.
- Anti-microbial coating
- The Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institution under DST, has come up with a one-step curable anti-microbial coating.
- This coating is capable of completely killing the influenza virus,resistant pathogenic bacteria, fungi and a range of virus types including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-19).
- It is anticipated that the coating will not allow microorganisms to become active on coated surfaces.
- During the COVID-19 outbreak, the coating may be used to protect personal protective tools, clothes and equipment of health workers.
- Grassroots Innovations
- The National Innovation Foundation (NSF), another autonomous institution of DST encourages and supports grassroots innovations developed by individuals and local communities in any technological field.
- NSF has invited citizens to come up with creative and innovative ideas through its ‘Challenge COVID-19 Competition (C3)’ for tackling the following issues:
(a) healthy food for nutrition and boosting immunity;
(b) reducing transmission of coronavirus;
(c) sanitising one's hands, body, home items and home, public places wherever required;
(d) supply and distribution of essential items to people, especially the elderly living alone;
(e) gainful engagement of people at home;
(f) PPEs and rapid diagnostic testing facilities for capacity building of healthcare.
- COVID KATHA:
- It is a project to disseminate authentic information on COVID-19 in a very simple way for the common masses using interactive multimedia technology.
- It is a multimedia guide carrying important information on A-to-Z of COVID 19.
- It is freely accessible on smartphones, desktop computers as well as other electronic devices.
- It is designed to educate on the objective interpretation of scientific aspects and will have far reaching efforts of building mass awareness on current health and social crisis.
The Government of India firmly believes that these initiatives will certainly help the country in overcoming the pandemic in the not-too-distant future.
Other Initiatives of Department of Science and Technology
National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems:
- Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) are a new class of engineered systems that integrate computation and physical processes in a dynamic environment.
- CPS encompasses technology areas of Cybernetics, Mechatronics, Design and Embedded systems, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and many more.
- To harness the potential of this new wave of technology and make India a leading player in CPS, the Union Cabinet approved the launch of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) with a total outlay of Rs. 3660 Crore for a period of five years.
- The Mission aims to create a strong foundation and a seamless ecosystem for CPS technologies by coordinating and integrating nationwide efforts encompassing knowledge generation, human resource development, research, technology and product development, innovation and commercialization.
National Mission on Quantum Technology and Application (NM-QTA)
- Owing to its potential , the quantum technology mission was launched during this year's budget at a cost of Rs. 8,000 Crores for the next 5 years.
- It is a leap into the future to promote and foster R&D in Quantum Technologies and related areas like quantum computing, quantum cryptography, quantum communication, quantum metrology and sensing, quantum enhanced imaging.
- The areas of focus for the Mission will be in fundamental science, translation, technology development, human and infrastructural resource generation, innovation and start-ups to address issues concerning national priorities.
- Their applications which will receive boost include those in aero-space engineering, numerical weather prediction, simulations, securing the communications & financial transactions, cyber security, advanced manufacturing, health, agriculture, etc.
- Quantum Technology is based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature of energy and matter on the atomic and subatomic level.
- It concerns the control and manipulation of quantum systems, with the goal of achieving information processing beyond the limits of the classical world.
The National policy on Scientific Social Responsibility
- Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) is the confluence of scientific knowledge with visionary leadership and social conscience.
- It is about building synergies among all stakeholders in the scientific knowledge community and also about developing linkages between science and society.
- Policy is being worked out by DST and should be an embodiment of the principles of responsible innovation and social entrepreneurship which DST has imbibed over its 49-year journey.
- The policy will inspire all the grantees of projects to reach out to stakeholders of Science and Society at large.
- They can use all the tools - knowledge, manpower and infrastructure of S&T in the academia and R&D labs by choosing of one or more activities:
- scientific infrastructure sharing;
- mentoring/training of college/ university faculty;
- training on high end scientific skills and research;
- student internships;
- fostering research culture and many more
- Augmenting Writing Skills through Articulating Research (AWSAR) aims to encourage young scientists to write popular science articles on their research pursuits.
- National Initiative for Developing & Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) aims to boost innovation and start-up activity,
- Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge (MANAK) aims to encourage young students to think innovatively.
Image Source: Economic Times