Rewind 2018: The year of fresh S&T schemes by DST

The fresh educational schemes launched by the government in 2018 were aimed at strengthening the higher education and research programmes

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New Delhi: The beginning of 2018 witnessed the launch of three Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)’s schemes by Union Science & Technology Ministry.

The first was the Teacher Associate ship for Research Excellence (TARE). The Scheme aims to tap the latent potential of faculty working in state universities, colleges and private academic institutions who 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 carryout 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.

The second one was Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship (OVDF). This 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.

Third was SERB Distinguished Investigator Award (DIA). This scheme 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.

Some other major initiatives of the year were the inauguration of India’s first supercritical Brayton Cycle CO2 test facility at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, which has the potential to pave the way for highly efficient compact power plants driven by wide range of heat sources including Solar; Organization of Children’s Science Congress all over the country on the Focal Theme of “Science Technology and Innovation for Clean, Green and Healthy Nation”.

Communicating science also got a major fillip in the Launch of Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research (AWSAR), a new initiative that aims to communicate and disseminate Indian research stories among masses in a format that is easy to understand and interesting for a common person.

A Draft Policy Document Scientific Research Infrastructure and Maintenance Networks (SRIMAN) in the S&T sector has already been framed and the year 2019 looks all set to see an accelerated impetus towards fulfillment of the mandate of DST in terms of 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.