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Annual Report 2001 - 2002

Scientific Research

Opportunities for Young Scientists

With a view to motivate and encourage Young Scientists to take R&D as career and retain them in science the department has continued to play a catalytic role in attracting young scientists towards science and technology by implementing a number of programmes. The Young Scientists programme of DST has the following specific objectives:

  • To provide opportunities to Young Scientists (below 35 years) for pursuing exciting and innovative research ideas.
  • To provide opportunities for interaction and exchange of ideas with the scientific community both at the national and international levels.
  • To involve Young Scientists in national S&T development process.
  • To encourage S&T institutions, professional bodies and other agencies including State S&T Councils to develop S&T programmes involving Young Scientists.

Some of the major activities and programmes under this scheme involve supporting Fast Track Scheme for Young Scientists ,international BOYSCAST Fellowships, Contact programmes etc.. The progress and achievement under these programmes during the current year are described below:

  • Fast Track Scheme for Young Scientists

Based on the feedback received from various forums including the SERC, the Department evolved a new mechanism to provide support to Young Scientists on a faster mode during the year 2000. The scheme was titled FAST Track Scheme for Young Scientists and proposals were invited from Young Scientists through advertisement, which was widely disseminated. The earlier scheme was merged with this new scheme.

Under this new version, the upper limit for duration of the project has been enhanced to 3 years with total cost limited to Rs 10.00 lakhs. The Young Scientists not drawing any fellowship/ salary, are eligible for a lumpsum fellowship of Rs 15,000/- per month apart from grants under "Travel, Contingency, Consumables and Minor Equipment". The Institute that hosts the project on approval gets a grant of 20% of project cost as "Overheads".

During the current year, sanctions have been issued for 142 projects. Linkages have been built with the earlier scheme (SYS). In addition on-going releases have been made on 100 projects in various disciplines.

During the current year, 1438 proposals were received against our advertisement. Based on the last year's experience, the modus operandi was modified. The Department has now set up 5 Expert Panels in the broad areas of Chemical Sciences, Earth Atmospheric & Mathematical Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences. A summarized tabulation of the Panels recommendations is given below:

Broad Area and (Number of proposals Projects screened and considered Projects recommended
Chemical Sciences (143) 62 23
Life Sciences (725) 322 92
Earth, Atmospheric & Mathematical Sciences (166) 115 31 (EarthAtmos) 11 (Maths)
Physical Sciences (100) 79 33
Engineering Sciences (304) 211 78
Total 789 268

The list of the recommended projects was hosted on the Website on January 1,, 2002.

  • Swarnajayanti Fellowships

Swarnajayanti Fellowships programme was launched with the objective to encourage young scientists to undertake basic research in frontier areas of science and technology and achieve standards of excellence, which are comparable with the best in the world. The fellowships are open to Indian young scientists, in the age group of 30-40 years, with a proven track record. The selected candidates are given attractive fellowship besides project grants. A research programme is considered in the frontier areas of science, engineering or medicine for a maximum period of five years. The support under the project covers grants for equipment, manpower, contingencies, consumables, travel including international travel and administrative and infrastructure support.

During the current year, eight young scientists were given only research projects under the Swaranajayanti Fellowships Scheme.

The National Core Committee of the Swarnajayanti Fellowship Scheme reviewed the scheme as well as monitored the progress made by the awardees of previous years (1997-98 and 1998-99) at a meeting held at IISc, Bangalore on January 16-17, 2002. On the recommendations of the committee, it was decided that the fellowship amount of Rs. 25,000/- per month for a period of five years should be given to only those scientists who do not draw a salary from any other source. The fellowship amount has however been restricted to Rs. 10,000/- per month to the scientists who draw a salary from a source.

For the current year, advertisement for seeking applications was released in November, 2001. The department has received about 450 applications in various disciplines under the scheme.

  • Better Opportunities for Young Scientists in Chosen Areas of Science & Technology (BOYSCAST)

The scheme provides opportunities of young scientists for visiting international institutions in order to help them participate and contribute in front line chosen areas of Science and Technology. The duration of the Fellowship is 3-12 months. Young Scientists and Technologists up to the age of 35 years are eligible for the fellowships and once trained in the chosen areas are able to generate and spread expertise at the national S&T laboratories. During the current year 47 brilliant young scientists have been identified for the award of the BOYSCAST fellowships in in various disciplines of science and technology such as, Modelling in Earth System Sciences, Geotectonic Models and Experiment, Evolution and Dynamics of the Indian Lithosphere, Global Change, Atmosphere Chemistry and Air Pollution, Near Earth Space Environment, Regional and Global Climate Studies and Predictions, Atmospheric Effects on Radio Communications, Evolution and Dynamics of the Indian Lithosphere, Paleoclimatology and Paleoenvironment, Isotope Hydrology and Glaciology, Polymer and Surface Chemistry, Bioinorganic Chemistry, Heterogeneous Catalysis, Bioinorganic and Biomimitic Chemistry, Machine Intelligence, Micro-machining, Laser Diagnostic techjniques, Manufacturing Process Simulator, E-commerce, Molecular Biology of Biotic and Abiotic Stresses in Plants, Medical Imaging, In Vivo Analysis of Blood Flow Visulization and Cellular Distribution, Molecular Biology of Biotic and Abiotic Stresses in Plants, In Vivo Spectroscopy, Crop Biotechnology, Biodiversity and Conservation Biology, Transgenic Plants, Molecular Epidemiology, Plant Microbe Interaction, Molecular Mapping/Molecular Maker Assisted Plant Breeding, Biotechnology - Development of Bioinsecticides, Reproduction Technology, Molecular Taxonomy, Computational Aspects of Algebra, Spectral & Inverse Spectral Theory, Numerical Methods for Solving Differential Equation, Electronic Material and Processing, Non-linear optics and Optical Materials etc. They are being provided financial support.

  • Contact Programmes

The scheme is aimed at attracting and motivating brilliant young scientists to take up R&D as a career by bringing them in contact with eminent scientists and institutions. The programme also involves training in modern techniques in various disciplines of S&T. During the period under report seven programmes in the area of Cytogenetics and Clinical Genetics in Human Health and Diseases and Contemporary Trends in Taxonomy of Angiosperms, Plant Biotechnology, Methods of Surface Science & Catalysis, Biochemical Prospecting of Plant Resources, Protoplast Fusion Technology for Strain Improvement in Filamentous Fungi etc. were organised. Over 170 chosen young scientists have participated/are likely to participate and benefit from these programmes.
Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY)

The Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY), being coordinated by IISc, Bangalore on behalf of DST, consolidated its position as the most attractive scholarship and training scheme for young students in the country.

An additional entry point was opened in the "Science Stream" at the B.Sc.I year stage. The entry points in the "Engineering" and "Medical" Streams were also lowered. A total of about 100 students received the KVPY fellowships this year.

For the students continuing in the Scheme, summer training programmes were organized. Based on their scholastic performance in their respective courses of study and their performance in the summer training programme, the fellowship was renewed.
Integrated Science Olympiad Programmes

DST's collaboration with DAE and MHRD continued to consolidate the science olympiad movement in the country.

For the first time, India hosted an international science olympiad. The International Chemistry Olympiad-2001 was hosted by the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Mumbai with support from the three agencies.

Our young students continued to being laurels for the country. The performance this year was particularly spectacular : in Mathematics : 2 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze; in Physics : 3 gold, 2 silver; in Chemistry : 1 gold, 3 silver; and, in Biology :1 gold, 3 silver medals.
Utilisation of the Scientific Expertise of Retired Scientists (USERS)

The Department during the seventh five-year plan introduced the scheme Utilisation of the Scientific Expertise of Retired Scientists (USERS). The main objective of the scheme is to utilise expertise and potential of large number of eminent scientists in the country who remain active and deeply motivated to participate in S&T development activities even after their retirement. The scheme has continued to play a significant role in involving a large number of retired scientists in S&T developmental activities. The main activity under the programme is preparation of books/monographs/state-of-the-art reports. During the year 01 meetings of the USERS Expert Committee was held and 11 new projects sanctioned. Final reports on a few projects were also received. DST's support resulted in following publications.

  • "Introduction to Mushroom Science" by Dr. TN Kaul - the monograph deals with information on important biological features necessary for basic understanding of the subject such as sexuality and mycorrhiza, medicinal poisonous and hallucinogenic species, nutritional value of mushrooms and conservation of biological diversity. This monograph is a sequel to the one published earlier by the author 'Introduction to Mushroom Science - Systematics' under the USERS scheme.
  • "Noise Pollution and Control" by Dr. SP Singal. The book reviews the overall national and international noise situation, the various techniques available for noise measurements and assessment, health effects of noise, the standards adopted by the various countries of the world vis-a-vis Indian standards, methods of impact assessment, control measures and status of noise measurements and abatement practices in the country. It also outlines the action taken at the national level to date and a framework for action covering improvement of information and future options for the reduction of noise from different sources.
  • "X-Ray Crystallography of Some Plant Extracted Medicinal Compounds And Possible Structure Function Relation" by Dr. KN Goswami. The book is an attempt to organise the dormant wealth of structural information regarding biologically important molecules extracted from a variety of medicinal plants covering important classes such as Coumarins, Alkaloids, Pyrolizidine Alkaloides, Steroids, Terpenes, Antibiotics, Flavonoids and Ligands.
  • "Advances in Pest Management in Gram Legume Crops - Vigna Spp. and Chickpea" by Dr. KS Chhabbra. The book describes Insect pests of crops of Vigna spp viz. Mungbean and Chickpea Cicer arietinum L. so that Advance Technology of Pest Management are initiated to counteract the disastrous effects of non-judicious use of pesticides.
  • "Dimensional metrology coordinate measurement" by Dr. PC Jain and Dr. RP Singhal. The book deals with various aspects of Coordinate Measurement Technology. The book is of use to the Coordinate Measurement Machines (CMMs) users in India and in other developing countries for their day to day work. Those metrologists who want to study the subject in greater detail will find it as a quick reference to the information presently available on the subject.
Intensification of Research in High Priority Areas (IRHPA)

IRHPA is a complementary programme to the SERC programme with activities consisting of setting up of units/ core groups around an eminent scientist and major National Research facilities to nucleate research activities in these areas. The scheme has contributed to augment general R&D capabilities at academic institutions and national laboratories in the areas of Crystal Structure, Robotics, Laser Spectroscopy, Structural Biology, Surface Science & Technology, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Technical Acoustics, Geocentrifuge for Engineering applications etc. These programmes approved by the Council are multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional in nature.

Some new programme sanctioned during the year are:

  • NMR facility (IIT-Chennai)
  • Establishment of National facility for Electron Beam PVD System (ARC-I, Hyderabad
  • National facility for geo-chemical research (JNU, New Delhi)
  • Low temperature - High Magnetic Field project (IIT-Chennai)
  • Variable Energy Cyclotron at Panjab University, Chandigarh as a Regional Facility for X-ray Spectrometry
  • Phase II of Non-linear Dynamics Unit at Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli
  • Nuclear Dynamics and structure studies involving rare reaction channels (NSC, New Delhi)
  • Large Gamma Detector Array Facility (NSC, New Delhi)
  • Facility for Structural Chemistry Studies (IISc, Bangalore)

During the current year, the Council considered few selected programmes in high priority areas of Science and Engineering like Establishment of Low Temperature - High Magnetic field facilities, Centre for Display Devices, Infrastructure Asset Management, Facility for Aspheric Lenses studies, etc. Some of the new initiatives are as follows:

  • The Nonlinear Dynamics Unit at Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli was extended major support for continuing the second phase of its activities.
  • Support was also extended to rejuvenate the Variable Energy Cyclotron at Panjab University, Chandigarh as a Regional Facility for X-ray Spectrometry.
  • On way to the possible establishment of an Indian National Gamma Array, DST extended seed support to the Nuclear Science Centre, New Delhi to work on the development and testing of relevant electronics.

A major project on Electron Beam Physical Vapour Deposition Technology for thick film and thin film coatings on sophisticated and complex components has been supported with partial funding from DRDO.

Three new projects having close linkages with other National Plasma Physics Programmes, were added to the III Phase of the Satellite Research Programme in Plasma Physics (SRPP). These were viz. Three dimensional magnetohydrodynamic turbulence simulations; Studies on laser induced colliding plasma using various diagnostic tools; Investigation on the toroidal discharge development in an axial magnetic field.

The progress of all the ongoing programmes were reviewed through the respective Management Advisory Committees. Based on their recommendations X-Ray Diffractometer Facility at University of Mysore has been upgraded with an Image Plate System. Similar upgradation is being done for the University of Hyderabad facility.

The Management Advisory Committees for individual facilities reviewed the progress of the utilization of these facilities and their programmes. Some of the highlights of their observations are given below:

  • Human Resource generation is crucial for effective implementation of research programmes. To fulfil this mandate, Intensification of Research in High Priority Areas (IRHPA) Unit on 'Sociobiology of Insects' at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore sanctioned under Animal Science, organised a workshop on 'Methods in Behavioural Ecology' wherein 34 young prospective researchers were exposed to the basic principles and modern methodology of measuring behaviour.
  • A National Facility for Stable Isotope Studies in Biological Sciences has been established at the Department of Crop Physiology, University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore with the financial support from the Deptt. of Science & Technology and Deptt. of Biotechnology. A state of the art Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (IRMS) installed under the above facility enables the quantification of stable isotope ratio of carbon (13C/12C), oxygen (18O/16O) and Nitrogen (15N/14N). Determination of stable isotopes ratio is emerging as a potential tool to assess various plant physiological processes such as Water Use Efficiency (WUE), transpiration, nitrogen fixation etc. and hence opens up possibilities of exploiting the genetic variability in these traits for crop improvement. The facility is currently being used for determining the genetic variability in WUE and transpiration rate in agricultural, horticultural and perennial crop/tree species.
  • Geotechnical Centrifuge Project at IIT-Bombay has been commissioned and experiments are in progress. This will serve as a national facility for conducting studies on scaled models for various geotechnical-engineering applications.
  • Facility for Research in Technical Acoustics has been set up at IISc., Bangalore. Collaboration with Industry partners for research and development work is being solicited.
  • Center for CFD set up at IIT, Chennai started developing numerical codes for various applications for study of fluid flow in IC Engine and turbines for effective design configurations with the aim of fuels savings.
  • Under the project on Fabrication of large area multi-junction a-Si solar modules jointly funded by DST & MNES, a prototype production line for the fabrication of multi-junction a-Si solar cells has been indigenously designed and fabricated. The equipment is fully operational and is state-of-the-art. This is the first plant for advanced solar Photovoltaic technology built in India and is much cheaper than the imported equipment. 3 patents are in the final stages of filing with the PFC.
National Science & Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS)

The National Science & Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS) continued its efforts of generating and making available information on resources both manpower as well as financial devoted to scientific and technological (S&T) activities by conducting national surveys both through in-house as well as sponsored studies.

  • S&T Resources Studies

Based on the national survey on resources devoted to research and development activities for the year 1998-99, two national level reports entitled "Research and Development Statistics 1998-99" and a sectoral report entitled "Research and Development in Industry 1998-99" were brought out during the year under report.

The salient features of the latest survey for the year 1998-99 are that the national investment on research and development (R&D) activities attained a level of Rs.13083.28 crore which was 0.82% of Gross National Product (GNP). The major share of R&D expenditure was met from Government sources (78.6%), and 21.4% being met from the private industry. More than 3.08 lakhs personnel were employed in R&D establishments. The report provides detailed data and analyses both at macro and micro levels besides containing other relevant secondary sources data related to S&T on patents, enrolment, out-turn, stock of S&T personnel, Plan/Non-plan allocation for S&T, Inter-national comparison of stock of scientists, engineers, technicians, R&D expenditure per capita and as percentage of GNP etc.

The sectoral report on Research & Development in Industry 1998-99 provides detailed information on the financial and human resources devoted to industrial R&D activities. The industry comprising public and private sector together spent Rs.3446.70 crores during 1998-99 and was 0.52% of sales turnover on R&D activities. The report also gives detailed analysis of data in respect of R&D expenditure by industry groups, by fields of science, by objectives, by location of R&D centres and by R&D manpower etc.
This is for the first time that the scope and coverage of R&D activities has been revised and enlarged by including R&D expenditure incurred in the higher education sector, small scale industry sector (pilot study) and private sector firms not recognised by Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India with the National figures for 1998-99. R&D expenditure from Higher Education Sector quantified from 106 universities and 27 Post Graduate Colleges having R&D in Science & Technology to the tune of Rs.555.02 crores has been included in the national expenditure on R&D. This amount does not include the expenditure incurred by the State Agricultural Universities and also the Extramural projects funded by Central Departments/agencies. Such an expenditure has been included under state sector and central sector respectively. Efforts are being made to bring out a national report by integrating the data of 4 zonal studies sponsored for this purpose. Similarly, small scale industry sector (pilot study) conducted in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, quantified the R&D expenditure to the tune of Rs.37.58 crore. Contribution of private sector firms not recognised by DSIR in National R&D expenditure was estimated as Rs.412.5 crore during 1998-99. Reports of the above studies have generated valuable information and data which was hitherto not collated.

The division has launched the National Survey on Resources Devoted to R&D Activities for the year 2000-2001 to bring out the information in a more cohesive manner taking note of experiences gained in the earlier surveys. Questionnaires have been mailed to nearly 2800 R&D establishments from central, state and industrial sectors.

  • Information System/Database Activities

With a view to disseminate information on research and development (R&D) projects for the benefit of different interest groups, the National Science and Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS) division of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) continued its effort to compile information on extramural R&D projects funded by different central agencies. Besides maintaining a computerised database on extramural R&D projects from 1985-86 onwards, the department publishes annually a directory of extramural research and development projects funded during the year.

The efforts for compiling information for the projects funded during 1999-2000 have been made. The preparation of the directory for the year 1999-2000 is in progress and is expected to be published during the year.

The directory for the year 1998-99, ninth in the series, contains information on 2050 new R&D projects approved by 17 central government departments/agencies. The total approved cost of these projects was Rs.349.84 crores. 54% of the support was in the area of Engineering & Technology followed by Biological Sciences (12%). 47% of the total support was given to the academic sector. During this year of the report, the National Laboratories under Central Government received 45% of the total financial support. Among the funding agencies, the extramural R&D support by Ministry of Information Technology (MIT) was the highest (Rs.81.14 crores) followed by Department of Science & Technology (DST)(Rs.68.28 crores).

  • Sponsored Studies

The scientific and technological activities play a vital role in the economic, social and physical development of a country. Scientific and technological research needs huge investments and calls for a judicious utilization of scarce resources like finance, trained manpower, raw materials etc. The growth of science and technology, its performance and impact on society and economy are indicators to assess the effectiveness of planning and policy formulation. For this purpose it is necessary to build science and technology information on a continuous basis. The National Science and Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS) under the Department of Science and Technology is entrusted with the task of collection, collation, analysis and dissemination of vital S&T information at a national level.

With a view to build reasonable database/analyses on S&T investment, S&T manpower availability/deployment/gap and S&T indicators, a number of studies were sponsored and the reports of these studies were widely disseminated to planners, policy makers and S&T community.

The following new projects were approved /commissioned during the year:

  • Large Scale Sample Survey on Estimation of R&D Activities at National Level in Small Scale Industries Sector (SSIs).
  • Priority Setting in Medical Research in India-A Bibliometric Study.
  • Commercialisation of Patents in India.
  • In-House S&T in the Power and the Chemicals & Petrochemicals sectors and Utilisation of their Results.
  • Mapping of Biotechnology Skills and Research Infrastructure.

The following projects were completed during the year:

  • R&D in Small Scale Sector Industries in Karnataka (pilot study).
  • R&D Activities in Small Scale Industries of Madhya Pradesh (pilot study).
  • A study on content analysis of Science & Technology coverage in India.
  • Pilot Study on R&D Output at Post Graduate/Research Level in Engineering & Technology Disciplines of Northern India Institutes.
  • Zonal Studies on Quantification of Manpower and Financial Resources Devoted to R&D in the Higher Education Sector.
  • Study on Medicinal Plants of Sikkim.

As a New Initiative, the division has launched a large scale sample survey at National Level to quantify the R&D activities in Small Scale Industries. Also, to reach the scientific community at large, the division will shortly launch the NSTMIS Web page with an in-built feedback mechanism which will facilitate to analyse the utilization of the information generated by the division.

  • International Collaboration

The Department has been maintaining liaison with UNESCO and other concerned international/national agencies for the S&T and related statistics.

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