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Cabinet Approves National Research Foundation Bill, 2023: Boosting India’s Research Eco-System

The Union Cabinet, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its nod to the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023. This significant development aims to strengthen the research eco-system in the country and foster a culture of research and innovation across universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories. The NRF will serve as an apex body to provide strategic direction and promote Research and Development (R&D) in line with the National Education Policy (NEP). Let’s delve into the details of this transformative initiative.

Creating a Vibrant Research Landscape

The NRF, once established, will play a pivotal role in seeding, growing, and promoting R&D activities in India. It will act as a catalyst for fostering a vibrant research landscape and nurturing a robust research ecosystem. With an estimated budget of Rs. 50,000 crore over a span of five years (2023-28), the NRF aims to propel scientific research and innovation to new heights.

Administrative Structure and Governance

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will be entrusted with the administrative responsibilities of the NRF. The foundation will be governed by a distinguished Governing Board comprising eminent researchers and professionals from various disciplines. As the NRF’s scope extends across multiple ministries, the Prime Minister will serve as the ex-officio President of the Board, while the Union Minister of Science & Technology and the Union Minister of Education will assume the roles of ex-officio Vice-Presidents. An Executive Council, chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, will oversee the day-to-day functioning of the NRF.

Enhancing Collaboration and Industry Participation

One of the primary objectives of the NRF is to foster collaboration among academia, industry, and government departments. The foundation will establish an effective interface mechanism to facilitate the participation and contribution of industries and state governments. It will create an environment conducive to collaboration, encouraging increased spending on R&D by industries. The NRF will work towards developing a policy framework and regulatory processes to promote collaboration and innovation.

A Holistic Approach

With the incorporation of the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), which was established in 2008, the NRF will have an expanded mandate that goes beyond SERB’s activities. The consolidation of these entities under the NRF will ensure a comprehensive approach to research and development in the country. This synergy will lead to the effective utilization of resources, optimized coordination, and streamlined efforts in driving scientific advancements.

Implications for India’s Research Landscape

The introduction of the NRF Bill in Parliament heralds a new era for India’s research eco-system. It underscores the government’s commitment to promoting a culture of research and innovation and harnessing India’s intellectual potential. The NRF’s establishment will create a supportive framework for researchers, scientists, and academicians, enabling them to pursue groundbreaking research and contribute to India’s development journey. Furthermore, it will enhance collaboration between academia and industry, leading to the development of cutting-edge technologies, solutions, and inventions that address societal challenges.

The approval of the National Research Foundation Bill, 2023 by the Union Cabinet signifies a significant step towards bolstering India’s research and development capabilities. The establishment of the NRF will pave the way for a transformative research ecosystem, facilitating collaboration, innovation, and scientific advancements. By fostering a culture of research and providing strategic direction, the NRF will play a pivotal role in driving India’s progress as a global leader in research and innovation.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on the announcement made by the Union Cabinet and is subject to approval by the Parliament.


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