Center Bats to share research infrastructure and encourage funding

Researchers in small towns will soon be able to access expensive research infrastructure at publicly funded institutions, as the Center has released guidelines for sharing such scientific equipment at lower cost.

While researchers in mofussil cities will have access to state-of-the-art equipment, the SRIMAN (Scientific Research Infrastructure Sharing Maintenance and Networks) guidelines also aim to incentivize institutions by rating them on the extent of their participation in the initiative. , which may affect the funds they receive in the future.

In issuing the guidelines recently, Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh noted that 90% of high-end research equipment is imported and not shared among the research community.

The goal of the SRIMAN initiative is “to make publicly funded scientific research infrastructure available as a valuable public resource by providing better access and sharing for widespread and optimal community use”.

The initiative also aims to improve the efficiency of public spending by sharing expensive and state-of-the-art publicly funded research infrastructure.

“Science infrastructure is the foundation of research and innovation and facilitating its availability, accessibility and sharing must become a key objective, especially for countries like India with limited resources,” Singh said.

The initiative also aims to promote the national instrumentation industry by encouraging universities and research and development institutes to establish start-ups to manufacture research instruments and develop the manpower for its maintenance. .

The guidelines specify that the discretion to define proprietary and shareable infrastructure, as well as provide exceptions, will remain with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), except in the case of strategic departments, which will be the authorities. discretionary for their own infrastructure.

The guidelines make it clear that individual researchers using the facility as part of the initiative will enjoy full intellectual property rights.

“Simply by providing access to and sharing of research infrastructure, a recipient organization cannot claim intellectual property rights over the work done by individual researchers,” the guidelines state.

However, researchers should duly recognize the benefits derived from accessing and sharing research infrastructure, according to the guidelines.

The granting agencies will maintain an online portfolio of expensive research infrastructure, typically instruments worth more than Rs 25 lakh, to provide access to researchers through a national portal or other online tools.

The guidelines contemplate the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the SRIMAN initiative under the overall control and supervision of the Department of Science and Technology.

The SPV will primarily manage the national portal for research infrastructures, which will allow users to reserve time slots for research in agreement with the beneficiary organisation.

The portal will also allow the collection of user fees and remote monitoring of research work through online tools.

”To the extent possible, the physical presence of the researcher on the premises of the beneficiary agency will be minimized and the researcher will be supported by sufficient evaluation mechanisms to monitor the progress of the research work via online tools ‘ ‘, the guidelines said. .

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