The Union Cabinet on June 28, 2023, approved the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 in the Parliament.
Establishment of National Research Foundation
The Bill seeks to establish NRF, with the object to enhance and promote the culture of research and innovation in India’s universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories.
The NRF is expected to provide a high-level strategic direction of scientific research in the country as per recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP), at a total estimated cost of Rs. 50,000 crore during five years (2023-28).
One of the primary functions of NRF, includes advanced collaborations among the industry, academia, and government departments and research institutions with the aim to create an interface mechanism, with science as the pivotal, for participation and contribution of industries and State governments in addition to the scientific and line ministries.
DST to be the administrative department of NRF
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will be the administrative Department of NRF which will be governed by a Governing Board consisting of eminent researchers and professionals across disciplines he Prime Minister will be the ex-officio President of the Board and the Union Minister of Science & Technology & Union Minister of Education will be the ex-officio Vice-Presidents.
NRF’s functioning will be governed by an Executive Council chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
The Bill will repeal the Science and engineering Research board (SERB) established by an act of parliament in 2008 and subsume it into NRF.
The NRF will correct the problem of unequitable research funding and will bring in private sector investment to research infrastructure and building trained manpower.
Scientific research is the hallmark of any nation’s growth and instills scientific temper in the minds of the people. According to the IBEF(India Brand Equity Foundation), India has a large network of science and technology institutions and trained manpower. It has the third-largest scientific and technical manpower in the world.
With large network of science and technology institutions, India is the third largest scientific and technical manpower in the world and ranks top in the field of basic research. From making powerful weather forecasting supercomputers- Pratyush and Mihir- to entering in the ranks of top countries with research prowess, India portrays huge potential for research outlook amongst its population.
The establishment of NRF is the need-of-the hour, as inspite of having immense potential, such innovations and research remain untapped and marred due to lack of funding. It is expected that the NRF will strengthen funding and streamline the culture of research and innovation in India’s universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories.
Mansi Kapoor, Intern at S.S. Rana & Co. has assisted in the research of this Article.