The Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act 2023: Explained

1 Sep 2023  Read 5614 Views

As we always say “Research is a key to success”, so in a significant move towards boosting research and development and encouraging private sector participation in research activities, the Indian government has enacted one of the most important bills of this year; the Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act, 2023.

Introduced by Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Science and Technology, this act aims to establish the National Research Foundation (NRF) and bring about a transformation in India's research and development landscape.

Let’s understand what the Progressive Act is all about in detail.

What is the National Research Foundation (NRF)?

  • The NRF, at an anticipated cost of ₹50,000 crores over five years (2023–28), will serve as an apex entity responsible for providing high-level strategic direction to scientific research in alignment with the National Education Policy (NEP) guidelines. 

  • Administered by the Department of Science and Technology, the NRF will be overseen by a regulatory board composed of experts from diverse disciplines. 

  • Notably, the Prime Minister and the Union Minister of Education will actively participate in its governance.

Governing Board

  • NRF will have a Governing Board headed by the Prime Minister of India. 

  • The NRF will be presided over by the Prime Minister and consist of 10 major directorates, focusing on different domains of science, arts, humanities, innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • The Union Ministers of Science and Technology and Education will serve as Vice Presidents.

  • The Principal Scientific Advisor will act as the Member Secretary.

  • Secretaries from crucial government departments, including Science and Technology, Biotechnology, and Scientific and Industrial Research, will also be part of the Board.

  • The NRF will have an 18-member board with eminent Indian and international scientists, senior government functionaries, and industry leaders.

  • The NRF will be registered as a society and have an independent secretariat.

Objectives

  • One of the key objectives of the NRF is to facilitate collaborations among academia, industry, government agencies, and research institutions. 

  • The Foundation is entrusted with the crucial task of supporting the translation of research into technology, bridging the gap between theory and practical applications. Much like how our dedicated scientists at ISRO successfully achieved a soft landing on the dark side of the moon, the NRF holds the pivotal responsibility of bridging the gap between theoretical research and practical applications. 

Read our latest blog on India’s Chandrayaan odyssey and discover what made “Chandrayaan 3” a grand success.

  • The aim is to ensure a financially viable research ecosystem, the foundation will tap into the financial resources of the private sector. This strategic partnership will be instrumental in driving innovation and research activities in the country.

  • The enactment of the Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act is a monumental step towards bolstering the Indian education sector.

  •  It will play a pivotal role in retaining and harnessing India's abundant skilled human resources, preventing their exodus to foreign shores in search of research opportunities. Moreover, it will enhance India's competitiveness on the global stage by nurturing a culture of research and innovation.

Focus Areas

  • The NRF will focus on guiding research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in various domains, including natural sciences, mathematical sciences, engineering, technology, environmental and earth sciences, health, and agriculture. 

  • By addressing a wide spectrum of research areas, the NRF ensures comprehensive growth and development.

  • The NRF is established with the vision of building a policy framework that encourages collaboration between academia, research institutions, startups, and industry. This synergy will drive innovation, accelerate research, and boost entrepreneurship in India.

  • The NRF Act represents an evolved version of the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) Act of 2008. The SERB played a crucial role in promoting science and engineering research through financial assistance. The new Act will repeal SERB and absorb it into the NRF.

Funding Mechanism

  • The National Research Foundation will be funded through a budget of approximately ₹50,000 crores over five years, that is from 2023-2028

  • Funding will be sourced from the government, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), and the private sector, including philanthropists and other sources of aid. 

  • This diversified funding approach ensures sustainability and growth.

Empowering States

  • The NRF Act rectifies the existing funding disparity by empowering states. Historically, a significant portion of research funds has been allocated to elite institutions like IITs. 

  • With the NRF in place, state universities and institutions will receive a more equitable share of research funding, promoting inclusivity.

  • The NRF will craft comprehensive roadmaps for short-term, medium-term, and long-term research and development programs.

  •  It will facilitate and finance the growth of R&D infrastructure in educational institutions and research centers, providing grants to catalyze innovative projects.

Conclusion

The Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act, 2023, is a monumental leap toward transforming India's research picture. By ensuring equitable funding, and promoting innovation, it is poised to elevate India's position in the global research arena. This act represents a crucial step forward in realizing India's potential as a hub for cutting-edge research and development, setting the stage for a brighter and more innovative future.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is the Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act, 2023?

  • The Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act, 2023, is a significant legislative initiative by the Indian government aimed at transforming India's research and development landscape. It establishes the National Research Foundation (NRF) to provide strategic direction and financial support for scientific research and innovation.

2. What is the role of the NRF's Governing Board?

  • The NRF's Governing Board, headed by the Prime Minister of India, provides strategic direction and oversight for the Foundation's activities. It includes key government officials, scientists, and industry leaders who play a crucial role in shaping India's research ecosystem.

3. What law is the Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act, 2023, repealing?

  • The Anusandhan National Research Foundation Act, 2023, will repeal the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) Act of 2008.

4. How will the NRF be funded, and what is its funding mechanism?

  • The NRF will be funded through a budget of approximately ₹50,000 crores over five years, from 2023 to 2028. Funding will come from the government, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), and the private sector, including philanthropists. This diversified funding approach ensures sustainability and growth.

5. Is the NRF's Governing Board an independent entity?

  • Yes, the NRF is registered as a society and has an independent secretariat. This autonomy allows the Governing Board to operate effectively and make decisions in alignment with the NRF's objectives and the broader research landscape in India.

About the Author: Devansh Dixit | 35 Post(s)

Devansh is a 4th-year law student from Amity Law School Noida (Uttar Pradesh), currently interning at Finology Legal. He is specialising in business and commercial laws. 

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