CSIR, Atal Innovation Mission to jointly foster innovation

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), a state-run premier R&D organisation, has teamed up with the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), a flagship initiative of the Government of India to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, to build national capabilities in scientific and technological innovation

June 5, 2020

India’s gross expenditure in scientific R&D has tripled over 2008-18, driven mainly by the Government sector.

The Government has focussed on building a new economy based on innovations that disrupt established business models.

Next-gen technologies like AI, IoT, Automation, Quantum Computing, etc., are re-writing the world economic order.

India has risen to the 3rd position globally in terms of scientific publications as well as in the number of PhDs in STEM.

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), a state-run premier R&D organisation, has teamed up with the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), a flagship initiative of the Government of India to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, to build national capabilities in scientific and technological innovation. The two organisations signed a letter of intent on June 5 that will drive innovation in the country across various sectors. India’s gross expenditure in scientific R&D has tripled over 2008-18, driven mainly by the Government. In line with the focus on building S&T capabilities, the Union Budget 2020-21 allotted the largest-ever funding for scientific R&D. The Budget also announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) with a total outlay of over US$1.1 billion. 

The Government has focussed on building a new economy based on innovations that disrupt established business models. Artificial intelligence (AI), Internet-of-Things (IoT), Automation, 3D Printing, Quantum Computing, Drones, among other next-gen innovations, are re-writing the world economic order, and the Government is keen to drive innovation and investment in this space. Under the agreement between CSIR and AIM, the major areas of activities will include:

  • Supporting world-class startups through CSIR Incubators under the Atal Innovation Mission initiative and joint projects on new models of innovation, including setting up of CSIR Innovation Parks. CSIR with its strong patent portfolio and knowledge base and world-class researchers, and AIM that has been working on policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of the economy can jointly boost and strengthen the innovation ecosystem of the country.
  • Stimulating innovation and research in the MSME industry by CSIR in collaboration with ARISE. In this context, while the ARISE initiative of the AIM works to stimulate innovation and research in the MSME industry, CSIR has been working very closely with the MSME industry wherein many of its technologies and know-how have supported the grassroots enterprises. Together they have the potential to transform and stimulate the MSME sector in the country.
  • Creating a problem-solving mindset across schools in India through close cooperation between Atal Tinkering Labs and the JIGYASA initiative. The synergy between Atal Tinkering Laboratories that are working to foster creativity in young minds, and CSIR’s ´JIGYASA’ a student-scientist connect program wherein up to 300,000 students have been exposed to S&T, will enhance opportunities for students and stimulate their scientific thinking and temperament. 

The joint initiatives will be implemented through the development of Work Plans, which describe the activities to be carried out under this collaboration. India has risen to the 3rd position globally in terms of scientific publications as well as in the number of PhDs in STEM, as per the US-based National Science Foundation (NSF). With the rise in India’s population and growing awareness as well as accessibility to higher education, the number of researchers per million population has also doubled since 2000. The Government, on its part, has improved funding for higher education and scientific research while setting up partnerships with academic and research organisations as well as governments around the world to enable R&D activities. The focus on innovation is a step towards boosting the economy.