National Research Foundation Bill to be introduced in Parliament

The bill facilitates the establishment of National Research Foundations across the country to promote R&D
The NRFs will be governed by the DST. | Pic: EdexLive
The NRFs will be governed by the DST. | Pic: EdexLive

The Union Council of Ministers approved the introduction of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill, 2023 in the Parliament today, June 28, the government confirmed through an official press release in the Press Information Bureau. 

The Bill, once approved in the Parliament, is said to “pave the way to establish NRF that will seed, grow and promote Research and Development (R&D) and foster a culture of research and innovation throughout India’s universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories”, according to the press release.

About NRFs

NRFs or National Research Foundations, as facilitated by the Bill, would provide “high-level strategic direction of scientific research in the country”, in accordance with the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. These NRFs would operate at an estimated total cost of Rs 50,000 crores for five years.

These NRFs would be administered by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), and governed by a Governing Board consisting of eminent researchers and professionals across disciplines. The Prime Minister of India would serve as the ex-officio President of this Board, with the Union Ministers of Education and Science & Technology serving as the ex-officio Vice-Presidents. 

The functioning of the NRFs will further be governed by an Executive Council chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, states the press release.

What's the objective of NRF? 

The aim of the NRFs is to build collaborations between industry, academia, government departments and research institutions, and to create an area for the participation of industries, state governments, scientific and line ministries. 

“It will focus on creating a policy framework and putting in place regulatory processes that can encourage collaboration and increased spending by the industry on R&D,” the statement mentions.

Further, the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), established in 2008 by a Parliamentary Act, will be repealed and subsumed into the NRF framework, as the latter “has an expanded mandate and covers activities over and above the activities of SERB”.

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