Scientific Research Infrastructure for Maintenance and Networks (SRIMAN)

Context:
  • In recent years India has seen a growth in acquisition of research equipment (mostly imported). However, access to equipment’s needs attention.
  • It is common to find in Indian laboratories, expensive equipment’s lying idle or underutilized.
  • According to a recent study by NSTMIS, DST (2013), 94% of the research equipment used in India are imported while only 6% are being manufactured indigenously.
  • Further, the study showed that large number of equipment’s are not shared and are marred with issues related to maintenance and want of spares.
  • This adds to the burden of research infrastructure costs.
  • A suitable ecosystem for sharing of scientific equipment is a solution to this problem. A culture of collaboration/sharing between institutions helps in optimum utilization of equipment resulting in better maintenance of the equipment.
So, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has come up with this policy document.
 
Features of Policy
  • Procurement and maintenance of equipment and infrastructure for research
  • Providing access and sharing of scientific equipment and infrastructure
  • Disposal of scientific equipment and infrastructure
  • Capacity Building of operators and technicians for efficient operations
  • Monitoring of usage of expensive scientific research infrastructure
  • Infrastructure Management for efficient operations
  • It plans to hire out to researchers all lab equipment that cost more than ₹10 lakh.
 
How does it work?
  • It envisages institutions declaring on a website how often their instruments would be available for use by those outside the department or university.
  • Those who would like to use, for example, a DNA-sequencing machine, would have to pay a fee and specify the purpose and time they would want it for.
 
Advantages
  • The Govt would now rent instruments in government labs generating a steady rental income
  • This would reduce the amount of time such expensive instruments remain idle.
  • The policy also aims through its proper implementation to increase scientific output by wider access and reduce brain drain by providing access to wide section of researchers.

 

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