(The Gist of Science Reporter) CSIR Creating Scientific Knowledgebase – Delivering technology   [MAY-2018]


(The Gist of Science Reporter) CSIR Creating Scientific Knowledgebase – Delivering technology

  [MAY-2018]


CSIR Creating Scientific Knowledgebase – Delivering technology

The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has been a steady partner in India’s progress in its seventy year journey as an independent nation. The CSIR today is a well-knit dynamic network of 38 laboratories wit activities ranging from molecular biology to mining, medicinal plants to mechanical engineering, mathematical modeling to metrology, chemicals to coal, pharmaceuticals to petroleum, materials to minerals, glass & ceramics, leather, environmental engineering and much more.

During the 75 years of its momentous journey, products processes and technologies rolling out of the precincts of CSIR laboratories have impacted several sectors crucial for the country’s growth – from ushering in food security through forays in the agriculture sector to kick-starting the pharmaceutical industry, from initiating R&D in the aerospace sector to explorations in oceanography, from increasing farmers’ income through new crop packages to rejuvenating the leather industry, from providing clean drinking water to villages and remote areas to providing critical inputs for building roads – to name only a few.

Some CSIR technology that are well known in the public domain include Amul baby food; Nutan stove; Saheli non-steroidal once a week oral contraceptive pill for women, now a part of the National Family Planning Program; ‘E-mail’ for drug resistance malaria; Asmon herbal; therapeutic for asthma; ‘Flosolver’ – india’s first parallel computer; Swaraj and Sonalika tractor, and the indelible ink that adorns the finger of a proud Indian voter at the time of the democratic exercise of the general or state elections.

Building and Nurturing Nation’s S&T Human Capital

CSIR‘s role in S&T human resource development is noteworthy. It nurtures Young Researchers to mature into Young Scientists through the desired training and supports them through fellowships, namely, Junior Research Fellowship (JRF), Senior Research Fellowship (SRF), Research Associate ship, etc. It also provides extra mural research funding to public-funded institutions.

Creating Nation’s Intellectual Property Portfolio

Pioneer of India’s intellectual property movement, CSIR today is strengthening its patent portfolio to carve out global niches for the country in select technology domains. CSIR is granted 90% of US patents granted to any Indian publicly funded R&D organisation.

On an average CSIR files about 300 Indian patents and 250 foreign patents every year. Amongst its peers in publicly funded research organisations in the world, CSIR is a leader in terms of filing and securing patents worldwide. CSIR has filed 1027 patent applications in India and 1485 patent applications abroad while it was granted 448 Indian patents and 1268 foreign patents during 2014-15 to 2017-18.

Aerospace – Strengthening the Ecosystem

CSIR plays a pivotal role in creating an enabling ecosystem for aerospace technology deployment in the country by providing advanced technology solutions with strong science footing. With its growing involvement in the Indian space programme, its multidisciplinary activities and global positioning, CSIR provides necessary support to all major National aerospace programmes which include aircraft, missiles, launch vehicles, satellites, defence systems and services. CSIR’s contributions in the area include Drishti (visibility measurement system for Indian airports), Dhvani (state-of-the-art marksmanship system for the Indian army), Head-Up DiSplay for aircraft pilots, Hansa (a trainer aircraft), CNMS (a five seater multipurpose aircraft), technology components for Tejas, etc.

Agro-Food Technologies -Innovating for Soda-economic Transformation

CSIR has been contributing significantly for socio-economic transformation in the country through food and food processing and agro-technologies. CSIR efforts are focused on important medicinal & aromatic and dye plants, floriculture and the development of agriculture-related machines/devices to enhance the income of farmers. CSIR has developed many new varieties of medicinal, aromatic and economic plants along with development of processes/ machines for their value addition. Recently, it has launched Aroma Mission to leverage the national capacity in this important domain of economic importance.

In the food sector, the focus is on innovative interventions at the farm level that cuts the colossal losses, post-harvest processing technologies for fruits and vegetables adopted by small units for rural India and managed by Self Help Groups, nutritious food products and food supplements to help address malnutrition and products for mid-day meal programme.

Healthcare Affordability, Accessibility and Availability for All

It is significant that 11 of the 14 new drugs developed in independent India are from CSIR. CSIR’s expertise and skills across domains such as chemistry, chemical biology, microbiology, biotechnology, disease biology, diagnostics and therapeutics against neglected and chronic diseases, biologics, characterised herbal formulations, and identification of new drug targets to fasten drug discovery, gives it a unique positioning for pursuing the much needed inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary R&D activities.

Notable achievements of the CSIR are: Streptokinase -~ Natural Streptokinase, India’s first indigenous clot buster for heart attacks, followed by recombinant, third and fourth generation patented versions; Risorine (a new drug formulation against TB that enhances the bio-availability of Rifampicin, eliminating the need for high doses of the drug), Prostalyn (herbal formulation for treating prostate cancer), Once-a-week family planning pill ‘Centchroman’ , ‘Arteether’ (anti-malarial drug), ‘Memory Sure’ (memory-enhancing drug), ‘Asmon’ (asthma drug), a number of traditional knowledge based Anti-arthritis herbal formulations, Anti-fungal herbal formulation, etc.

CSIR has recently launched the phytopharmaceutical mission which would position India globally, utilizing the wealth if phyto and traditional knowledge wisdom.

Microbial Technology and Modern Biotechnology

In the domain of microbial technology, CSIR’s efforts are focused on basic and applied R&D in genetic engineering and optimizing the microbial processes. CSIR develops and maintains gene pool resources and genetic stocks of microbial cultures and other cell lines. It also designs and develops process equipment and bioreactors. Its significant contributions include Superoxide Dismutase (used in cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical industries for developing anti-ageing creams, extending shelf life of fruits & vegetables and during cryo-surgery and preservation of organelles); metal gluconates; energy efficient alcohol technology; alkaline protease; alpha amylase; microbial whole cell biocatalysts, etc.

Chemicals and Chemical Technology – Making of the World Leaders

CSIR has been instrumental in providing innovative solutions to problems faced by Indian Industry, and in the process, has addressed numerous societal challenges in the areas of drugs & pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, oils, lipids, catalysis, functional materials, etc. The seminal contributions of CSIR in chemistry have led to the global leadership positioning of the nation in generic drugs, leather, Specialty chemicals, etc. Some recent notable achievements are: Novel processes for ATBS, hydrazine hydrate (used m agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and for water treatment) and misoprostol (drug used for medical abortion); UF membranes for water purification; sulphate of potash; biogas, etc.

CSIR has launched a mission on chemical intermediates and APIs which endeavours to find and address the demand and supply gap of chemicals and processes pertinent to the Indian chemical industry and develop cost-effective environment friendly technologies.

Also, CSIR has launched a mission on catalysis for sustainable development recognising that while most of the conventional catalysts are tuned for fossil feedstock, the challenge is to develop efficient catalysts for converting renewables at benign and near ambient conditions. Addressing this challenge, the mission adopts a multi-pronged approach utilising thermochemical/ electrochemical/ photochemical/photo electro catalytic methods in the process development.

Petroleum – Global Orientation

In the petroleum sector, CSIR has helped break the stranglehold of the near cartel situation in technology. Its contributions have been wide ranging-fromoilfleld chemicals and additives for drilling and transportation to the state-of-the-art refinery processes. Achievements of CSIR in the sub-domains of catalysis and new materials are also noteworthy.

Electronics & Instrumentation

CSIR has been an active player in assisting electronics, instrumentation and process control industry in technology development, absorption, upgradation and diversification. Hand-held Ksheer Scanner for testing milk adulteration is one such example.

CSIR supports the Health Sector by its low-cost innovations in the areas of medical diagnostics/devices based on micro sensors, novel prosthetic aids and robotic aids for surgery. Further, in the agro sector, crop health monitoring, agro-produce gradation, nondestructive quality assessments and post-harvest monitoring and control to reduce losses are some important areas where significant interventions have been brought in. In addition, CSIR has provided strong support for electronics related to pollution control devices and developing photo-voltaics in the energy sector.

In order to further leverage the translational research effort in the domain, CSIR has launched a mission on Intelligent Systems addressed at technology development for unmet needs, leveraging, artificial intelligence based techniques in consonance with advanced electronics.

Infrastructure Engineering – Building and Strengthening National Capacity

CSIR has contributed significantly. in the domain of infrastructure engineering. It has been catalysing and enabling the infrastructure planning particularly of the roads, buildings and bridges by providing up-to-date knowledgebase and human resources through strategic alliances. It lays special emphasis on the deve10pment of alternate construction materials utilising waste and economising on energy.

Development of Rural Areas - Keeping the Social Promise

As a socially conscious organisation, CSIR has been providing the knowledgebase needed for socio-economic development in the country. It has developed S&T interventions for problems in rural areas and those of people at the base of the economic pyramid. These S&T interventions are for improving the quality of life and augmenting the income levels of people, particularly in rural areas. Technologies developed for affordable housing and cold mix technology for rural roads are worth mentioning.

CSIR - The Path Ahead

CSIR is repositioning itself towards technology and intellectual property development, translation and commercialisation with a major focus on enhancing industrial competitiveness and entrepreneurship. CSIR today is focused in a major way on “Technology Innovation and Translational Research and Commercialisation” to achieve the national goals. CSIR is also focusing on solving the problems faced by the common people, through desired scientific and technological interventions. On the societal front, other mandates include large-scale skill development and employment generation. Thematic approach to harness multi-disciplinary talent and infrastructure for solving specific challenges in identified sectors is a focused new initiative being pursued by the CSIR. Thematic Directorates have been formed and cover specific sectors.

The Theme Directorates are envisaged to provide for greater alignment to and for enhancing industrial/ stakeholder focus of CSIR R&D activities. The roadmap and activities of each theme would focus on substantial contributions towards each of the parameters public good, private good, strategic good and societal good.

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