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06-15-2024     3 رجب 1440

Guidelines for Scientific Social Responsibility

Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined the slogan, Jai Vigyan; Jai Anusandan that resonates with the theme

May 19, 2022 | Dr Monika Koul

“Scientific Knowledge Belongs to Humanity” has been advocated by many scientists and knowledge generators. In the same spirit, the Department of Science and Technology (GoI), had started deliberating on an important issue of taking science done in labs to the masses. It was almost five years back in the 104th session of Indian Science Congress, 2017 the need for inculcating Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) for engaging science for societal welfare was discussed. Since then, many action programmes, workshops and seminars were held by DST and DST supported platforms on understanding the public response to the issue. Finally, after years of deliberations, feedback DST has come out with SSR guidelines that institutions and people engaged with scientific institutions, universities, colleges, and other private labs involved in any aspect of science can use as guiding framework.

Science for many is an individual quest for knowing the unknown and many people spend their lives following a question that they try to seek answers for. However, science is also an endeavour to develop new knowledge that drives technology and brings in technological interventions that meet the needs of the society in general. The first Prime Minister of Free India in his first public address had firmly said that everything else can wait but science and he steered the wheel that resulted in huge investments in Science and Technology and eventually the best scientific institutes in the world that we take pride in today. Science shall remain on the top of priorities of every Government that comes to power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined the slogan, Jai Vigyan; Jai Anusandan that resonates with the theme that it is Science and Technology that can lead the country and make it a Global Knowledge Generator.
Science and Technology is dependent on public funding and funding comes from the tax paid by the public. Scientists are given huge grants to conduct research and develop new knowledge. Scientists most often do come up with interesting insights and information on various aspects and they communicate this knowledge to Journals that publish research papers. These research papers aid the scientists to get more grants and more papers and warranty their promotions and help them climb the academic ladders. The question is what does a common man get out of it and how do farmers know that the new variety that has been developed in a research lab helps him. A common man is entitled to know what we achieve by supporting science. The only way he can know is if scientists talk to him, which he often does not or is not interested to do.
Scientists are often tight lipped on this, they feel the peer recognition is what is required to endorse their research and that they achieve through technically sound publications. But the new SSR guidelines fix accountability on the scientists to communicate the science to the public in the language they can easily understand.
It is a step forward to strengthen science and society linkages, on a voluntary basis.
SSR guidelines have suggested 17 activities that the institutions can carry out to achieve the SSR. The scientists/University/College teachers need to recognize the problems in the society that can be solved by technological intervention. Every person who is holding an office as a researcher or Science Educator should communicate the advancements made in science through newspapers, magazines and TV programmes. Outreach activities to take the research to the end user is also suggested as a part of SSR. For the first time ever, it is clearly outlined that Individual SSR activities carried out by a researcher should be given due weightage in performance evaluation in performance-based assessment system (PBAS) used to evaluate the output of university and college teachers. The incentives for indulging in such activities were not there earlier and many people had to give up this pursuit even if they wanted to cater to PBAS requirements through other activities. National Science Service units like NSS (National Social Service) can be set up in schools and colleges where training, internships and activities can help in capacity building of scientific human resource. SSR also includes a blend of art, music and other performing arts to make science simple and reachable and also combat superstitions.
SSR should be a part of every institution and we must all aspire to be Scientifically Socially Responsible Citizens.

Writer is a Associate Prof, Dept of Botany, Hansraj College DU
Email:------- drmkoul@gmail.com

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Guidelines for Scientific Social Responsibility

Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined the slogan, Jai Vigyan; Jai Anusandan that resonates with the theme

May 19, 2022 | Dr Monika Koul

“Scientific Knowledge Belongs to Humanity” has been advocated by many scientists and knowledge generators. In the same spirit, the Department of Science and Technology (GoI), had started deliberating on an important issue of taking science done in labs to the masses. It was almost five years back in the 104th session of Indian Science Congress, 2017 the need for inculcating Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) for engaging science for societal welfare was discussed. Since then, many action programmes, workshops and seminars were held by DST and DST supported platforms on understanding the public response to the issue. Finally, after years of deliberations, feedback DST has come out with SSR guidelines that institutions and people engaged with scientific institutions, universities, colleges, and other private labs involved in any aspect of science can use as guiding framework.

Science for many is an individual quest for knowing the unknown and many people spend their lives following a question that they try to seek answers for. However, science is also an endeavour to develop new knowledge that drives technology and brings in technological interventions that meet the needs of the society in general. The first Prime Minister of Free India in his first public address had firmly said that everything else can wait but science and he steered the wheel that resulted in huge investments in Science and Technology and eventually the best scientific institutes in the world that we take pride in today. Science shall remain on the top of priorities of every Government that comes to power. Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined the slogan, Jai Vigyan; Jai Anusandan that resonates with the theme that it is Science and Technology that can lead the country and make it a Global Knowledge Generator.
Science and Technology is dependent on public funding and funding comes from the tax paid by the public. Scientists are given huge grants to conduct research and develop new knowledge. Scientists most often do come up with interesting insights and information on various aspects and they communicate this knowledge to Journals that publish research papers. These research papers aid the scientists to get more grants and more papers and warranty their promotions and help them climb the academic ladders. The question is what does a common man get out of it and how do farmers know that the new variety that has been developed in a research lab helps him. A common man is entitled to know what we achieve by supporting science. The only way he can know is if scientists talk to him, which he often does not or is not interested to do.
Scientists are often tight lipped on this, they feel the peer recognition is what is required to endorse their research and that they achieve through technically sound publications. But the new SSR guidelines fix accountability on the scientists to communicate the science to the public in the language they can easily understand.
It is a step forward to strengthen science and society linkages, on a voluntary basis.
SSR guidelines have suggested 17 activities that the institutions can carry out to achieve the SSR. The scientists/University/College teachers need to recognize the problems in the society that can be solved by technological intervention. Every person who is holding an office as a researcher or Science Educator should communicate the advancements made in science through newspapers, magazines and TV programmes. Outreach activities to take the research to the end user is also suggested as a part of SSR. For the first time ever, it is clearly outlined that Individual SSR activities carried out by a researcher should be given due weightage in performance evaluation in performance-based assessment system (PBAS) used to evaluate the output of university and college teachers. The incentives for indulging in such activities were not there earlier and many people had to give up this pursuit even if they wanted to cater to PBAS requirements through other activities. National Science Service units like NSS (National Social Service) can be set up in schools and colleges where training, internships and activities can help in capacity building of scientific human resource. SSR also includes a blend of art, music and other performing arts to make science simple and reachable and also combat superstitions.
SSR should be a part of every institution and we must all aspire to be Scientifically Socially Responsible Citizens.

Writer is a Associate Prof, Dept of Botany, Hansraj College DU
Email:------- drmkoul@gmail.com


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