Initiated by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the GoI as an important national program to build a unique ‘One Nation One Research Web Portal’ for scientific community, the Indian Science Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM): Linking Researchers and Resources, will hold the database of all the R&D facilities established in institutions around the country, and enable their sharing in a transparent manner. The IP protected Portal has been built by, and is managed by, Nanoscience Centre of Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
All academic institutions, national research labs, and aided/affiliated institutions with R&D facilities funded by agencies of the GoI, will be required to list them on the I-STEM Portal. In addition this will also serve to provide a live inventory of R&D facilities in the academia, national labs, and industry, whether created with public and private investment. It is required that the funding agencies in R& D (in science, technology, engineering, medicine, and agriculture), make sure that all institutions list their public-funded facilities on the I-STEM portal and ensure that they are made available to users (Internal and External).
The I-STEM Portal is designed to be the gateway for users/researchers to locate the specific type of facility they need for their R&D work and to identify the one that is either located closest to them or available the soonest. Once a researcher locates the desired facility through I-STEM, s/he can make an online reservation for using it, paying for it through a secure payment gateway.
The Portal will thus provide comprehensive data on sharing of facilities and, thereby, on the active participation of institutions in the I-STEM project. The portal also supports a panel of experts in various fields of science, engineering and technology so that researchers can seek their advice to achieve greater success in their R&D projects. This is likely to lead to better R&D outcomes, both in the academia and industry.
Not just public and private academic institutions, but industry will also be able to share their R&D lab equipment as well as scientific products/equipment accessories. Furthermore, industry will also be able to access needed facilities through I-STEM for their R&D. This will enable start-ups to leverage public and private investment to pursue their innovative ideas, and come up with successful products and services. The android app for this is also available in Google play store.
More than 17000 equipments located at about 427 institutions across India (including those of CSIR, DST, & DBT) have been listed on I-STEM, with more being added daily in the ongoing national I-STEM project. Work is in progress to include facilities at research institutions of DRDO, ISRO, DAE, ICAR, and ICMR etc., as well as institutions of other Ministries related to Science and Technology.
I-STEM is expected to greatly enhance utilization of R&D equipment nationwide, thereby reducing duplication and saving precious public funds through a reduction in capital budget for R&D, and releasing funds that can provide support to a much larger number of researchers, especially those in smaller and more remote institutions.
I-STEM is also expected to enhance collaboration among academics, and between industry and the academia. The I-STEM project will also likely result in the creation of skilled manpower at various levels, enhancing job opportunities, and in the building of a better R&D ecosystem in the country, in public as well as private organizations.
Thus, the I-STEM initiative is aimed at, and is expected to lead to, greater R&D productivity, innovation, especially among start-ups, resulting in growth of industry and the national economy.
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