The Research & Development (R&D) infrastructure and other resources of public-funded entities will soon be opened up for private firms and individuals to carry out their research.

“Sharing of publicly-funded R&D resources has become ever more urgent owing to the very high cost of equipment and facilities and costs laid out over their future operation and maintenance,” says a draft, which has been released for feedback/comments from pharma, biotech industry and other stakeholders. Access may be provided for a fee, at subsidised rates or even free of cost, depending on the government policy.

The Centre is working on launching an integrated portal to be called Indian Science, Technology and Engineering Facilities Map, I-STEM Portal, in this regard.

The portal, which will have an up-to-date list of all functioning R&D equipment and facilities procured through government grants located at various institutions and organisation, will be made open to the public, according to the draft guidelines on sharing of public-funded R&D resources, released by Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

The advanced information technologies can enable the sharing of resources a reality as different agencies of government can create and maintain an updated national and regional inventory of resources.

“This has the potential for revving up R&D productivity and enhancing the effectiveness of public investment. Apparently, the motto is linking researchers and resources,” the draft said.

Nodal office

A nodal office should be set up at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore to establish, operate and maintain the I-STEM portal, it suggested. If this becomes a reality, key and expensive equipment installed in various entities, including national and regional research labs under the administrative control of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, among others, could be thrown open to private and individual research projects.