NEP National Education Policy 2020 > National Research Foundation
National Education Policy 2020 for India NEP2020
Chapter 17. Catalysing Quality Academic Research in All Fields through a new National Research Foundation
17.1. Knowledge creation and research are critical in growing and sustaining a large and vibrant economy, uplifting society, and continuously inspiring a nation to achieve even greater heights. Indeed, some of the most prosperous civilizations (such as India, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece) to the modern era (such as the United States, Germany, Israel, South Korea, and Japan), were/are strong knowledge societies that attained intellectual and material wealth in large part through celebrated and fundamental contributions to new knowledge in the realm of science as well as art, language, and culture that enhanced and uplifted not only their own civilizations but others around the globe.
17.2. A robust ecosystem of research is perhaps more important than ever with the rapid changes occurring in the world today, e.g., in the realm of climate change, population dynamics and management, biotechnology, an expanding digital marketplace, and the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence. If India is to become a leader in these disparate areas, and truly achieve the potential of its vast talent pool to again become a leading knowledge society in the coming years and decades, the nation will require a significant expansion of its research capabilities and output across disciplines. Today, the criticality of research is more than ever before, for the economic, intellectual, societal, environmental, and technological health and progress of a nation.
17.3. Despite this critical importance of research, the research and innovation investment in India is, at the current time, only 0.69% of GDP as compared to 2.8% in the United States of America, 4.3% in Israel and 4.2% in South Korea.
17.4. The societal challenges that India needs to address today, such as access for all its citizens to clean drinking water and sanitation, quality education and healthcare, improved transportation, air quality, energy, and infrastructure, will require the implementation of approaches and solutions that are not only informed by top-notch science and technology but are also rooted in a deep understanding of the social sciences and humanities and the various socio-cultural and environmental dimensions of the nation. Facing and addressing these challenges will require high-quality interdisciplinary research across fields that must be done in India and cannot simply be imported; the ability to conduct one's own research also enables a country to much more easily import and adapt relevant research from abroad.
17.5. Furthermore, in addition to their value in solutions to societal problems, any country's identity, upliftment, spiritual/intellectual satisfaction and creativity is also attained in a major way through its history, art, language, and culture. Research in the arts and humanities, along with innovations in the sciences and social sciences, are, therefore, extremely important for the progress and enlightened nature of a nation.
17.6. Research and innovation at education institutions in India, particularly those that are engaged in higher education, is critical. Evidence from the world’s best universities throughout history shows that the best teaching and learning processes at the higher education level occur in environments where there is also a strong culture of research and knowledge creation; conversely, much of the very best research in the world has occurred in multidisciplinary university settings.
17.7. India has a long historical tradition of research and knowledge creation, in disciplines ranging from science and mathematics to art and literature to phonetics and languages to medicine and agriculture. This needs to be further strengthened to make India lead research and innovation in the 21st century, as a strong and enlightened knowledge society and one of the three largest economies in the world.
17.8. Thus, this Policy envisions a comprehensive approach to transforming the quality and quantity of research in India. This includes definitive shifts in school education to a more play and discoverybased style of learning with emphasis on the scientific method and critical thinking. This includes career counselling in schools towards identifying student interests and talents, promoting research in universities, the multidisciplinary nature of all HEIs and the emphasis on holistic education, the inclusion of research and internships in the undergraduate curriculum, faculty career management systems that give due weightage to research, and the governance and regulatory changes that encourage an environment of research and innovation. All of these aspects are extremely critical for developing a research mindset in the country.
17.9. To build on these various elements in a synergistic manner, and to thereby truly grow and catalyze quality research in the nation, this policy envisions the establishment of a National Research Foundation (NRF). The overarching goal of the NRF will be to enable a culture of research to permeate through our universities. In particular, the NRF will provide a reliable base of merit-based but equitable peer-reviewed research funding, helping to develop a culture of research in the country through suitable incentives for and recognition of outstanding research, and by undertaking major initiatives to seed and grow research at State Universities and other public institutions where research capability is currently limited. The NRF will competitively fund research in all disciplines. Successful research will be recognized, and where relevant, implemented through close linkages with governmental agencies as well as with industry and private/philanthropic organizations.
17.10. Institutions that currently fund research at some level, such as the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Department of Bio-Technology (DBT), Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), and University Grants Commission (UGC), as well as various private and philanthropic organizations, will continue to independently fund research according to their priorities and needs. However, NRF will carefully coordinate with other funding agencies and will work with science, engineering, and other academies to ensure synergy of purpose and avoid duplication of efforts. The NRF will be governed, independently of the government, by a rotating Board of Governors consisting of the very best researchers and innovators across fields.
17.11. The primary activities of the NRF will be to:
( Source : PDF of National Education Policy 2020 at Ministry of Education, India website.)
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