Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said the proposed National Research Foundation will ensure equitable funding for scientific research and greater private participation in the endeavour.
Addressing the 11th BRICS STI Ministerial Meeting at Goeberha in South Africa virtually, he said the National Research Foundation will also be given the task of creating a policy framework and regulatory process to promote research and development across universities.
On Friday, Singh introduced the Anusandhan National Research Foundation Bill in the Lok Sabha to set up a national agency to fund research across universities in the country.
"We are planning a unique public-private partnership entity for which Rs 36,000 crore of the research funding is to come from the private sector, mostly industry, whereas the government will put Rs 14,000 crore for the same to ensure greater participation of industry," the minister told his counterparts from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.
He said several disciplines have to work together to develop evidence-informed, context-relevant, resource-optimising, culturally compatible and equity-promoting solutions. "With an ever-increasing horizon of research activities, it is pertinent not only to address scientific research but also to work from end-to-end worksheets to embrace the challenge," Singh said.
According to the bill, the NRF will subsume the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) that was established in 2008 through an Act of Parliament. The NRF proposes a more expansive definition of research which includes science, engineering, information technology, liberal arts, social sciences and humanities.
The SERB only envisaged funding research, while the NRF can fund and receive money from private sources, philanthropic and international organisations.
Singh said India would support the BRICS efforts in developing innovative and inclusive solutions, including digital and technological tools to deepen science and technology cooperation in areas like health, agriculture, water, marine sciences, renewable energy, biotechnology, advanced digital technologies and environment for sustainable development and facilitate affordable and equitable access to global public goods. India looks forward to working closely to enhance the BRICS collaboration in the field of science, technology and innovation, he said.