CSIR-Summer Research Training Programme Gets Overwhelming Response

DG-CSIR Inaugurates Curtain Raiser 


Dr Shekhar C. Mande, Director-General, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Secretary, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India, inaugurated online the curtain raiser of the CSIR-Summer Research Training Programme (CSIR-SRTP) 2020 hosted by CSIR-North East Institute of Science & Technology (CSIR-NEIST), Jorhat. 

A nation-wide programme happening for the first time in the academic history of India, the CSIR-SRTP is being coordinated by the CSIR-NEIST. During the curtain raiser of the programme, director of CSIR-NEIST, Dr G. Narahari Sastry said that the concept of this online summer research training programme started germinating with the lockdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea was to gainfully employ the scientific strength of CSIR labs to mentor and guide students of the country whose academic schedules have been thrown into chaos due to the lockdown.

Dr Sastry informed that the advertisement was floated on 1 June 2020 and soon enough an overwhelming response of more than 16,000 applications was received from all across the country. The last date of receiving the applications had to be extended from 5 June to 8 June 2020 to accommodate more applications. Dr Sastry lauding the dedicated team of CSIR-NEIST staff for accomplishing the Herculean task of processing the plethora of applications on a war footing in two days and then having the list of shortlisted candidates declared by 10 June 2020, as a feat achieved. 

Dr Sastry concluded by saying that the best of the innovation in science and technology have come about during the times of war, pandemic and natural disasters. Therefore, this pandemic has posed a challenge and given an opportunity to science and technology to give its best.

The curtain raiser was attended by more than 3100 people online through MS Team and Facebook. The programme was also attended by a galaxy of dignitaries including directors of various CSIR laboratories, including the director of CSIR’s Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Prof. Rajender Singh Sangwan. Prof. Alok Dhawan, Director, CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow, introduced Dr Shekhar C. Mande, before the commencement of his presentation. 

Dr Mande narrated the motto of the programme which is quoted as “When the world is in lockdown and universities and educational institutes are closed, we need to proactively create opportunities to engage and connect students and teachers to bring forth innovativeness, and creativity to combat COVID pandemic, through science and technology research projects.” 

The DG further went on to say that the objective of the programme was to provide a scientifically stimulating platform to the students stuck at home due to lockdown and expose them to scientific research and inculcate a scientific temperament. He mentioned that the salient features of the programme are popular lectures by eminent personalities, individual mentorship of each student (2 months full time), specialised lectures, live demonstration of high-end equipment, instruments and experimental procedures, lectures on fundamental, applied and translational research topics. He categorically stated that this is not an online lecture series, but a full-fledged research training programme.

Next, Dr Mande gave a presentation on the “Role of CSIR in Shaping New India”. He elaborated upon the multitude of CSIR technologies like the indelible ink used in India and many countries abroad during elections. He mentioned about CSIR’s role in the green revolution in the country by producing the first indigenous tractor that contributed in a great way to the mechanisation of farming practices and also by producing agri-pesticides. He underscored the pivotal role played by CSIR in the pharmaceutical sector of our country, especially the generic drugs by carrying out high-quality R&D to producing cheap, highly effective and affordable drugs which facilitated the health care facilities in Africa too.

He commended the scientists working throughout the country in various CSIR labs in their endeavour to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by researching on new medicines, vaccines, PPE kits, ventilators, better diagnostic techniques, oxygen enrichment unit, setting up testing facilities, etc. and expressed hope that CSIR products would give a new dimension and fortify the health care system in the country’s fight against the pandemic. 

He further said there is are a multitude of such examples which vindicates the fact that CSIR has always risen to the occasion in the face of any challenge and “Atmanirbharta” is in the genes of CSIR. Dr Mande concluded his presentation by urging never to practice science without humanity. 

The programme culminated with concluding remarks and vote thanks proposed by Dr Vidyadhar Y. Mudkavi, Director, CSIR-4PI. 

Bijit Kumar Choudhury (PhD), Sr Scientist, GSTD, CSIR-NEIST, Jorhat