India has made significant strides in scientific and technological development by also becoming the first nation to reach Mars in its maiden attempt. India is facing various challenges and opportunities. Some of these important challenges are in the key sectors of clean water & energy, food, environment, climate, and healthcare. It is important to translate the scientific knowledge into innovations through start-ups and industry so as to facilitate India to achieve inclusive and sustainable growth in the coming decades. This goal can be achieved, through developing scientific temper among the masses and by strengthening India’s science and technology institutions & furthering their basic research.
Emphasizing the role of technologies and innovation, India has declared 2010-20 as the ‘Decade of Innovation’. The Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) have come together to organize The India International Science Festival (IISF) every year, since 2015 to encourage scientific temper among the masses and showcasing Indian contribution in the field of S&T over the years. The previous two editions of IISF held at New Delhi have been a great success.
The 3rd edition of IISF 2017 will be held in Chennai during 13-16 October, 2017 at various venues which include Anna University, Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Structural Engineering Research Centre (SERC), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and IIT-Madras.
The prime objective of the festival is to instill scientific temper among the masses and showcasing India’s contribution in the field of S&T over the years. It aims to build a strategy for rural India through the advancement of Science and Technology. Further, the science festival also intends to make innovation beneficial for the people and develop technology that is affordable to the masses.
Major Activities during the Festival will be:
1. Special Thematic Session on ‘Deep Ocean Research’
2. Science & Technology Minister’s Conclave
3. Sensitizing Youth to Flagship Programs of Government (SYPOG)
4. Science Village: Parliament to Panchayat’’
5. National Meet on ‘Social Organisations and Institutions’: ‘Transforming India through Science & Technology’
6. Women Scientists & Entrepreneur’s Conclave
7. National Science Teachers Workshops (Focusing North East States)
8. Industry Academia Interaction
9. Mega Science, Technology & Industry Expo
10. India International Science Festival
11. Grassroots Innovators Summit
12. National Start-up Summit
13. Round Table Meet on Mass Communication
14. World Record attempt will be made in “Largest Biology Lesson”
15. National Level Competitions – Ideas for Bharat Nirman
16. Outreach Programme in R&D Labs
17. Satellite Seminars
18. Cultural Events
The Govt of India is launching a National Mission on Deep Ocean Research which will bring in huge economic benefits by harnessing the ocean resources (water, energy and minerals). A special thematic session on Deep Ocean Research will be held.
The Scientific departments and Ministries of the Government of India have active international collaboration in science and technology both at the bilateral and regional level. India is engaged in R&D cooperation with more than 44 countries across the globe including advanced, emerging and developing nations. The S&T Ministers Conclave at IISF-2017 will provide an opportunity to exchange the scientific and technological priorities of the participating countries that can help to develop a roadmap for S&T cooperation. This roadmap can be used by all the S&T Departments to engage proactively with each of these countries. The focus will be on capacity building through mechanisms such as fellowships, internships, twinning, training, data sharing, joint projects and technology transfer. The development and deployment of affordable and innovative technologies that provide solution to societal problems will also be a common agenda for the Conclave. Participation of Ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Portugal are expected in the Conclave.
‘Science for New India’ aims to provides a platform to young students, scientists and technocrats from across India for the exchange of knowledge & ideas in the line of flagship programs like ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Swasth Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘Smart Villages’, ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Namami Gange’, ‘Unnath Bharath Abhiyan’, etc.
An important event of the IISF-2017 is the Science Village program which is linked with the Pradhan Manthri Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana to reach out to the rural masses and propagate science to the extent of seeking scientific solutions to the diverse challenges facing our society, particularly rural India.. Each Member of Parliament will nominate 5 students from class 9th – 11th and 1 teacher from their adopted village. The Science Village will thus demonstrate a mass representation from the rural parts of India and a continuation of the democratic process: ”Parliament to Panchayat”. The prime goal of the science village is to give exposure to the students from rural India and make them aware of India’s achievements in the frontier areas of science & technology.
As a unique programme of IISF 2017, a Women Scientists & Entrepreneur’s Conclave titled “Game Changers Driving Science for New India” would be organized to promote and encourage science education and entrepreneurship among the women. The aim of the programme is to develop new entrepreneurship and also explore new vistas of opportunities in the field of science and technology among the women.
The Industry-Academia interaction meet aims at Industry – Academic Institutional tie ups in R&D and achieving improved efficiency in production and manufacturing. The interaction will bring out a brief proceeding on the recent paradigm changes in various sectors of Industry. Representatives from industry and academia will also have a good opportunity to discuss the changing trends on management principles, scientific advancement and technological assimilation in industry and economy.
National Innovation Foundation (NIF) will be organising the ‘Innovation Exhibition’ as a part of the Grassroots Innovators Summit, which aims at providing a common platform for various stakeholders—from innovators, students, researchers to policy makers. About 100 innovative technologies from all states of the country will be showcased at the exhibition. The special focus will be given to those which could be diffused socially and generate employment.
The Round Table Meet on Mass Communication will address the various methods and techniques to popularize science and its applications. In the International Science Film Festival, Films on science focusing on science fiction from India and abroad will be screened.
World record attempts have been a key part of IISF since 2015; in IISF 2015, students took a successful shot at the Guinness world record for the World’s Largest Science Lesson at IIT Delhi. In IISF 2016, at NPL, Pusa, a group of 550 students attempted the world record for Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Nobel Prize-winning scientist Albert Einstein. In IISF 2017, a World Record attempt will be made in “Largest Biology Lesson”. 1000 students from Class 9th & 10th will be gathering at the venue in Chennai for this attempt.
The IISF is not only a celebration of science and technology through exhibitions and relevant events, but also has been geared up to spread awareness on the flagship programs like ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Swasth Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’.
The Honourable Vice President of India and many Union Ministers will be participating in IISF-2017.
The IISF will go a long way in delivering the goal of imparting ‘spirit of enquiry’ to the public masses.