New Technologies and Development Issues

RIS has been researching on Science, Technology and Innovation issues from a development policy perspective since its inception. Over the years RIS has contributed to many projects and publications and provided policy advice/input. The major activities undertaken during 2017-2018 are summarized below. RIS has built up capacity in this topic and is often a preferred partner or policy research think tank, by various institutions and departments. In addition to typical research projects RIS undertakes small research projects or researches upon   selected themes and contributes to journals/volumes. RIS has been working on biotechnology and development related themes for more than two decades. UNESCO had commissioned RIS to undertake a study on Biotechnology Capacity in Asia. The report based on this study received wide attention. RIS participated in FAO International Symposium on “The Role of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition” held at Rome on 15-17 February 2016 and RIS DG was a member of the Advisory Panel. This was followed by

In the recent years Science Diplomacy has emerged as an important element in both foreign policy and science policy. While developed nations have been using it strategically and systematically, India has been using Science Diplomacy as part of its broader engagement with other countries. RIS with NIAS has initiated joint research program on this. Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) has emerged as a new concept and practice in Science Policy. RIS is perhaps the only institution in India that is working on it and contributing to global discourse and practice on RRI. After successful completion of an earlier project on RRI, RIS has become a partner institution in two projects on RRI. In addition to this through its other programs and initiatives in health sector, RIS is contributing to national health policy and governance, particularly on AYUSH. The launch of Forum on Indian Traditional Medicine (FITM) is a milestone in RIS’s involvement in research on health sector and in providing policy advice and inputs.

In the forthcoming years the work programme ‘New Technologies and Development Issues’ will continue to expand and diversify and will cover emerging technologies and enhance the synergy between this work program and other work programmes in RIS.

Main Areas of Research Activities

Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, Dr K. Ravi Srinivas, Prof. T.C. James, Dr Amit Kumar, Dr Namrata Pathak and Ms Deepika Yadav

This is an EU-sponsored international project under Horizon 2020 with the objective to study the idea of responsible research and innovation RRI in India. There are partners from 11 countries in this project consortium. RIS has put forward the framework based on Access, Equity and Inclusion AEI to contextualize RRI in Indian scenario. Field surveys of the case study organizations DST and JNU have been completed and the final draft report of the Indian National Study is being prepared. This is a 3-year project; that is 2016-2019.

Performance-based Innovation Rewards REWARD

This is a project on alternative mechanisms for incentivizing innovation in pharmaceutical sector and evidence policy making in health including measure impact and evaluation of options in health policy. This five -year project 2014-2019 is funded by European Research Council and coordinated by University of Central Lancashire, UK. The amended contract for undertaking a research project as part of Phase II has been finalized, and has been approved by the funder, ERC. Based on that RIS is coordinating a study ,to be undertaken in Kerala in Ernakulam District as part of Phase II of project. Institutional ethics clearances have been obtained. Clearance from ICMR is being sought. RIS is forming an ethics committee to oversee this study in Kerala, which is likely to begin shortly.

RRI– Horizon   

This is an EU-sponsored international project under Horizon 2020 with the objective to study the implementation of responsible research and innovation RRI in India. RIS from India is one of the non-EU partners in the project. This is a 3-year project, 2017-2020.

RIS-NIAS Project on Science Diplomacy

This would be a DST-sponsored 3-year project with the objective to map Indian scientific Diaspora for leveraging their expertise for national development. RIS and NIAS Bangalore are jointly undertaking this project. The project would be launched soon where senior officials from MEA, Secretary, DST and various eminent experts, diplomats and practitioners would be iniated share their precious observations. Case studies on science diplomacy and directory of global courses on science diplomacy are  being finalized. Timeline is: 2017-2020. This is an on-going programme.

Regional Background Study of Agricultural Biotechnologies in the Asia-Pacific

This was an UN-FAO sponsored short-term project with the objective to prepare a report on the status of applications, capacities and enabling environment for agricultural biotechnologies in the 43 Asia-Pacific countries.  Report has been submitted to FAO.

The objectives of research projects in the Health Sector are the following: Promote the role of Indian pharmaceutical industry in providing affordable access to quality medicines in developing countries ; Development of national policies and strategies for achieving SDG 3: ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages; and Promotion of Indian Systems of Medicine domestically and globally. During the year, research within the above overall objectives have been carried on the following projects.

Study on Indian Pharmaceutical Industry and Access to Medicine in the TRIPS Regime – WHO Project on Access to Medical Products

Prof. T.C. James, Dr Ravi Srinivas, Dr Namrata Pathak, Dr Abha Jaiswal, and Ms Deepika Yadav

The study has focused on how the new Intellectual Property regime has affected pharmaceutical industry and also access to affordable medicine in India and other developing countries. The scope of the study extends to the history and growth of Indian pharmaceutical industry during the three phases:  (i) from pre-Independence days to 1972, (ii) from 1972 to 2005, when there was no product patents and (iii) from 2005 to the present; visible trends in the sector post 2005, the current status of the industry, issue of access to medicines in India and other developing countries in the present scenario, innovation in pharmaceuticals as reflected in patenting.  A Position Paper on Access to Medical Products, Research, Innovation, Trade and Intellectual Property and a Brochure on SDGs were given  to WHO in November, 2017.   This study has been completed.

Clinical Trial Industry

Prof. T.C. James, Dr Abha Jaiswal, Dr Namrata Pathak

Government of India has come out with a Draft New Clinical Trial Rules, 2018; the first comprehensive regulations on clinical trials in India. RIS had earlier studied the implementation of the Supreme Court orders regarding clinical trial regulations, iterated in the Swasthya Adhikar Manch vs. UOI case ,and had provided a report to the WHO. In view of the urgency of providing comments to the Government, a stakeholder consultation was organized on 8 April, 2018 and based on the discussions clause by clause comments on the draft rules were prepared and submitted to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for due consideration.  A Discussion Paper based on the study is under preparation.

Medical Devices Industry

Prof T C James, Dr Abha Jaiswal

Medical devices industry forms the backbone of modern health care and would  be a major determinant of India;s achieving universal health -care ,as has been envisaged under Ayushman Bharat. The Study would focus on the state of the industry in India, its challenges during the next decade and the effective policy interventions that would be required for India to achieve the status of a major exporter of medical devices to the world. An Occasional Paper would be produced on completion of the study; would  take about nine months.

Indian Pharmaceutical Industry

Shri Rajeev Kher, Prof. T C James, Dr Abha Jaiswal, Dr Namrata Pathak, Shri Apurva Bhatnagar

This study would focus on the multi-sectoral policy interventions of the past which contributed to the growth of the Indian pharmaceutical industry to its present global leadership. It would also look into the new technological challenges like biotechnology revolution and Artificial Intelligence, confronting pharmaceutical industry, that necessitates development of advance policy responses across different sectors, both in medium-term and in long-term to maintain its position as the pharmacy of the world. The Study proposes to document and analyze past policy developments as contextual responses and present a blue print for future policy in the form of a book. It is expected to be completed in a year.  The proposal has been submitted to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry for assistance in the project.

Forum on Indian Traditional Medicine (FITM)

Prof. T.C. James, Dr Ravi Srinivas, Dr Namrata Pathak, Shri Apurva Bhatnagar.

The FITM has been established in the RIS with the participation of the Ministry of AYUSH to contribute towards pragmatic policy-making in the area of Traditional Medicines (TMs) As an initiative arising out of a partnership between Ministry of AYUSH, academia, industry and civil society, the FITM has the following broad objectives.

  • To establish a common platform for all actors and stakeholders to come together to contribute towards pragmatic policy-making on promotion of traditional medicine and traditional knowledge;
  • To undertake studies  on the various issues pertaining to  Indian Traditional Medicine (ITM) such as IPRs and regulatory frameworks for traditional medicinal knowledge including protection and access to traditional medicinal knowledge in India and in other countries;
  • To  examine the trade and non-trade barriers including the SPS/ TBT measures by countries that impinge on the commercial prospects of Indian Systems of Medicine; and
  • To   monitor global developments and global institutions in the field.  
  • Stakeholder Consultation on Traditional Knowledge Digital Library

Under the FITM, RIS organised a ‘Stakeholder Consultation on Traditional Knowledge Digital Library’ on 30 June 2017. Representatives from the Ministry of AYUSH, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, TM industry, academia/research institutions and practitioners of TM participated at the Consultation.  Based on the Consultation and further research, a Policy Brief, ‘Access and Expansion of Traditional Knowledge Digital Library and Incentivization of Innovations’ has already been published.

The FITM would also organize an ‘Industry Consultation on Global Promotion of Indian Systems of Medicine’ on 18 May 2018. Its primary objective was to facilitate industry-government dialogue to generate policy recommendations.  Representatives from the Ministry of AYUSH, other Ministries related to the traditional medicine industry, traditional medicine industry, academia/research institutions and practitioners of TM participated at the Consultation. A report based on the recommendations made at the Consultation would be submitted to the Ministry of AYUSH. A Policy Brief on ‘Global Promotion of Indian Systems of Medicine’ has  also been published.

Protection of Traditional Knowledge, Genetic Resources and  Traditional Cultural Expressions 

The study aims to examine the adequacy of legal provisions presently available for protecting TK, GR and associated traditional knowledge, and TCEs in India, included in the digital world. It further aims to assess their adequacy to prevent bio-piracy and propose changes/additions required in the existing laws, if any.

Three Scoping Papers on the three components of the Study are being prepared. These include the following:

In-depth Study on Protection of Traditional Knowledge;In-depth Study on Protection of Genetic Resources; and In-depth Study on Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions. The study is for a year, at the end of which detailed report would  be submitted to the Ministry of AYUSH.  Draft Scoping Papers on ‘In-depth Study on Protection of Traditional Knowledge’ and on ‘In-depth Study on Protection of Traditional Cultural Expressions’ have been circulated already to the FITM Board for approval.

China’s Policy Initiatives for National and Global Promotion of TCM

The study aims to explore China’s initiatives in mainstreaming Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCMs) in its public/universal healthcare system and in promoting TCMs globally. It further aims to make a comparative assessment of India’s strengths and weaknesses vis a vis China; the lessons drawn from which can  be incorporated/adapted for promotion of Indian Systems of Medicines (ISMs)  The study will result in a detailed Report by the end of 2018. A Scoping Paper on China’s Policy Initiatives for National and Global Promotion of TCM has already been published.

Research Fellowships under FITM Programme

The objective of the Fellowships is to conduct an in-depth inquiry and research on subjects related to Indian Traditional Medicines ITMs and challenges and prospects. The publications including books as a result of this enquiry aims to provide policy related research inputs on promotion of ITMs. Invited Talks by domain experts on varying subjects related to ITMs also form a part of the  project.  RIS will manage grant of Fellowships and further publications, after final clearance from the Ministry of AYUSH an FITM.

Export Promotion of Medicinal Plants Sector: Strategy for Select Medicinal Plants 

Shri Rajeev Kher, Prof T C James, Dr Ravi Srinivas and Dr Namrata Pathak

The study is to identify mechanisms to boost, among others, trade promotion of 25 medicinal-plants, identified by a Task Force of the Ministry of Commerce. Given the complexities around geographical spread and scale of collection and cultivation and the existing lack of traceability or data on the movement of goods along the value chain, an in-depth study of these medicinal-plants requires substantial   time and resources.  It is, therefore, proposed to begin with five most critical medicinal plants identified by the Task Force; with each medicinal plant’s value chain to be analyzed in its entirety while focusing on the need for intervention at one or more junctions. The proposal has been submitted to Ministry of Commerce.