New Technologies and Development Issues

Biotechnology and Development

RIS has been publishing Asian Biotechnology and Development Review, since early 1990s, as part of RIS work programme on Biotechnology and Development. In this year three issues were published including a Special Issue on Nanobiotechnology. RIS works with Secretariat of Convention on Biodiversity,Department of Biotechnology, UNESCO and the Ministry of Environment and Forests in this programme.In addition to this, RIS is interacting with academia, policymakers and other think-tanks in different countries on issues related to the Programme. RIS is undertaking a two year research project on Socio-Economic Assessment of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) , funded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) under UNEP-GEF Project on Capacity Building. This project is to be executed in association with five institutions is the first comprehensive project in India in this issue. The outputs are expected to help in decision making and in regulation of biotechnology. The report ‘Biotechnology Capacity in Asia-Pacific’ published in 2010 based on a project commissioned by UNESCO Jakarta has been revised and updated. This new edition was released in March 2014 by Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, DBT. This report has chapters on 18 countries in Asia- Pacific and situates the developments in biotechnology in the global context besides recommending measures for development of biotechnology in the region including options in capacity building. The activities and publications under this Programme will be expanded and diversified in the coming year.

Innova P2

Based on the research undertaken for the project a collection of articles have been published as a volume. The volume, The Living Tree: Traditional Medicine and Public Health in China and India (eds) Sachin Chaturvedi,Miltos Ladikas, Guo Lifeng, and Krishna Ravi Srinivas with Foreword by former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam has been published by Academic Foundation. A report on Traditional Medicine in India is in progress and would be published soon. The book recommends closer co-operation between India and China in using traditional medicine for improving public health and enhancing access to health. It suggests that traditional medicine in both countries can play a more meaningful role in public health. It recommends using Health Impact Fund proposal to incentivise research on development of new drugs using traditional medicine. It describes the issues and challenges in regulating traditional medicine in India and China, the issues faced by the industry and using intellectual property rights in the context of traditional medicine in both countries.RIS is partnering with University of Central Lancashire and few other institutions on another project REWARD that examines evidence based measures in health and access to medicines. This project funded by European Research Council is for five years (2014-2019) and likely to commence from the latter half of 2014.

Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of LMOs

RIS has been part of the global debate on socio-economic impact assessment of living modified organisms (LMOs) for last several years. The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has proposed a projectto be coordinated by RIS under UNEP-GEF Capacity Building Project on Biosafety – Phase II. This proposed project will be for two years and RIS will work with partner institutions, IARi, GIDR, ISEC, UAS Raichur, NAARM and TNAU. The project envisages development of guidelines and methodologies for socio-economic assessment of LMOs in agriculture, development of framework for incorporating Socio-Economic Aspects of LMOs in decision making, and guidelines for conducting cost-benefit analysis of LMOs in agriculture, taking into account the special needs in assessing the costs and benefits of two traits for two crops and Article 26 of CPB. This project builds upon RIS work on socio-economic impacts of transgenic crops and RIS work on development impacts of biotechnology. The project is unique one as for the first time in India such an exercise is being done on systematic and comprehensive basis. The outputs will be relevant for policy makers, regulators and institutions involved in development and research on GMOs in agriculture. This inter-disciplinary project will be implemented by RIS as the lead institution.

Promoting Global Responsible Research

In the international discourse on science and technology, the idea of responsible innovation is fast gaining major attention. RIS has joined other international institutions, under the Framework-7 of EU to explore and promote a governance framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) globally. The project is tilted as, “PROmoting Global REsponsible research and Social and Scientific innovation” (PRoGReSS). This was launched in February 2013. It will compare science funding strategies and innovation policies in Europe, the US, China, Japan, India, Australia and South Africa. Linking existing RRI networks from all over the world, it seeks to build support and momentum around a normative model for RRI to foster the convergence of innovation systems at the global level. RIS will be involved in ‘Innovation for Society’theme for Indian case study. As part of this project RIS has provided inputs on funding for S&T and Innovation in India and on RRI in India. RIS took part in the Project meetings held at Beijing. Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi has become the member of the editorial Board of Journal of Responsible Research and Innovation published by Taylor and Francis. Given the increasing importance given to RRI in Europe and elsewhere RIS is likely to be involved in another project related to RRI.

Technology, Global Firms and Employment

The imperatives of globalisation have highlighted the importance of technological advances and changes in industrial organisation. The emergence of global firms with their global operations and participation in global value chains has been a subject which has invited diverse analyses. In this context, a number of conflicting implications are plausible. On a positive note, changes in production processes have led to the introduction of several new products. They have also resulted in sharp cost reductions and improved growth performance in different sectors of an economy. In terms of adverse effects, these have also implied various labour market ramifications that may hinder the very development process. This research paper analyses these and other related issues both from a theoretical point of view and empirically, in order to arrive at some useful policy implications. Some preliminary findings of this study were presented in the Conference on “Global Firms, Global Finance and Global Inequalities” organised by School of Business and Economics, Loughborough University, UK and were shared informally at a discussion meeting of research scholars at the University of Cambridge in April 2012. Work is underway in light of the comments received.

Technology Transfer under the Clean Development Mechanism: A Multi-Country Analysis

RIS study would attempt to explore issues governing TT under the CDM and will carry out an in-depth analysis of multi-country empirical evidence on TT under the CDM on the basis of information derived from the first 1000 CDM projects that got registered with the UNFCCC. The study will use a database that is being prepared by extracting information from the UNFCCC website on all the projects under consideration, as well as the Project Design Documents (PDDs) of those projects. On the basis of rigorous research and analysis of the empirical evidence the study explores the prospects and challenges of TT to developing countries through the offsets route and puts forward appropriate policy recommendations in this regard. A paper on ‘The European Union’s Proposed Carbon Equalisation System: Some Implications for India’s Exports’ was also brought out.

Poverty and Investment: Channels to Economic Development

The RIS study aims to understand the effect of poverty on income through the channels of investment in human and physical capital. We expect to establish that the poverty reduction helps a country to earn more. Reduction in poverty leads to higher investments in both physical and human capital. Moreover,we expect that the rate of human capital accumulation, and therefore creation of indigenous capability in developing countries, is faster with poverty reduction than the rate of investment in physical capital. And, if poverty along with the existing credit market operations is acting as a barrier to human capital accumulation and investment in physical capital then we need to design policies which prescribe notonly redistributions of market incomes but also seeks government interventions in health and education sectors. A Paper on ‘Demographic Change, Brain Drain, and Human Capital: Development Potentials in Services-Driven South Asia’ was also brought out.

Implementation of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS)

A National Study on Implementation of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was done for Deutsche Gessellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The report was presented in the First International Dialogue on Practical Ways Forward for the Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol held in Cape Town, South Africa on 30-31 January 2014. Based on the study a Policy Brief would also be brought out. An analysis of the gaps in the implementation of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was done for the UNDP and based on the gap analysis, a roadmap for strengthening institutional capacities for effectiveimplementation of the Biological Diversity Act 2002 was prepared and furnished to the UNDP with a background note.

REWARD: Performance-based Innovation Rewards

Many international research groups are working on IPR reform plans based on performance-based rewards for pharmaceutical innovation. However, their efforts are disparate and lacking a guiding vision.REWARD will use world-class ethics research as the steering force to determine which performance based reward mechanism for pharmaceutical innovation is the most promising. In an interdisciplinary collaboration of ethicists, lawyers, economists, and statisticians, with experts in medicine, science and technology policy and gender studies the selected mechanism will be tested in a developed and a developing country.