India and Russia enjoy a very healthy and long standing bilateral scientific cooperation, which began with signing of the Science and Technology Agreement between India and USSR in 1972, and was further strengthened with conclusion of the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) of Scientific Cooperation at the highest state level by the then Prime Minister of India and General Secretary of Communist Party of Soviet Union in 1987. Considering that Russia was the Successor State of USSR, ILTP was termed as Indo-Russian programme by the ILTP Joint Council in its 5thSession held in Moscow in 1992. A new Agreement on Science & Technology between India and Russia was concluded in 1994 in Moscow. In December 2002 the two governments concluded a Protocol on Protection and Usage of Intellectual Property arising out of bilateral scientific cooperation.
Both India and Russia have been making concerted efforts to strengthen, expand and deepen cooperation in this important area. An Indo-Russian Working Group on Science and Technology (S&TWG) was set up for steering the S&T cooperation between the two countries, which became one of the major Working Groups under the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC). New programmes to promote cooperation in both basic and applied research and for commercialization of outcome of such research, were mounted based on evaluation and analysis of existing mechanisms. The time tested ties between India and Russia led to Science and Technology cooperation in multifarious areas.
Presently cooperation is being implemented through following institutionalised bilateral level programmes and mechanisms:
1. Working Group on Science & Technology
2. Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) of Cooperation in Science and Technology
3. Basic Science Cooperation programme
4. Inter-Academy Exchange Programme
5. Indo-Russian S&T Centre
6. Inter-Ministerial Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation
1) Indo-Russian Working Group for Cooperation in Science & Technology
Indo-Russian Working Group for Cooperation in Science & Technology (IRWGS&T), one of the major Working Groups under the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC), was set up in 1993.Six Working Subgroups have been set up under this Working Group which decide and implement the collaborative research projects. These are on
- Industrial Realization of High Technologies: Department of Science and Technology, (India) and Ministry of Education and Science (Russia)
- Biotechnology: Department of Biotechnology (India) and RAS Centre of Bioengineering (Russia)
- Medical Sciences: Indian Council of Medical Research (India) and Russian Academy for Medical Sciences through Institute of Immunology (Russia)
- Meteorology: India Meteorology Department (India) and ROSHYDROMET (Russia)
- Metrology, Standards & Certification: Bureau of Indian Standards (India) and GOST-R(Russia)
- Oceanology: National Institute of Oceanography (India) and Russian Ministry of Education and Science (Russia)
The Working Subgroups are being administered by the concerned Ministry / Department / Institute who fund their respective collaborative activities Department of Science & Technology (DST) and the Russian Ministry for Education and Science (RMES) are the coordinators from the two sides. The activities of these thematic Working Subgroups as well as under other collaborative programmes are reported periodically to IRIGC through IRWGS&T.
2) Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) of Cooperation in Science & Technology
Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) of cooperation in Science & Technology is the biggest and most exhaustive scientific collaboration India has ever entered into with another country. The programme was launched with conclusion of the Agreement signed between Prime Minister of India and General Secretary of Communist Party of Soviet Union in 1987. The ILTP, the flagship mechanism for S&T cooperation was renewed with a mandate to promote innovation during the Joint Summit meeting held in December 2010 at New Delhi.
The programme facilitates bilateral cooperation between the scientific communities of two countries by way of joint research projects, bilateral workshops/seminar, focused exploratory visits of scientists, visit of thematic scientific and composite (scientific and industrial) delegations in the identified priority area of basic (Mathematics, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Earth Sciences, Physics & Astrophysics, Ecology and Environment, Chemical Sciences, and Life Sciences) and applied (Biotechnology and Immunology, Material Science and Technology, Laser Science & Technology, Catalysis, Space Science & Technology, Accelerators and their Application, Hydrology, Computers & Electronics, Biomedical Science & Technology, Oceanology and Oceanic Resources, Engineering Sciences) sciences. In addition, ILTP Fellowships are provided to the young and experienced Russian researchers to work in Indian laboratories and industrial units. ILTP is now equipped to catalyze technology transfer from the Russian scientific and production institutes to Indian industry.
Each identified area has an area coordinator from India and Russia who make recommendations on support to the joint projects. The Department of Science & Technology (DST), GOI and Russian Ministry for Education and Science (RMES) through with the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), the Indian and Russian coordinating agencies receive proposals for all activities round the year which are reviewed by the two sides independently. Based on the independent evaluation, joint evaluation by the area coordinators (especially in case of research projects) the Joint Council (JC), the governing body, co-chaired by Dr T Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, GOI from India and Acad Alexander Olegovich Gliko, Secretary Earth Sciences, RMES and Director RAS Institute of Physics of Earth from Russia meets almost annually alternately in India and Russia to take decision on support of the proposals.
The programme has since resulted in development of new knowledge, products, processes, designs and facilities and setting up of eight Joint Centres of excellence through implementation of over 500 joint projects, 110 joint workshops / seminars, over 3500 exchange visits, more than 1500 joint publications and 10,000 stable scientific contacts.
ILTP Centers of Excellence
Under this programme eightjoint Indo- Russian centers have been established to pursue the concerted areas where large interactive research work progresses. Among the technology export capable countries, India is placed better in some areas such as technology licensing, number of scientists and engineers, and science and mathematical education levels. It is hoped that both the countries will resolve and take steps to benefit by industrial realization of high technologies and commercialization of products developed by joint research.
- Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (Hyderabad): Setting up of Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials at Hyderabad is a proud example of accomplishments of ILTP. Presently, the Centre is operational with thrust on three major areas, namely, Powder Metallurgy; Surface Engineering and Ceramic Materials. This is a unique example where scientists and technologists work together for joint R&D and transfer of technologies to industry.
- Polio & other Vaccine Manufacturing (Bulandshahr) Facility: Another important accomplishment of the programme has emerged in the form of polio vaccine production facility, BIBCOL (Bharat Immunological and Biologicals Corporation Limited) at Bulandshahr. This Plant with a capacity of 100 million doses of polio vaccine annually has been receiving continuous help and inspiration from Russia.
- Indo-Russian Centre for Advanced Computing Research (Moscow): Setting up of Indo-Russian Centre for Advanced Computing Research in Moscow has been another important milestone of this programme. The parallel computing system PARAM 10000, designed and developed by Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) has been installed at the Indo-Russian Centre for Advanced Computing Research. Initially, the system is of 12.8 GFLOPS peak performance which would be subsequently upgraded after the multidisciplinary applications are optimized.
- Indo-Russian Centre for Biotechnology (Allahabad): This is another addition to the list of Centers of excellence created under ILTP. The agreement for establishment of this Centre was formally concluded on 5th November 2001 in Moscow during the visit of the Indian Prime Minister to Russia between the Department of Science & Technology on the Indian side and the Russian Academy of Sciences on the Russian side
- Indo-Russian Centre for Gas Hydrates Studies (Chennai): The agreement for establishment of this Centre was formally concluded during the visit of Indian Prime Minister to Russia in November 2003 between the department of Science & Technology on the Indian side and the Russian Academy of Sciences on the Russian side. The Centre was inaugurated at National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai on 12th March 2003.
- Indo-Russian Centre for Earthquake Research (New Delhi): It has been established at New Delhi. Several joint R&D projects are being coordinated by the Centre.
- Russian Indian Centre on Ayurvedic Research (Moscow): This Centre was established on 1st October 2004 at Moscow. Genotype-phenotype studies on Prakriti and comparison of Indian and Russian population are being presently pursued.
- Indo-Russian Centre for Biomedical Technology (Thiruvananthapuram): It has been established at Thiruvananthapuram in January 2008. Biomedical equipment are being identified for further joint development.
3) Basic Science Cooperation Programme
Department of Science & Technology (DST), GOI and Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) in 2007 signed a MoU for supporting joint research projects and bilateral expert meetings / seminars in India and Russia in the areas of Basic Sciences. The two sides annually review the priority areas. The current areas include Mathematics, Mechanics and Informatics; Physics and Astronomy; Chemistry; Biology and Medical Sciences; Earth Sciences; Telecommunications and Computer Sciences; Fundamental of Engineering Sciences.
DST and RFBR annually invite proposals for initiative joint research projects through a joint call. Each project receives annual funding equivalent to US$ 20,000 from each side, (about Rs 9,00,000 from DST for the Indian partner and about Rbls. 5,00,000/- from RFBR for the Russian partner) towards exchange visits, consumables and other research expenses.
Upto July 2013 about 133 joint projects were supported in the areas of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Earth Sciences, Life & Biological Sciences, Engineering Sciences and Telecommunications have since been supported. Of these 88 projects have competed successfully and 85 of the completed projects have resulted in 1161 joint publications, giving an average of 8 papers per project. At least in 91 publications Indian scientists were the first author. Currently around 46 joint R&D projects are under implementation (as on Dec 2013).
4) Inter-Academy Exchange Programme
This cooperation was initiated in 1970 through an agreement signed between the erstwhile USSR Academy of Sciences and the Indian National Science Academy (INSA). An inter-Academy agreement between INSA and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) was concluded in 2001 to facilitate and fund exchange of knowledge and scientists.
5) Indo-Russian S&T Centre for two-way Technology transfer and Commercialization
While continuing to support basic and applied research as well as academic cooperation programmes, scientific cooperation is being focused on translational research and technology development and commercialization. On the initiative of our two governments, an Indo-Russian Science and Technology Centre (IRSTC), with its units both in Moscow and in Delhi, has been set up to promote two-way technology transfer between Russia and India and commercialize innovative technologies developed jointly or independently by Indian and Russian scientists.
The Moscow Branch of the IRSTC, inaugurated on December 15, 2011, is located at the Experimental Design Bureau of Oceanological Engineering (EDBOE), RAS and is being headed by Mr Sergei Y Sukonkin as its Director General who is also the Director of the EDBOE. The Delhi-NCR Branch of the IRSTC was inaugurated on April 25, 2012 and is being headed by Dr G Sundararajan, Director of the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and is located in the ARCI premises in Gurgaon, near Delhi.
6) Inter-Ministerial Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation
To strengthen S&T cooperation at federal level a Memorandum of Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation between Ministry of Science & Technology, GOI and the Ministry of Education and Science (RMES) of Russia was signed on Dec 24, 2012 during the Summit meeting at New Delhi. The Memorandum provides for implementation of cooperation through joint programs or projects facilitating social and economic developments of the two countries through separate cooperation arrangements between RMES and Indian agencies.
For implementation of the Memorandum, a Programme of Cooperation (POC) between DST of India and the Russian Ministry of Education & Science (RMES) and between DBT of India and RMES for the period 2014-2017 to deepen cooperation in the field of innovation and S&T, and in the field of biotechnology, respectively were signed during the 14th Session of the India-Russia Annual Summit co-chaired by the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation held at Moscow on Oct 21, 2013. These POCs would support Indo-Russian R&D projects with potential for technology development and generation of new intellectual property. The joint R&D proposals would be invited in the identified priority areas through joint calls that are announced in November/ December every year.
Several new initiatives and projects have recently been launched to enhance and deepen sector-specific cooperation. Some such indicative programmes are on a) Fly Ash Utilization and its Safe Management: Protocol of Intentions between Interregional Association "Siberian Accord" Siberian Federal District, the Russian Federation and DST for cooperation on fly ash utilization and safe management was signed in 2011, as a result of this cooperation a Working Group has been set up in Siberia on issues concerning setting up of the ash-and-slag waste management system in the constituent entities of Siberian Federal District; and b) Standards and Conformity Assessments: Memorandum of Understanding between Bureau of Indian Standards and Russian Federal Agency on Technical Regulation & Metrology (GOST-R) to facilitate closer technical cooperation for cooperation in field of standardization through exchange of information, practices and expertise was signed during the 14th Session of the India-Russia Annual Summit co-chaired by the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation held at Moscow on Oct 21, 2013, this cooperation would have beneficial effects for trade and commerce where standards and conformity assessments form an integral basis for transactions.