Govt unveils rules for renting out scientific equipment | India News

NEW DELHI: Intending to transform scientific instruments in government labs into lucrative assets, generating rental income and ensuring universal access of public-funded research infrastructure (RI) to stakeholders, the Centre has come out with guidelines that can promote efficient utilisation and wider access of such infrastructure and equipment to scientists, researchers and industry professionals across the country.
The guidelines – Scientific RI Sharing Maintenance and Networks (SRIMAN) – suggest creation of a Cluster Central Instrumentation Facility (CCIF) which will tie up with industries, especially MSMEs and startups allowing ease of access to the high-end infrastructural and informational resources for development, testing, standardisation, prototyping. The CCIF may be set up in public-private-partnership (PPP) mode with revenue sharing.
The guidelines, released by the department of science & technology (DST) on National Technology Day (May 11), advised scientific institutions to establish professionally-managed autonomous centres in the knowledge institutions such as IITs, NITs, etc. to take the intended goal forward.
“This initiative is an excellent one by the DST. It will help students and young researchers to make use of these facilities which otherwise are not accessible to them. National labs accumulate these facilities but are not fully utilised. Therefore by opening up these facilities we help the research fraternity and justify huge investments,” said Madhavan Rajeevan, former secretary, ministry of earth sciences.
A study by DST institution reveals that 94% of high-end research equipment used in India is imported while only 6% is manufactured indigenously.
It is expected that the new guidelines will enhance the quality of scientific output of the country and enable researchers in several lesser-known universities who cannot afford expensive RI, to contribute more meaningfully to the scientific ecosystem.

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