In an effort to promote scientific social responsibility (SSR), the science ministry has introduced guidelines requiring every scientist in the country to contribute at least 10 days per year towards SSR activities. These voluntary activities, in addition to their regular work, will be taken into account during annual performance evaluations. The aim of SSR is to leverage the potential of the scientific community in addressing social goals, and the guidelines seek to create an effective ecosystem for enhancing the capabilities of marginalized groups. The ministry has identified 17 activities that scientists can undertake to bridge the gap between science and society. Both individual and institutional SSR activities will be incentivized with budgetary support, and knowledge institutions will not be allowed to outsource or subcontract SSR projects. Central and state government ministries are also required to develop SSR plans aligned with their respective mandates.
Some of the illustrative SSR activities listed in the guidelines include scientists delivering lectures in schools and colleges, mentoring school students on innovation projects, organizing visits to scientific facilities, conducting training and workshops for skill development, and sharing infrastructure and knowledge resources. The guidelines also advocate for scientists to deliver scientific talks on popular themes through various media channels to raise scientific awareness and dispel superstitions in society.
Additionally, on National Technology Day, which commemorates India’s achievement of full nuclear status, the ministry also released guidelines for the Scientific Research Infrastructure Sharing Maintenance and Networks (SRIMAN) program. The aim of SRIMAN is to promote efficient utilization and wider access to research infrastructure for scientists, researchers, and industry professionals throughout the country by establishing a network of relevant stakeholders.