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USSTC

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Genesis of USSTC | A Brief Report

MISSION USSTC (2006-2015)

The mountain states of the country have fervor of its own, besides a scanty & scattered population; their raging fascination towards movement is apparent. Essentially, this charm is due to the fact that the population at large is devoid of the basic luxuries of life and therefore seeks to garner them by imbibing & learning contemporary know hows. This innate quality of being a seeker is an advantage to the races existing in the regions. Employing this inherent feature of the mountain people to a larger perspective is the purpose of the government. Furthermore, if science & technology is infused in the learning's of the people then its affect will not only enhance their subsistence level but also take the national economy to a higher level. Relying on this intent, the Uttarakhand State Council of Science & Technology (UCOST) infact tends to galvanize this approach by organizing the State Science Congress (USSTC) annually. The aim of USSTC is to provide a common platform to researchers/ individuals/ faculties working in different S&T research institutes, universities and colleges and other organizations to share their expertise and experiences. With a population exceeding just 1 crore, Uttarakhand has nearly 86.1 % geographical area classified as hilly. Although the population scale is small & scattered in 13 districts, yet the state houses many S&T institutes & research organizations of repute like FRI, IIT Roorkee, IIRS, CSIR- IIP, ARIES, CSIR-CBRI etc. And to communicate, share & make public their research work, USSTC is the perfect forum.

The USSTC has always been a grand event. Providing a platform to researchers of the state to showcase their inventions, innovations and research in front of eminent personalities from all over India has been the main facet of the congress. All through the evolution of the USSTC many adaptations, alterations and modifications were made, the present form erupted only through the toil and hardship by the illustrious team of the UCOST headed by an energetic, dynamic & a visionary person. During the course of the event, the congress has received representations in the form of session experts from nearly all the states. The judges being, from the most reputed institutes and scientific organizations of the country, their coming together and mingling with the researchers of the state boosted the morale and confidence of the young minds. Another obvious observation was the gradual increase in the participation of the presenters and the number of awardees. It started with just 113 papers which have now reached to 700 in numbers. As of till date around 4500 people have presented their papers during the event. These numbers are just the number of paper presenters, however if we add the judges and participants of the brainstorming sessions too, the number surpasses 1000. As a consequence of this spurt in participation, the number of award recipients have also spiraled i.e. from 19 in first year to 50 young scientist awardees this year. A matter of pride is the fact that nearly all the award recipients are suitably employed. Besides this, the annual feature of organizing brainstorming sessions on topical and relevant issues have brought together professionals specialist in their own realm to delve on state specific issues. Nearly 100 experts congregate just for the brainstorming sessions each year. In essence, all these attributes have actually accentuated the impact of the science congress. A feel good factor of science congress is the taking away of intellectual memories both by the participants as well as the experts!

AND THE JOURNEY BEGINS....

1st (2006) : To lay a new path is more intricate than treading on a laid one !

This quite aptly summarized the fact that in the beginning to organize an event like science congress was an arduous task. With hardly 5-6 members in the council, organizing this event where nearly 300 participants were supposed to congregate seemed quite difficult & unseemable. Therefore it was thought to bring on board enthusiastic & enterprising volunteers employed in different organizations within the state. Therefore the already identified district coordinators in each district were formally included for the organization of the science congress. Apart from this, to streamline the procedural needs, it was delved that a committee may be formed for the mentorial guidance. As a consequence, experts from within the state were roped in to finalize the modalities of the first science congress. The committee included names like Prof. A.N. Purohit, Ex. VC HNB Garhwal University; Sh. Sanjai Bajpai, DST, New Delhi; Dr. A.K. Tewari, USAC, Dehradun; Dr. DC Thapliyal, Doon University etc. Under their supervision it was decided that:

  • it will be a two day event to be held in the month of November
  • An hour lead lecture by one of the judges in each technical session.
  • TA and lodging & boarding facilities will be provided to the participants
  • there will be 13 subjects in which papers will be called for oral presentation
  • A separate award was added titled 'innovator of the year award' for the significant contribution having direct application for the benefit of the society. This award had no age bar .
A total of 113 abstracts were received this year and the budget was Rs 10.59 lacs With the successful completion of the first science congress, a strong foundation was laid!

2nd (2007) : 'Established but needs ingenuity'

During second science congress, apart from the previous year's activities it was decided to hold 4 sessions where experts would screen the received papers. As a consequence, experts from within the state as well as from IIT-ND, DST, Jamia Milia U, IARI, CSIR-NERIST were roped in to enhance the quality of the congress. With 14 different disciplines, this year we received around 300 papers. The judges included personalities like- Dr. S. Kumar, BSI, Port Blair; Dr. W.S. Lakra, NBFGR, Lucknow. The congress was held at Kumaon University, Nainital with a budget of Rs. 10.50 Lacs.

3rd (2008) : Little bit confident but raring to excel!

IIT Roorkee ready to host this year's science congress, proving that previous science congress had left a mark. Some novel initiatives taken this year:

  • To increase the engineering based participants the congress from henceforth was known as Uttarakhand State Science & Technology Congress (USSTC) with the focal theme: Role of S&T for Mountain development
  • Along with this a major resolution taken was the formulation of categories within each subject of technical session on the basis of age i.e. below 30 years, and max 40 years. A proper format for applicants applying for presentations was also developed
  • To attract more participation it was decided to charge nothing from the participants. The presenting author will be provided with to & fro travel, free boarding & lodging and will have no registration fees
  • Budget: 15.50 lacs.
With 14 technical sessions, the judges had affluent names like Prof Subhash Chand, IIT Delhi; Prof S.N. Raina, University of Delhi; Dr. VP Dimri, Director,NGRI,Hyderabad; Dr. rekhahaa Bhagat, head Extension Dev, IARI, New Delhi; Prof M. Kumar, Sagar inst. Of Research Tech. & Science, Bhopal; Dr. Som Raghuvansi, Dept. of Atomic Energy, Hyderabad; Prof. M.K. Jyoti, Jammu University.

4th (2009) : Addendums

With the great success and the enormousity in the participation, one more day was added in the earlier two day event to accommodate other features like: organizing 3-4 Brainstorming sessions where topical & relevant issues for the state would be discussed. The session will be a mix of eminent personalities from the field of academics, policy makers, government departments and private companies. Its aim will be to develop a systemic approach towards attaining the target and ultimately helping in creating a cross cutting system to provide policies, recommendations and methodologies which will then be forwarded to the state government to boost R & D in such high tech & core areas. This year four topics were identified namely :

  1. Partnership in biotech research: from bioresources to wealth
  2. Rural Empowerment through Information Communication Technology
  3. Good laboratory practices in S&T
  4. Agrotechnology and intellectual property Rights
  5. one more subject namely Material science & nanotechnology was also added
It was also decided to invite an eminent personality for a key note address in the inaugural session to enhance the USSTC impact. Therefore Dr. Bhakuni, Dy. Director, CDRI, Lucknow delivered the keynote address to felicitate eminent personalities from the state with a life time award - Prof S.K. Joshi, ex DG CSIR; Prof. A.N. Purohit, Ex Vice Chancellor, HNB Garhwal University and Prof. A.N. Mukhopadhyay, Former VC Assam Agricultural University, Assam were conferred the award with Pantnagar University as the host of this year's USSTC, the number of participants reached to 666 and the budget to Rs. 33.71 lacs.
Some prominent judges this year were Dr. R.R. Singh, University of Lucknow; Prof. Babbar, Delhi University; Dr. Anand Swaroop, IARI; Er. Indu Bhaskar, DSIR, New Delhi; Dr. P.S. Roy, NRSA, Hyderabad; Dr. Dinesh Mohan, JNU; Dr. A.K. Rakshit, Textile department, Mumbai; Dr. M. Hussain, JMI; Dr. S.K. Sharma, Engineering College, Jaipur; Dr. Anita Gopesh, Allahabad; Dr. A.K. Kulshreshha, St. Johns College, Agra etc.

5th (2010) : Metamorphosis :

Hosted at Doon University, the 5th USSTC was a step further to the previous held congresses. This time some major changes were :

  • Award winning categories had four groups namely below 30 yrs, upto 40 years, above 40 years and age no bar
  • It was decided to charge fees for participation by employed/ paid researchers on the following criteria i.e. unpaid researcher/ student - no charge, Rs. 500 for researcher with fellowship, Rs. 750 for scientist & faculties
  • Introduction of NASI plenary lecture series in the congress- delivered by Dr. R.S. Tolia this year
  • 4 brainstorming sessions on topical issues
    1. Impact of Climate Change on Himalayan Livelihood System
    2. Strategies for Conservation of Biodiversity in Uttarakhand
    3. Providing Safe Drinking Water to Rural People through Technology Intervention
    4. Renewable Resources of Energy: Road map for Uttarakhand
  • Addition of one more subject- Science & society including science popularization taking the total number of subjects to 16.
The lifetime achievement award was given to Dr. B.K. Gairola, DG, NIC; Dr. D.S. Bhakuni, CDRI, Lucknow; Prof V.P. Dimri, Ex.Director, NGRI. The number of participants increased 650 + and the budget to 37 lakhs
Some experts this year were : Vinod bhakuni, CDRI, Lucknow, S.K. Dhyani, NRCA, Jhansi; G.A. ravishaner, CFTRI,Mysore; C.L. Khetrapal, SGPGI, Lucknow; Absar Ahmed, NCL, Pune; R. Somvanshi, IVRI, izatnagar, U.P. etc.

6th (2011) : Streamlining :

Almora, the kumaon center hosted this year's science congress. The manpower crunch was removed by holding hands with 4 premier institutes in the quiet town namely Kumaon University, GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development, Kosi Kataramal, Vivekanand Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan & Uttarkhand Sewa Nidhi Prayavaran Shishka Sansthan.
Major events included

  1. Five brainstorming sessions were held and hosted at different institutions namely
    • Science & Society
    • Emerging Issues in Forestry Research in the Himalayan Mountains
    • Hill Agriculture-Tryst with Challenges and Beyond
    • Measures to be taken for the Development of Mathematical Sciences in Uttarakhand
    • Development of Uttarakhand State Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) for Decentralized Governance
  2. Lifetime excellence award conferred to Prof. B.C. Budhani, Direct, NPL, New Delhi; prof. M.C. Joshi, IIT & Dr. G.S. Rautela, DG NCSM, Kolkata.
  3. NASI Lecture delivered by Dr. Lalji Singh, VC, BHU
  4. Budget escalated to 45.69 laks
Experts: Dr. R.K. Kotnala, NPL, New Delhi; Dr. O.P. Yadava, national Heart Institute, New Delhi; Dr. Y.S. Dhaliwal, CSKHPAU, palampur; Dr. siddiqui, AMU, Aligarh; Dr. R.K. Singh, National Rsearch Center on equines & Vetenary Type Culture collection, Haryana etc.

7th (2012): Reputation built!

Hosted at Graphic Era University, Dehradun
  • theme: women in science
  • addition of one more subject-Rural Technology taking the total number of technical sessions to 17
  • Excellence award conferred to Dr. Manju Sharma, Prof D.C. Thapliyal, Prof. A.K. Pant
  • 5 brainstorming sessions
    1. Nuclear Science and Technology
    2. Hydrocarbons : Sustainability and Recycling
    3. Science and Innovation
    4. Women in Science and Technology
    5. Prospects of Applied Mathematics
  • abstracts number still exceeded 600 and budget increased to 46 Lacs.
Experts: Dr. Rajeshwari Raina, CSIR-NISTADS, New Delhi; Dr. Naveen Chandra, NIPGR, New Delhi; Dr. S.M.H. Quadri, Director, CSRTI, Mysore; Dr. A.K. Rawat,DBT, new Delhi; Prof. K.C. Sharma, University of Rajasthan, jaipur; Dr. Kshipra ishra, DIPAS, Delhi; Prof J.K. Bera, IIT, Kanpur; Dr. Rajeev Tripathi, MNNIT, Allahabad, Dr. Inderjeet Kaur, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana;Prof Neeta Sehgal, University of Delhi etc.

8th (2013): Pulling-off yet another USSTC

Doon University & Uttarakhand Technical University were the organizing partner this year and received more than 700 abstracts. 4 brainstorming sessions organised :
  1. Ecosystem Services
  2. Genetically Modified Crops: Potential for Mountains
  3. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants
  4. Occupational and Nutritional Health Hazard
Inclusion of NASI best teacher award in the science congress from this year onwards. Mr. Kalyan Singh Rawat, Zoology lecturer, Govt. inter College Maldevta, Dehradun received the award. S&T Excellence award conferred to Dr. V.P. Sharma, Former Director, ICMR and Dr. P.C. Nawani, Former Director, GSI
  • Budget escalated to Rs. 72,29,951.00
  • 54 young scientist awards and one innovator of the year award
  • Science exhibition also initiated where the institutes, research organizations, universities and individuals were provided space during the science congress to display their products.
Experts : Dr. A.K. Joshi, Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture & Forestry, H.P.; Dr. R.C. Kuhad, University of Delhi, Sh. Pamposh Kumar, NCSTC, DST; Dr. Pramod K. satyawli, DRDO, Chandigarh; Dr. D.K.Upereti, NBRI, Lucknow; Dr. Arun Sharma, Rohilkhand University, Bareilly; Dr. Kavita Mehra, CSIR-NISTADS, New Delhi; Dr. G.P. Kothiyal, BARC, Bombay etc.

9th (2014): Mission-USSTC, miles to go..!!!

The excitement of holding this year's science congress at our own sprawling 5 hectare campus at Dehradun is electrifying.

  • Seeing the increased popularity it was decided to increase the fees for the paid presenters while keeping the unpaid researchers free from any fees. So the fees was enhanced to Rs. 1000 for paid researchers and Rs. 2000 for Scientist & faculties
  • Addition of two new subjects namely Remote Sensing & GIS and Geography, now the technical sessions were 19 in number
  • Dr. Deeksha Bist, Director, CSIR_NISCAIR, New Delhi; Dr. L.M.S. Palni, Former Director, GBPIHED, Almora, Dr. S.S. Negi, Director, IRDE-DRDO, Dehradun
  • Mr Neeraj Kumar Joshi, Govt. Inter College, Munshiyari, Pithoragarh awarded the NASI best teacher award
  • NASI plenary lecture by Dr. A.N. Purohit, Former VC, HNB Garhwal University
  • 550 abstracts received for the 19 technical session
  • Four BSS
    1. Blending Ayurveda with Modern Science and Reverse Pharmacology
    2. Employing S&T Resources for Creating Skill Revolution in Uttarakhand
    3. Orientation of Science Teacher in Technology and Science
    4. Science Communication
  • budget -75 lacs (tentative)

IMPACT ASSESSMENT

1. Some off- shoots of the USSTC

  1. Creation of Climate Change Center at Almora
  2. Creation of Center of Excellence of Mathematics at Almora
  3. Sanction of Project on 'Assessing the participation of women in Science & technology in the university system of six northern states of India ' from DST with a budget of 31.43 lacs
  4. The budget of the council also enhanced remarkably from the year 2015.

2. Age wise participation:

The number of participation in the three categories of technical session provides an insight of the enthusiasm of young researchers in the science congress. As depicted in fig. one can make out the higher turnout of participants who are below 30 years.

3. Women Participation:

Among the participants, women participation is growing year by year. As evidenced, the women researchers have participated actively in both oral as well poster presentations. Another aspect is growing number of female awardees too. This year women awardees have surpassed male counterparts substantially.


Where FA=Female awardees, MA=Male Awardees, FP=Female Participants, MP= Male participants

4. Regional participation :

With the evolving years of UCOST, it has been able to capture talent from nearly all the districts of the state. Though in earlier days the participation was restricted to modern districts, however of late the remote areas also have seen a surge in their participation.

5. Institutional participation :

while analyzing the institutional participation, it comes to light that all the pillars of S&T research existing within the state have participated proactively in the USSTC with a lions hog share by government academia sector followed by academia private.


6. Subject wise participation:

The state has an unprecedented number of institutions working on life sciences. This is also evident on the papers received for the presentations. Life science followed by chemical sciences and then engineering sciences constitutes 70 % of the received papers.


INFERENCES

  • Uttarakhand is an increasingly important research economy. Its research workforce capacity and R&D investment are expanding rapidly offering many new possibilities in a diversifying research portfolio.
  • The papers submitted depict the direction of research and development in the state and marks the most prolific institutes in terms of R&D. This will help in articulating the road map of endeavors to be further taken up by the council.
  • It shows that UCOST output has been substantial and far exceeds as compared to the nascent councils. Relative to the rest of the states, Uttarakhand has exceptional capacity in biology based disciplines and research related to the natural resource management.

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