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CSIR-WIPO Workshop on Negotiating Licensing Agreement

July 4-8 2005

A workshop was organized by World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in cooperation with CSIR. The objective of the workshop was to provide  basic knowledge, understanding, and guidance in negotiating technology-licensing contracts and to give a valuable insight and a competitive edge to personnel dealing with technology transfer and licensing agreements within  CSIR. Inaugurated by Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of State for Science & Technology, it was attended by  scientists from various CSIR Labs situated across the countries. It was able to provide practical knowledge in the field of technology transfer and licensing negotiations to CSIR personnel thus contributing to more effective transfer of technology. (Full Proceedings)

 

 

NISCAIR Celebrates Second Foundation Day

 September 30, 2004

On 30 September 2004, NISCAIR celebrated its Second Foundation Day. This day marked the completion of two years of the merger of two premier CSIR institutes into one larger entity amalgamating the various multi-faceted activities of the two institutes to serve the S&T community and other segments of the society in a more effective manner.

Since it was a day of stocktaking for the Institute, this year’s Foundation Day was celebrated with a lecture by Dr H.R. Bhojwani, Scientific Adviser to the Minister of Science for S&T, who agreed to give an analytical insight into NISCAIR’s present activities and the direction the Institute should take in times to come to become more socially relevant. Prof. P.K. Sikdar, Director, CRRI was also the Chief Guest on the occasion. The function was also attended by Prof. Rajesh Kochhar, Director, NISTADS.

Welcoming the guests and the NISCAIR staff, Shri V.K. Gupta, Director, NISCAIR reflected on the need for periodic stocktaking. He said that it was necessary for any institute to analyse the nature of its activities, whether the value being created by the institute was more than the resources being consumed, and whether the institute’s activities were contributing to the country’s progress and were socially relevant. Shri Gupta emphasized that every organization should go in for radical innovation, sound financial management and high value creation.

Shri Gupta’s welcome address was followed by several presentations detailing the various ongoing activities of NISCAIR, the achievements, the future plans, and the various hurdles in the way of transforming NISCAIR into a Smart institute.

This was followed by Dr Bhojwani’s address who complimented NISCAIR for the remarkable progress the Institute had made in the last two years. He added that the Institute had to live up to its commitment in keeping with its national stature. Dr Bhojwani wanted NISCAIR to develop close coordination with organizations like the National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Indian Science Communication Society and other similar organizations to maximize on the impacts and benefits. Dr Bhojwani also wanted inputs from information technology to be used to enrich science communication and make it more pervasive and easily reachable to the masses. He suggested going in for web hosting of journals, exploring the possibility of introducing open access journals and making CSIR News and CSIR Samachar web-based free news magazines.

Dr Bhojwani’s address was followed by an exposition of CSIR’s contributions to Indian S&T and economy by Prof. P.K. Sikdar, Director, CRRI. He said that since its inception about 62 years ago, CSIR has grown tremendously and had today attained a blue-chip status. However, the journey from Saheli to Saras has not been easy, said Prof. Sikdar. He said that a vast and diverse country like India needs an organization like CSIR that boasts of a broad range of activities. He lauded TKDL and scientific knowledge dissemination where NISCAIR has made commendable progress. Prof. Sikdar ended his talk with a brief overview of CRRI’s contributions to road technology.

The function ended with a vote of thanks by Shri Pradip Banerjee.

 

CSIR Foundation Day Celebrations 2004

September 26, 2004

The CSIR Foundation Day Celebrations 2004 were held in the Auditorium of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), New Delhi on 26 September 2004. Gracing the occasion were Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of State for Science &Technology and Ocean Development and Vice President, CSIR, Dr Ashok Ganguly, Chairman of ICICI OneSource Ltd., Dr R. A. Mashelkar, DG-CSIR and Dr Vikram Kumar, Director, National Physical Laboratory (NPL).

In his Welcome Address, Dr R. A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR announced that CSIR’s birthday was being celebrated across the length and breadth of the country, with all the 22,000 members of the CSIR family celebrating it in all the 38 laboratories of CSIR. He said that Shri Sibal has, since taking over the reins as Minister and as Vice President, CSIR, “both charmed and charged” the entire CSIR family by his “dynamism, his vision, his optimism and his penchant for action.”  He expressed the hope that, as CSIR tries to forge ahead, it would be Shri Sibal’s momentum and drive that would “take us to our destiny”.

Dr Mashelkar highlighted some of the exciting things that have been happening during the last three or four months such as the inaugural flight of Saras, the launch of BioSuite a unique software that was done with a big Public-private Partnership with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the breakthrough on tuberculosis in the form of a new molecule—the first to be discovered after 1963 and the completion of the Phase 1 clinical trials for the treatment of psoriasis.”

Dr Mashelkar said that each one of these breakthroughs brings in a new symbolism. For instance, Saras signified that, “Sanctions cannot be put on our minds.” BioSuite showed that, “What we cannot do alone we can do together.” Similarly, the anti-tuberculosis molecule showed that we could discover new molecules. However, he reiterated that if India has to move forward it had to be innovative.

Dr Ashok S. Ganguly Chairman of ICICI OneSource Ltd. delivered the CSIR Foundation Day Lecture entitled “CSIR—The Challenge of Renewal”. He said that most CSIR laboratories had successfully redefined their role in order to enhance their wealth creating abilities in partnership with Indian and international companies and in tune with India’s economic reforms to meet the challenges of the global marketplace. However, in the process of reinventing itself now CSIR needs to rise to the challenge and address some of the uncompleted tasks that affect the vast majority of Indians, he said.

Earlier, Minister of State for Science & Technology and Ocean Development and Vice–President, CSIR Shri Kapil Sibal in his address said, in the context of CSIR’s birthday, “Age brings experience, maturity and as the CSIR family and the institutions grow older we will develop our value systems and strengthen our foundations to serve our country.”

He also pointed out, “Foundation day is certainly a day to rejoice. It is a day of triumph. But it also should be a day when we should think back and consider what lies ahead and how do we meet our challenges. And that’s very important because, unless we reinvent ourselves and reinvent our institutions, we will not be able to meet the challenges of the future.” He also said that Indian science and technology could not move forward unless we have good Public-Private Partnerships.

Later, Shri Kapil Sibal released a book entitled Vaigyanik Bharat ka Nirman by Dr R. A. Mashelkar on the occasion. He also gave away the CSIR Young Scientist Awards (2004) and the CSIR Technology Awards (2004). Winner of the CSIR Diamond Jubilee Technology Award, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes and CSIR Diamond Jubilee Invention Awards for School Children 2004 were also announced.

 

CSIR Foundation Day Celebrations at NISCAIR

September 26, 2004

 Twenty-sixth September is a very important day for the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). It was on this day in 1942 that CSIR was established.  All the 38 CSIR labs celebrate this day as the Foundation Day. It is a day for introspection – to take stock of the progress of the past year – and plan for the future.  It is also a day for recognizing excellence through various awards and acknowledging the contributions of the CSIR family members who had retired and those who completed 25 years of service during the past year.

The CSIR Foundation Day celebrations on 26 September at NISCAIR began with the visit of a large number of school students to the Institute in the forenoon. The students were taken around the campus and made aware of the popular science magazines brought out by NISCAIR. A copy of the magazines was also provided to each student.

This was followed by the main function in the afternoon.  Prof. Asis Datta, former Vice Chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University and presently Director of National Centre for Plant Genome Resources, New Delhi, graced the occasion as Chief Guest and delivered the CSIR Foundation Day lecture.  Prof Datta has been closely associated with NISCAIR – he was member of its Research Council during 1990-96.

Welcoming Prof. Datta, the NISCAIR Director Shri V.K. Gupta briefly narrated the major accomplishments of the Institute during the past couple of years. These include a three-fold increase in the subscriber base of NISCAIR research journals and significant improvement in their Impact Factors, completion of the first phase of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) and the publication of IT books in various Indian languages, in addition to English, which were in great demand.  He also mentioned about the impact that the other two networked projects, viz. CSIR e-Journal Consortium and the National Science Digital Library (NSDL), being implemented by NISCAIR, are going to have. 

Congratulating NISCAIR for the remarkable progress, Prof. Asis Datta in his Foundation Day lecture complimented NISCAIR for the very well brought out Annual Report. He remarked that the institute had taken several impressive initiatives and embarked upon many new ventures that would have tremendous impact such as TKDL.  He said that TKDL is a unique attempt and very commendable since it is going to serve as an effective tool in protecting our traditional knowledge. 

Prof. Asis Datta also lauded NISCAIR’s contributions to popularization of science among the masses.  Prof. Datta, who himself has authored a NISCAIR popular science book, Gene Power, said that the reach and popularity of the numerous popular books brought out by NISCAIR were just amazing.  He narrated an incident to show how this particular book, and not his research papers published in the world’s top journals, had played a major role in the Third World Science Academy Award that he received.

He commended NISCAIR for bringing out such popular science books that had a wide reach and enjoyed immense popularity. He suggested that such books should be taken to schools and colleges throughout the country to help in generating future researchers.  Prof. Datta said that the problem is that the majority of the people do not have scientific knowledge or have wrong ideas.  He wanted NISCAIR to fill the gap in a lucid manner as it would be a great help to the society, a great service to the education system.

The vote of thanks was delivered by Shri O.N. Chaddha.

The lectures were followed by a lively cultural programme.  Awards were presented to the wards of the NISCAIR staff who had won in various competitions organized to mark the occasion. Mementoes were also presented to the staff members who had retired and those who had completed 25 years of service in CSIR.

CSIR Technology Award & Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards Presented

September 13, 2004

The presentation ceremony of the CSIR Diamond Jubilee Technology Award-2003 and the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes-2003 was held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 13 September 2004. The Prime Minister of India and President, CSIR, Dr Manmohan Singh gave away the Awards. Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister of State for Science & Technology and Ocean Development and Vice President, CSIR presided over the ceremony.

Welcoming the invitees, Dr R. A. Mashelkar, Director General, CSIR said, “This is a great evening—an evening of celebration of the very best that both Indian Science and Technology have to offer. It is a very unique event as normally, previously science events used to be held separately and technology events used to be held separately. I believe it is the first event when the best of Indian Science and the best of Indian Technology will be applauded together.”

He spoke glowingly about the indigenously designed and built Saras’ soaring “flight into the future” and the breakthrough in psoriasis (“a very difficult disease”) and tuberculosis (“the first new molecule on the horizon since 1963”). He spoke about the unique partnership with Tata Consultancy Services and the Bioinformatics software Bio Suite (“software first launched in San Francisco, then in Hyderabad).

In his address, Shri Kapil Sibal said that it was an “intermingling of high science with technological innovation and daring entrepreneurship that was necessary to propel India to a developed nation status”. He said that the marriage of high science and high technology in a sense symbolizes the underlying spirit of CSIR, that is, to strive for excellence in science and to apply it to uncharted technology domains.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave away the first Diamond Jubilee Technology Award for 2003, instituted last year in commemoration of the CSIR's diamond jubilee. The award this year was given to Mr Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Motors, for “setting a major milestone in the Indian auto industry” with the design, development, manufacturing and commercialization of India’s first indigenous passenger cars—Indica and Indigo. The award consists of a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakhs and a shield, conceptualised and designed in association with the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

The annual CSIR Diamond Jubilee Technology Award was instituted to acknowledge the most outstanding technological innovation that has brought prestige to the nation.  It is given to a technology that is developed in the country by Indian innovators and meets the highest global standards. Technologies leading to commercially successful products, processes and services, which give India a sustainable competitive advantage, are considered for the award.

In his Acceptance Speech, Shri Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Motors Limited said, “It is an extremely great honour to receive this Award on behalf of Tata Motors. I am honoured to receive it on behalf of the 700 young engineers who accepted the challenge that many said couldn’t be done.” He said that the team persevered despite teething troubles and frustrations and finally the Indica project was brought to fruition. As “an Indian who is proud of his country”, he observed, “There are many, many such projects and many, many such achievements that are possible in the Science and Technology arena in India today. We have the manpower, we have the skill and the human capital, but we sometimes lack the belief that we can do it. We, as Indians need to believe in our (own) capabilities.”

“There is tremendous talent in young scientists and young engineers. We need to give them a chance to prove themselves. We need to recognise their ability and achievements. This kind of recognition is a tremendous shot in the arm for such engineers and such scientists and given this kind of opportunity, I think this country can shine far, far more than it has done.”

In his address, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a strong case for reconstruction of the university system and rebuilding of the science base in the universities. He emphasised that this rebuilding could not be done in a piecemeal fashion and had to be taken up comprehensively. “New strategies need to be developed to induct, nurture and retain young talent in the science stream. In particular, science education at 10, +2 and undergraduate levels needs special attention,” said the PM. He was particularly concerned that science was no longer the automatic choice for many students. “We must redouble our efforts to make science an attractive career for our young people,” he said.

Dr. Singh also announced that he would soon constitute a Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister that would be headed by a distinguished scientist. The mandate of the Council would be to provide advice on strategies, policies and programmes for using S&T as an essential input for all developmental processes.

Later, Dr Manmohan Singh gave away the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes for the year 2003. The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes are awarded every year by the CSIR to outstanding Indian research workers in seven disciplines of science and technology. The Prizes are awarded to scientists for their outstanding scientific contributions made primarily in India during the last 5 years preceding the year of the award. The Prize comprises a citation, a plaque and a cash award of Rupees two lakh. This year 13 scientists were given this award.

Earlier, referring to the Awards Dr Mashelkar had said, “There is no question that the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize is the most prestigious that India has to offer. One can get many awards and international honours in one’s life time but as a scientist, it is the most cherished award.”

 

 

Visit of Ms Alison Brimelow of the European Patent Office

 August 19, 2004

Ms Alison Brimelow, President Elect, European Patent Office visited the National Institute of Science Communication And Information Resources (NISCAIR), New Delhi on 19 August 2004 to get first-hand information on the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) project--a prestigious collaborative project between NISCAIR and the Department of Indian Systems of Medicine and Homoeopathy, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. TKDL has national significance given that identifying, registering and protecting intellectual property rights has emerged as one of the key drivers of business competitiveness in the 21st century.

Ms. Brimelow took keen interest in the TKDL project and interacted with the Ayurveda, Unani and IT Experts. She appreciated the work done by the TKDL team and felt that TKDL would serve its objective by preventing the grant of wrong patents on traditional knowledge in international patent offices.

Shri V. K. Gupta, Director, NISCAIR gave a presentation covering the salient features and the global relevance of TKDL project. An innovative classification system based on the structure of International Patent Classification (IPC), called the Traditional Knowledge Resource Classification (TKRC), was evolved for the creation of the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library. The TKDL database would provide an easily accessible and retrievable source for patent examiners to verify claims relating to traditional knowledge. Shri Gupta also explained the access policy of TKDL and presented a sample CD containing about 36,000 formulations transcribed in patent application format with images from the original texts transcribed and incorporated into the database to Ms Brimelow, which she promised to hand over to the UK Patent Office.

CSIR Programme on Youth for Leadership in Science (CPYLS 2004 at NISCAIR)

February 16 - 17, 2004

The CSIR Programme on Youth for Leadership in Science (CPYLS) seeks to excite, attract and motivate bright school students to choose science as a career pursuit. The top 50 students at the secondary school examination (X class) at the state level (both local Board & CBSE) are invited (along with a guardian), at CSIR expense, to visit for 'two open days', the nearest CSIR laboratory. The top five have the option to visit two additional CSIR laboratories of their choice. On the two 'open days' the laboratories organise events and activities such as lectures by eminent S&T personages, recount through audiovisual and film media the contributions of Indian scientists besides giving the participants a guided visit of the laboratory and holding interactive sessions.

NISCAIR's CPYLS Programme (2004) was held on the 16 th and 17 th of February 2004. Sixteen students attended the programme.

Prof. Rajesh Kocchar, Director, National Institute Science Technology And Development Studies (NISTADS) delivered the much-appreciated Inaugural Lecture. In his humour-laced, straight-from-the-heart talk, Dr Kochhar told the participants that their life ahead would be a little like the game of snakes and ladders that they had played as kids. However, in life there was no hard and fast rule that a snake had to be a snake and that a ladder had to be a ladder. He said that, it was a person's attitude to a situation that could turn a snake into a ladder and vice-versa. An opportunity wasted would mean that a ladder had been turned into a snake, whereas a learning experience even if it were a bitter one, would qualify for the reverse phenomenon.

Dr A. R. Verma, former Director, National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi and recipient of the Padma Bhushan, delivered a talk entitled, “Precision Measurements Live For Ever.” His very lively talk pointed out that precision measurements in science are absolutely mandatory. He gave the example of Lord Rayleigh, who in 1892, found that oxygen was always 15.882 times denser than hydrogen, no matter how it was prepared. When he tried to extend this work to nitrogen, he found that nitrogen isolated from air was denser than nitrogen prepared from ammonia. Any other person may have given up exploring this minor discrepancy but not Lord Rayleigh. He and Ramsey later jointly announced the discovery of a new element, which they named argon from the Greek word meaning the "lazy one" because this gas refused to react with any element or compound they tested. The entire new group of inert gases was discovered subsequently, all because a minor discrepancy had to be explained. This shows how precise measurements have honed (and are honing) our understanding of science.

Dr B C Sharma, Scientist F and Head, Popular Science Division, delivered a talk entitled “Overview of NISCAIR Activities”. In his talk Dr Sharma gave the participants a brief yet tantalizing glimpse into NISCAIR's multifarious activities and its societal significance. Dr Sukanya Datta, Associate Editor, Science Reporter pointed out the nuances of popular science writing in her presentation.

As part of the CPYLS programme a CD highlighting 60 major achievements of CSIR in its Diamond Jubilee year was screened as was the CD entitled Raghunath, which traced the rise of Dr R A Mashelkar, DG CSIR, from humble beginnings to the stellar heights of success.

There was a lively interactive session just prior to the Valedictory Function with the students and their teacher/guardian airing their views. The Programme concluded with a vote of thanks.

Digital Database on Genetic Resources of India

January 27 - 30, 2004

A joint meeting of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and NISCAIR was organized during 27 th -30 th January 2004 at NISCAIR, Pusa Campus in connection with exploring the development of a digital database on Genetic Resources of India on the lines of TKDL. The focus of the joint meeting was to decide on the strategy to be followed keeping in view the resources of BSI and NISCAIR.

The BSI team comprised Dr. D. K. Singh, BSI, Dehradun; Dr. D. P. Venu, BSI, Coimbatore; Dr. J. R. Sharma, BSI, Dehradun; Dr. V. Sampathkumar, BSI, Kolkata; and Dr. P. G. Diwakar, BSI, Pune.

    The Indian team was led by Mr V.K. Gupta, Director, NISCAIR. Shri D. D. Verma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests was a special invitee to the Opening Session.

    In his welcome address, Director NISCAIR emphasized that the creation of such a database would be invaluable for R&D in the areas of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. NISCAIR has already provided a solution in the case of Ayurveda and is in the process of extending the work to Unani, Siddha and Yoga systems of medicine.

    Shri D. D. Verma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, also welcomed the initiative. He emphasized that it was in the national interest that a mechanism for setting up a linkage between conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of biological resources should be found. TKDL could act as a catalyst in this direction. He added that a National Biodiversity Authority has already been set up and work on preparation of guideline for Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) in respect of genetic resources was in progress. A database on national genetic resources would be a national asset in the context of international negotiations relating to CBD.

     A number of presentations were made by NISCAIR and BSI teams to exchange information on the existing information resources, methodology perfected for TKDL, patent classification system and technological requirements for such an initiative

     Mr. V. K. Gupta, Director NISCAIR, outlined a stepwise approach to the creation of the proposed database. He suggested that a classification structure for the plant-related information proposed to be covered in the database has to be formalized in the first step. Next, parameters to be included in the database should be agreed upon and then a concordance with the IPC classification system has to be built. These steps would be followed by creation of database structure and assessing the cost and time parameters at later stages. For this purpose, it was decided to form different teams comprising BSI and NISCAIR Scientists.

It was also agreed that the database should be named as the TKDL (Genetic Resources) keeping in view the potential of including information on animal and microorganism species at later stages and the important applications of such a database.

Visit of High-level Five-Member South African Delegation to NISCAIR

December 200 3

A workshop on ‘Creating Collaborative Framework between India (CSIR) and South Africa (DST) for Establishing TKDL for South Africa' was organized at NISCAIR during the first week of December 2003. The workshop was attended by a high-level South African delegation led by Ms Leratho Thahane, Deputy Director General and Group Executive, Technology for Development, Department of Science and Technology, Pretoria, South Africa. The other team members included, Dr Mogege Mosimege, Director, Indigenous Knowledge Systems; Tom Suchanandan and Otsile Ntsoane, Deputy Directors, Indigenous Knowledge Systems; and Mr Neville Gawula, Head, Legal Services, DST, South Africa. Mr V.K. Gupta, Director, NISCAIR chaired the workshop. The workshop was also attended by TKDL Team Members and Scientists of NISCAIR.

The discussion in the workshop focused on the need for creating TKDL not only to protect traditional knowledge but also to carry out advanced research for creating new healthcare products. It was emphasized that the creation of TKDL was the first step towards the acceptance of TK as a valid system of knowledge. The ultimate aim of TKDL was to create a Golden Triangle connecting traditional medicine, modern medicine and modern science. And in this endeavor, TKDL creates a bridge between traditional medicine and modern science.

The South African delegation was optimistic that close cooperation between the two countries could be achieved for setting up a digital library for South Africa similar to TKDL built at NISCAIR. There was a consensus that the two organizations should collaborate in this area in a manner mutually beneficial for the two countries.

With such future collaborative projects in the emerging area of Traditional Knowledge, NISCAIR/CSIR is likely to emerge as a leader in the technology, not only in providing technical support but also in protecting the interests of the developing countries in the area of traditional knowledge.

The delegation also visited the CSIR laboratories -- NBRI, CDRI and CIMAP -- located at Lucknow.