Following up on a previous post about European efforts to create a National Science Foundation-like agency of their own because of the recognition of that value of the NSF to U.S. competitiveness — and juxtaposing that with our own government’s apparent waning support for fundamental research — I thought I’d just note this article from Science that indicates India has reached a similar conclusion to the EU’s and is hoping to establish an NSF-like agency of its own.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has endorsed the creation of an independent agency to support basic research–with a proposed budget that’s more than three times the amount the government is now spending.
Scientists have long complained about the current process for winning grants, including inflexible rules and funding decisions that take more than a year. Last week Singh attended the first meeting of the new Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and embraced its recommendation for a National Science and Engineering Research Foundation with a mandate to “strongly promote and fund research in all fields of science and engineering.” The new foundation “is being patterned on the lines of the acclaimed U.S. National Science Foundation,” says C. N. R. Rao, chair of the council, who has campaigned for more than a decade for such a freestanding body. “A foundation that manages its own accounts and is run by a scientist is the only hope for reversing the rapid decline in Indian science,” he adds.
The whole article is here (sub. may be req’d).