Anusandhan National Research Foundation (ANRF): New Research Funding Agency Comes into Play

Anusandhan National Research Foundation (ANRF): New Research Funding Agency Comes into PlayThe Government of India has appointed Prof. Abhay Karandikar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology (DST), as the interim Chief Executive Officer of Anusandhan National Research Foundation (ANRF). ANRF was constituted under the ANRF Act, 2023, which came into force on February 5, 2024. ANRF reiterates the commitment of the Government of India to catalyse ‘Research and Innovation‘ as the Foundation for the development of the country.

The ANRF Act passed by the Parliament in 2023 is focused towards fostering a culture of research and innovation throughout India’s universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories.

The ANRF will undertake suitable initiatives, including the following:

  • preparing the roadmap for short-, medium- and long-term research and development;
  • seeding, growing and facilitating research at academic and research institutions, particularly at universities and colleges where research capacity is at a nascent stage, through programmes such as research and development projects, fellowships, academic chairs, and creation of centres of excellence;
  • funding competitive peer-reviewed grant proposals to eligible persons;
  • assisting in setting up research infrastructure and environment that is conducive to scientific pursuit with a specific focus on matters of national priorities, emerging frontiers and strategic research;
  • increasing India’s role and participation in critical areas of national and global importance;
  • supporting translation of research undertaken into capital-intensive technologies;
  • evolving nationally coordinated programmes to identify scientific and practical solutions for societal, developmental, financial and techno-economic challenges;
  • coordinating across the Central Government, State Governments, public authorities, industries, and research institutions to document and analyse the expenditure on scientific research and their outcomes during each financial year and report the same to the Central Government;
  • evolving participation in international collaborative projects and fostering the exchange of scientific information;
  • encouraging collaboration with scientists from within and outside India, including scientists of Indian origin, with a view to enriching the Indian scientific ecosystem and
  • encouraging the Public Sector Enterprises as well as the private sector entities to invest in the activities of the Foundation.

In addition, the Foundation shall also, to the extent practicable, either by itself or through a suitable agency, undertake an annual survey of outcomes of scientific research in India, with a view to creating a central repository for the collection, interpretation and analysis of information and data surrounding such research, and the aim of such a repository would include providing information for policy formulation and advising the Central Government and State Governments as well as the private sector.

The Governing Board of the Foundation shall include:

  • the Prime Minister of India
  • the Union Minister of Science and Technology
  • the Union Minister of Education
  • a Member of the NITI Aayog dealing with science and technology
  • Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Science and Technology
  • Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
  • Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Biotechnology
  • Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Higher Education
  • the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India,

The ANRF aims to be a research funding organisation with a corpus of INR 50,000.0 crores, with nearly INR 36,000.0 crore projected to come from the private sector. In the interim budget announced for the Financial Year 2024-25, the Finance Minister has provisioned INR 2,000 crores towards ANRF.

Authors: Manisha Singh and Priyanka Gupta