National Science Foundation keen to enhance collaboration with India


The US-based National Science Foundation wishes to deepen and widen its collaborations with India in the education and skill development sectors.

NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan met the Union Minister of Education Dharmendra Pradhan in New Delhi on Tuesday, August 9, to discuss mutual areas of interest and India’s plans for STEM studies under the National Education Policy 2020.

After the meeting with NSF director Pradhan asked the Ministry of Education, led by AICTE, to prepare a framework for further engagement with the NSF, also consulting other relevant Ministries in this regard.

Panchanathan said that like in India, inclusivity and accessibility of quality education are a priority with the US government too. He assured that NSA would reach out for collaboration with unrepresented institutions including those involved in skill development so that talent in these places can also be nurtured.

Speaking at the meeting Pradhan emphasized that India’s strength lies in its young demographics and strong knowledge base. He said that a wealth of talent is available in various institutions across different regions of the country, waiting to be nurtured. He urged NSF to look at increasing its engagement with lesser known and unrepresented institutions like NITs, Central Universities and State Universities in addition to the premier institutions in the country.

Referring to the education-skill continuum that is being created in accordance with NEP 2020, Pradhan also emphasized the necessity of bringing the skill sector within the ambit of such collaboration by reaching out to institutions like polytechnics, ITIs and community colleges. He said it was top priority and responsibility of the government to ensure that all youth, whether in mainstream academics or in the formal or informal skill sector, get equal opportunity to quality education and skill development so that they are equipped to face all challenges.

NSF is an independent federal agency that promotes scientific discovery, technological innovation and STEM education. With a budget of  US$8.8 billion, NSF is the major source of federal funding in fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences.

India’s engagements with the NSF include six Technology Innovation Hubs under which 8 institutions like IITs, IISc Bangalore and others are collaborating in 30 projects and some projects on Cyber Security. Director NSF is in India to explore ways to enhance these engagements.