India: draft science policy calls for public engagement

Visitors at a multi-venue mega-science exhibition in India

Visitors look at a scale model of the Thirty Meter Telescope at India’s Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bangalore.Credit: Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty

We are heartened to see a chapter on public engagement in science and technology in India’s draft Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020 (see We sincerely hope there is the political will and investment to make this vision a reality: the pandemic has proved that science literacy is of the utmost importance.

Among other things, the draft calls for: dedicated science-communication wings at each of the publicly funded institutions; national and local centres for increasing science coverage in the media; training in relevant communication skills at every level (from school to faculty); investment in research on how people engage with discovery and misinformation; creative and innovative platforms for science outreach that is locally and culturally relevant, from museums and festivals to social media. It also suggests that civil society, non-governmental organizations and private partners should contribute.

If implemented properly — with sufficient resources and incentives, and drawing on best practice globally — the policy could revolutionize India’s science landscape, professionally and academically.

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