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Global Research Funders address ‘Interdisciplinarity and Issues concerning Women in the field of Research’

Research funders from around the world gathered in New Delhi to debate global approaches to Interdisciplinarity and the Equality and Status of Women in the field of Research. The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), under the Ministry of Science & Technology of the Government of India, jointly hosted the Annual Meeting of Global Research Council (GRC), 2016 from 25th to 27th of May with the Research Councils UK (RCUK).

The GRC is a virtual organisation comprised of the Heads of Research Councils from around the world. It promotes international research collaboration and impact by providing a unique global forum for research funding agencies around the world.

Heads of Research Councils from 44 countries were among more than 100 delegates who attended the event to share the best practices and discuss policy issues in the field of Research Funding. A Statement on ‘Principles of Interdisciplinarity and Actions towards Equality and Status of Women in Research’ was discussed and endorsed by participants representing the global research community.

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, congratulated the GRC in identifying two very apt themes for the deliberations in the meeting. He emphasized that India recognises the need to forge collaborations with other countries to address global challenges facing the mankind, and the forum, consisting of over 60 Heads of Councils, is an appropriate body to discuss various issues facing the global funding agencies.

Shri Y.S. Chowdary, Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, on a positive note, said that he is sure that the GRC will serve as a platform for research funding agencies in the world to deliberate on important issues and that the meeting has come up with recommendations and action plans for the benefit of all.

Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary of the Department for Science and Technology, during a press conference, said that challenges are truly global: what concerns India concerns the world. The GRC discusses policy, vision and directions for research funding and not the details of the technology in science. GRC does not fund research projects per-se directly but does consist of national research funders. He also noted that through sharing practice and experience we can become more efficient, and not make the same mistakes and adopting approaches that work well.

Others present at the event were Dr YuichiroAnzai, President of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Professor Rick Rylance on behalf of Research Councils UK (RCUK), Dr Gisella Orjeda, President of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONCYTEC), Dr Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).