Emerging Technologies Initiative (ETI) : Phase 1

Context

Technological drivers such as Artificial Intelligence, Edge Computing, Big Data, Industrial Internet of Things, Blockchain and so on are going to have a significant impact on our lives in the next few decades. These tools will be the major drivers behind all the disruptive, futuristic, emerging, strategic, and critical innovations of the future. These new age technologies are undoubtedly advancing growth (social, economic and technological), but are also redefining concepts of privacy, ethical and cyber security. These technologies have the potential to disrupt many existing industries and significantly impact employment, security, social equity, and global relations. Typically, these technologies include, but not limited to, quantum computing, 5G data network, bioplastic, consumer (social) robots, autonomous vehicles, energy storage technologies, personalized medicine, blockchain based applications, and advancements in Agri Tech, Bio Tech, Fin Tech, Space Tech, and Manufacturing Tech. These technologies are drivers of disruptive innovation, and ideally, aims to play a facilitating role to engage, empower and transform societies. However, it is important to note that disruptive innovations are not just a result of new technologies.  Incremental innovations in products and processes can also combine to result in disruptive innovation – as seen recently in the case of several Fin Tech applications.

Goals and Objectives

ETI Phase 1 aims to create a better understanding of the emerging technologies from a truly interdisciplinary viewpoint, with a futuristic outlook. It aims to do so with rigorous technology-scouting, mapping, landscaping, assessment, and forecasting exercises. The ultimate objective is to identify technologies which are of importance and relevance to India and develop feasible roadmap(s) to indigenize them. Indigenization, not only in terms of technology import or acquisition, but also, involving methods such as, technology co-development. 

What do we expect?

The output is expected to be truly transdisciplinary in nature, and in the form of a strategy report on the identified technology.  The strategy paper should include (i) a detailed technology landscape, assessment, and foresight report as described below, (ii) policy recommendations, and most importantly, (iii) a clearly spelt out technology indigenization roadmap. 

The content of the report can be broken into the following segments:

Technology Scouting

  • Identification of an emerging technology with a clear justification of its relevance and importance, nationally and globally. 

Technology Landscaping 

  • What are the current capacities of Indian institutions/industries in research, development, and deployment of the identified technology?
  • What are the global hotspots of the identified technology in terms of critical human resource, patents, firms, and innovations? 
  • What are the normative frameworks and facilitating mechanisms that are setup within institutions/ industries (Indian as well as foreign) to facilitate research, development, and deployment of the identified technology?
  • What are the existing interlinkages between Indian and foreign entities (institutions/ industries) that enables knowledge flows, technology transfer and market access with respect to the identified technology? 

   Technology Assessment and Foresight 

  • Considering business as usual, how is the capacity of Indian institutions/ industries evolving vis-a-vis research and development of the identified technology?
  • What are the short- and long-term consequences/ impact (for example, societal, economic, ethical, legal) of application of the identified technology?
  • What could be a possible mid-to-long range technology development trajectory for the identified technology? (technology forecasting)

Technology Indigenization 

  • What are the possible roadmaps to indigenize the identified technology, and thereby strategically reduce the technology dependencies? 
  • What role can Indian scientific diaspora, deep-tech startups, and research institutions play in the technology indigenization roadmap(s)? 
  • How can the national, states, and international policy instruments and regulatory frameworks be an enabling tool for successful implementation of technology indigenization roadmap(s)? 
  • How to better leverage the essential role of Indian missions abroad in the execution of technology indigenization roadmap(s)?

What is the Participation Criteria?

  • Participation is open to Indian citizens and persons of Indian origin 
  • Participation in ETI is team-based. Maximum 10 members per team.
  • Multi-disciplinary, multi-institution teams are highly encouraged (Technology, Business, Government, International Relations, Public Policy, Design, Law and Social Sciences)
  • Preference will be given to teams that include members from Indian startups/ Industry, and Diaspora

How to Participate in the ETI?

Participation in ETI Phase 1 is a two-step process. 

Step 1: The teams are requested to submit an expression of interest (EoI) by 16 Oct. 2020, to partnership@thesciencepolicyforum.org containing the (a) identified technology, (b)  brief synopsis (maximum 500 words) and (c) team composition.

Step 2: The EoIs are evaluated and the shortlisted teams will be notified 30 Nov. 2020. The shortlisted teams will be asked to submit a consolidated technology strategy paper  (maximum 5000 words, at the end of ETI phase 1 (dates will be notified subsequently). 

Why should you participate?

  • Technology strategy reports produced by this initiative will contribute towards building AtmaNirbhar Bharat
  • Science Policy Forum and MEA, NEST will act as synapsis and bring onboard relevant stakeholders such as ministries, trade bodies, accelerators, government programmes such as startup and digital India to evaluate strategy papers and facilitate operationalization of roadmaps.
  • Team members will be invited to participate in the deliberation of this process during the phase 2 of ETI

Partners

The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India (Office of PSA) is set-up by the Cabinet Secretariat, primarily, to evolve policies, strategies and missions for science, technology, and innovation (STI) in the country. The Office of PSA functions as the Secretariat to some of the apex advisory bodies, including Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) and Empowered Technology Group (ETG); also involved in implementation of S&T related-synergy projects in critical infrastructure, economic and social sectors in partnership with Government departments, academic and research institutions, and industry.

New Emerging & Strategic Technologies Division in the Ministry of External Affairs (NEST, MEA #NESTMEA) is a new Division under creation to function as the synapsis bringing together policy and operational interfaces with key partner countries and international organisations; foster a well coordinated position on the technology governance rules, standards and architecture which has begun to evolve; identify new emerging technologies with strategic import for India; assess demand driven requirements on NEST in India at Central and State levels; and assess foreign policy implications of NEST and technology-related resources.

Science Policy Forum (SPF) is a collaborative platform that aims to facilitate stakeholder engagement in science, technology and innovation policy (STIP), Strengthen science policy linkages  and act as a channel for dialogue, outreach and capacity development.  We bring together a community of policy makers, practitioners, experts, young scholars and enthusiasts across disciplines and generates engaging content for the STI discourse. 

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