Nature Index 2020

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Context: Nature Index ratings for the year 2020 have been released. 


Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.
Mains: GS III

  • Science and technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievement of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
What is the Nature Index?
  • The Nature Index is a database of author affiliation information collated from research articles published in an independently selected group of 82 high-quality science journals.
  • The database is compiled by Nature Research, a division of the international scientific publishing company Springer Nature that publishes academic journals. Nature Research’s flagship publication in Nature, a weekly multidisciplinary journal first published in 1869.
  • The Nature Index provides a close to the real-time proxy of high-quality research output and collaboration at the institutional, national, and regional levels.
  • The Nature Index is updated monthly and also releases annual tables of countries.
Key findings of Nature Index, 2020 on India
  • In the recently-released Nature Index table 2020, India is placed twelfth globally in science research output. The top five positions have gone to :
    1. The United States of America
    2. China
    3. Germany
    4. The United Kingdom and 
    5. Japan.
Globally the top-rated Indian institutions in this list are
  1. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) a group of 39 institutions at the 160th position
  2. Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore at the 184th position.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • About:
    • It is the largest research and development (R&D) organization in India. CSIR has a pan-India presence and has a dynamic network of 38 national laboratories, 39 outreach centers, 3 Innovation Complexes, and 5 units.
    • CSIR is funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
    • CSIR covers a wide spectrum of streams – from radio and space physics, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering, and information technology.
    • It provides significant technological intervention in many areas with regard to societal efforts which include the environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy, farm, and non-farm sectors.
  • Established:
    • September 1942
  • Located:
    • New Delhi
  • Organization Structure:
    • President:
      • Prime Minister of India (Ex-officio)
    • Vice President:
      • Union Minister of Science and Technology (Ex-officio)
    • Governing Body:
      • The Director-General is the head of the governing body.
      • The other ex-officio member is the finance secretary (expenditures).
      • Other members' terms are for three years.
  • CSIR Advisory Board:
    • 15-member body composed of prominent members from respective fields of science and technology.
    • Its function is to provide science and technology inputs to the governing body.
    • Member terms are of three years.
    • Three of the autonomous institutions of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India have found their place among the top 30 Indian Institutions as per Nature Index 2020 ratings. These are:
      1. The Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS), Kolkata at 7th position,
      2. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Bangalore at 14th position and 
      3. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Kolkata at 30th position.



Challenges in Research Ecosystem in India


  • Lack of innovation:
    • The education system lacks an innovative approach and critical thinking, focusing more on rote learning
  • Inadequate opportunities:
    • Due to a lack of lucrative opportunity, India lost a skilled workforce in form of ‘Brain Drain’.
    • There are poor industry linkages 
  • Insufficient Funding:
    • India (both public & private) spends only 0.82% of GDP on Research & Development.
    • The private sector spends less than 0.2% of GDP on Research & Development.
  • Foreign Investment:
    • India attracts only 2.7% of global spending in Research & Development; Whereas China attracts 17.5%.
  • Poor Quality:
    • Research quality in India is also not as per the required global standard e.g. Most of the Indian research is published in predatory journals, non-peer-reviewed journals.
Steps taken by Government
  • PMRF
    • The Prime Minister's Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme has been designed for improving the quality of research in various higher educational institutions in the country. With attractive fellowships, the scheme seeks to attract the best talent into research thereby realizing the vision of development through innovation.
  • GIAN (Global Initiative of Academic Networks) 
    • It aims at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs to engage with the institutes of higher education in India to augment the country’s existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reforms, and further strengthen India’s scientific and technological capabilities.
  • National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)
    • This methodology adopted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, to rank institutions of higher education in India.
    • These rankings are decided by the NIRF based on 4 parameters — Teaching, Learning & Resources (TLR), Research & Professional Practice (RP), Graduation Outcomes (GO), Outreach & Inclusivity (OI)
  • Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT)
    • The first-of-its-kind Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative is a Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) initiative to address major engineering challenges that the country must address and champion to enable, empower and embolden the nation for inclusive growth and self-reliance.
    • The Department of Science and Technology is partnering with  MHRD in implementing this program.

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