Initiatives taken towards Science Outreach & Popularisation
Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Government of India, is striving continuously for reaching to the common people. Since the eruption of COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry has supported numerous research projects and technology interventions through its various Departments, Autonomous Organisations, Professional Bodies, Statutory Bodies, and Laboratories. In the expedition of science outreach and popularisation, a number of knowledge and information products have been generated and released.
Efforts from Vigyan Prasar
India Science Channel
India Science is an Internetbased Over-The-Top (OTT) Science TV channel. It is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, implemented and managed by VigyanPrasar (VP), an autonomous organisation of Department of Science and Technology. This 24x7 video platform is dedicated to science and technology knowledge dissemination, with a strong commitment to spreading scientific awareness, especially with Indian perspectives, ethos and cultural milieu. The initiative is supported by National Council of Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), DST.
Science and Technology are the main driving forces of the nation and fundamental to progress and growth. So, advantages of science and technology must reach all sections of the society through popular media of communication. India’s large Internet user base of 500 million is split between 305 million urban Indians and 195 million rural Indians, all of whomneed to be reached with authentic science and technology content. And to do so, the Internet is fast becoming the most accessible and preferred media for content delivery. Since the occurrence of COVID-19, India Science has been working tirelessly to connect with the people, in the form of regular bulletins, documentaries, interviews, bytes and live sessions of scientists, doctors, experts, science administrators and policymakers. The following is a brief of the information products produced by India Science.
i) Daily video bulletin in Hindi and English
ii) COVID Explained - Short films to explain research project findings in layman’s lingo
iii) Interview of top experts from MoST institutions
iv) Facebook live sessions on interviews of various stakeholders and media with DST Secretary.
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India Science, Technology and Innovation Web Portal
The India Science, Technology and Innovation Portal (ISTI) is a one-stop window for information about developments in India on science, technology and innovation. The portal focuses on bringing all stakeholders and Indian STI activities on a single online platform; helping efficient utilisation of resources; highlighting functioning of scientific organisations, laboratories and institutions; aggregating information on science funding, fellowship & award opportunities spanning from school to faculty level; pooling together conferences, seminars and events; and projecting science in India with its major achievements. The ISTI web portal has been developed by VigyanPrasar, an autonomous organisation of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and is coordinated by the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA), Government of India. 43 In the critical times of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, the web portal serves as a one-stop online information guide to bring together a collection of resources in response to the COVID-19. These resources are generated by efforts made by numerous initiatives and schemes taken up by several Departments and Ministries of Government of India. These are being implemented by public-supported research institutions in India. The content presented here relies on the best available scientific understanding of the disease and its transmission.
The web portal provides all information related to COVID-19, its presentation of symptoms, transmission modes and mechanisms, and various models of protection of individuals, healthcare professionals & prevention from spreading to the community. The reasons, usefulness and impact of social distancing have been communicated in an easy-to-understand manner. The Research and Development efforts made at Ministry level and various funding organisations are enumerated here on as-and-when-available basis. The innumerable infographics have been provided here are sourced from various organisations for efficient delivery of the information and targeting the common people as the largest stakeholder. The frequently asked questions and myth busters are also answered here.
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Weekly Publication of e-Newsletter on COVID-19
For the benefit of our stakeholders, Vigyan Prasar is bringing out a weekly e-Newsletter on the most relevant initiatives and efforts taken by Government of India through its various Science Ministries, Departments, and Funding Organisations. These organisations are geared up and working tirelesslyto combat the outbreak of COVID-19. These research-driven and technology-based interventions have been initiated on war footing to fight out the outburst of the pandemic. The e-newsletter shall be a handy guide to scientists, researchers and scholars, especially who are interested in knowing various aspects of COVID-19 and contributing to the coronavirus warfare in whatever minuscule way and people at large.
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Special issue of monthly magazine ‘DREAM 2047’ on COVID-19
Vigyan Prasar brings out monthly bi-lingual science magazine Dream 2047. The magazine is being published by VP for last twenty-two years. Vigyan Prasar encourages reading the electronic version of this popular science magazine. The electronic version of the magazine is posted every month in Vigyan Prasar’s website www.vigyanprasar.gov.in. All past issues of the magazine are available online. The May2020 edition of Dream 2047 focuses on the pandemic – COVID-19. VP has, through this effort, tried to bring to the table every possible aspect that one would be interested to know about the pandemic, cause and effects, and eventually update on the road to recovery efforts.
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Storytelling through Comic Characters
Nowadays, everywhere the only thing people are talking about is COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown that has brought life to a standstill, not just in the country but at a global level. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, our lives have changed in ways we had never imagined before. It is only natural to feel scared, stressed and saddened because of it. However, there are measures that we can take to be both physically safe and mentally healthy in these times. Dr B K Tyagi, Senior Scientist at Vigyan Prasar is preparing some interesting awareness material with the help of comic characters.
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CURIOSITY - VIPNET Monthly Newsletter, a platform ‘for the club, by the club’
Vigyan Prasar bringsthe new version of its Vigyan Prasar NETwork (VIPNET) Newsletter, under the new cover named ‘CURIOSITY’. This Newsletter provides a significant platform for the science clubs to exchange views and ideas, express opinion, and gain insight(s) into a vast array of science and technology happenings going around. This Newsletter also acts as a medium to publicise the activities performed by the clubs, as it has a dedicated column for showcasing club activities as ‘Club Speak’. Soon, the Newsletter will be launched in Hindi and other vernacular languages too. The May 2020 is a special issue on COVID-19 for the science club members.
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Department of Science and Technology brings out COVID KATHA– A Multimedia Guide
To spread general awareness on COVID-19 using multimedia techniques and digital platforms, the DST, Government of India has come out with an interactive electronic guide to help people understand and address the pandemic with suitable knowledge and confidence. In order to provide consolidated and authentic information in an interesting and interactive way, the Department’s National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC) in association with Dr Anamika Ray Memorial Trust has brought out the multimedia guide carrying important information on A-to-Z of COVID-19.
The NCSTC, DST has initiated a comprehensive programme on health and risk communication with focus on COVID-19. A wide array of programmes and activities built around awareness and outreach have been envisaged involving print, electronic, digital, folk and interactive media to reach out to wide cross section of the society. The current scenario of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has posed concerns and challenges all around, where scientific awareness and health preparedness play a significant role to help combat the situation through translation and usage of authentic scientific information to convey the risks involved and help the communities to overcome the situation.
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Special issue of monthly magazine SCIENCE REPORTER on COVID-19 by NISCAIR
Science Reporter is a monthly popular science magazine that has been published in India since 1964 by the National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR), New Delhi. It seeks to disseminate information about S&T developments throughout the world, with special focus on Indian scientific achievements. The magazineprovides insight into all the major scientific and technological developments, presents facts about controversial scientific concepts, and tries to bring to its readers interesting, exciting and informative information from various disciplines of science.
In this moment of a grave health crisis due to outburst of the novel coronavirus, Science Reporter has brought out a special issue on various aspects of mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Special issue of monthly e-Newsletter ‘STRIDES’ on COVID-19
STRIDES (Science Technology Research Innovations and Developments) - A Department of Science & Technology (DST) Communication e-newsletter has been developed to bring news on S&T Development from DST support and beyond. It brings together articles, news stories, features, blogs and event reports. The Newslettergives snapshot of the science & technology in India with focus on the activities, achievements & events of DST and its Autonomous and attached Institutions. The April 2020 edition of STRIDES focuses on the pandemic – COVID-19. Through this effort, DST tried to bring to the table its efforts delegated towards research, technology and innovation that one would be interested to know and eventually update on the road to recovery and winning the combat.
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