Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, a premier autonomous R&D organization with its 38 laboratories and 47 regional centers undertakes research and development activities covering the entire canvas of S&T in the civilian sector. It has endeavored to carve out a niche for itself and its R&D activities are multidisciplinary, competitive and knowledge driven in the innovation chain. Through its R&D activities, CSIR is creating major and innovative knowledge networks across and beyond CSIR laboratories.
The Annual Report 2003-04 highlights the most significant S&T contributions under various sectors such as Aerospace Science & Technology, Biological Sciences & Technology, Chemical Science & Technology, Engineering Science & Technology, Food Science & Technology, Information Science & Technology, Leather Science & Technology, Material Science & Technology, Physical and Earth Science & Technology, Science & Technology for the Society. It also provides information for the activities pursued under Central Management & Headquarters and significant Dateline.
Prime Minister lauds CSIR
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in his address to the 91st Session of Indian Science Congress, on January 3, 2004 commended CSIR as: “A latecomer in Industrial R&D, India now ranks the highest among all countries in the rate of growth of patent filings, which is now around 300% per year. In this context, the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has done India proud by securing, under the Patents Cooperation Treaty, number one position as highest filer of patents from all developing countries, including South Korea, China and Brazil”.
NAL’s Light Transport Aircraft - SARAS - completed a significant milestone as it was rolled out during the 4th quarter of the last year. During the year, a large number of ground tests were performed on the aircraft in preparation for its flights. These included structural tests on full scale airframe, engine integration and running tests, instrumentation checks, tests on avionics and electronics systems and ground vibration tests. Flight readiness reviews were completed. All these developments resulted in DGCA giving clearance to the flight trials of the aircraft. The maiden test flight of SARAS took place on 29th May 2004.
Head Up Display (HUD) for Light Combat Aircraft
HUD, which occupies the prime location in LCA cockpit and provides the pilot with essential flight information, navigational and target/weapon release cues etc., has been integrated successfully in LCA-TD2 and flights have taken place with CSIO developed HUD on board. The CSIO-HUD has superior features in comparison to those of international suppliers in terms of symbol brightness, field of view and the thermal management.
CSIR exploiting the Power of Networking
New Millennium Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) synergised the best competencies of publicly funded R&D organisation, academia and private industry. With over 50 private sector companies and over 150 institutes & laboratories networked together, NMITLI is the largest public-private partnership in India today.
Under NMITLI, an Investigational New Drug (IND) application from an oral herbal formulation for the treatment of psoriasis, one of the most common dermatological diseases affecting around 2% of the world population, has been filed for the first time in the country. Also for the first time a versatile portable software for bioinformatics – Biosuite® has been developed. This is a multi-purpose tool for carrying out diverse bio-analyses ranging from gene analysis to comparative genomics.
The mammoth coordinated network programme on bioactives involving twenty CSIR laboratories and thirteen universities and three well-known entities in the traditional system of medicine is contributing in the area of new drugs discovery. Some new chemical entities and new herbal formulations have been discovered by dedicated discovery groups. The discoveries covered are cancer, tuberculosis, filaria, malaria, ulcer, parkinsonism & alzheimer. Some interesting leads have been obtained on hepatoprotective cum immunomodulation as well as memory enhancement. Two entirely new anti cancer preparations in the area of women’s cancer are being developed further with an Indian firm. Also short-term toxicity of two entirely new antiulcer preparations have been completed and clinical trials protocols have been worked out.
Bacterial Leaf Blight (BLB) resistant Samba Mahsuri and Triguna Rice lines have been developed through the application of DNA Marker Technology by Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology (CCMB), in partnership with other institutes. These varieties have shown excellent resistance to BLB under green house conditions under limited field trials. The time required for development of durable resistance is now less than three years, which through conventional breeding would have taken at least five to six years.
NBRI has designed and synthesized three different genes that code for insecticidal d-endotoxin proteins, commonly known as Bt-proteins. These genes were then deployed to develop transgenic cotton lines that show a high level of resistant to target pests that damage cotton bolls. This is the first agronomically valuable transgenic technology developed in India that has been accepted in seed industry for commercialization.
A unique web enabled software (PLHOSTFA) has been developed by IGIB and commercialized. It enables a genome –wide comparison of several thousand proteins of one genome with all the other proteins of various other genomes.
Technology for the commercial manufacture of CONSAP, a vaginal contraceptive cream from Sapindas mukorosil has been licensed to M/s Hindustan Latex Limited. Bacopa extract (Promind) has been licensed to M/s Lumen Marketing Company and the product has been marketed by them as Memory Power and Memory Perfect. Also, double blind clinical trials for CT-1 (antihyperglycemic) are continuing. Permission has been obtained from DCG(I) to conduct clinical trials of a and b arteether (anti malarial).
Development of high flux, thin film composite (TFC) reverse osmosis membrane
CSMCRI has successfully developed Thin Film Composite (TFC) reverse osmosis (RO) high flux membrane in-house. The indigenously developed membrane is suitable for treatment of tertiary treated sewage water. 1 million liters/day capacity plant has been commissioned at Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL) Chennai. The use of this new membrane, which is non-biodegradable, and which has the ability to work over a wide pH range, would reduce capital investment and operating cost greatly.
Contribution to new knowledge
For the first time CCMB scientists have discovered that interfering RNA can convert euchromatin in to heterochromatin, both components of chromosomes. This can, sometimes, result in virtually stopping the gene expression. The research carried out at CCMB on understanding the mechanism of gene silencing has been published in the prestigious journal ‘Science’. This finding is of great importance in treatment of many diseases, particularly cancer.
NCL has made a major contribution by designing novel structures like stacked sheets by using new channel guest system. It was challenging to design them (a) for special shapes and (b) of desired properties. This novel contribution has found a place on the cover page of prestigious Journal of Organic Chemistry.
Protecting Traditional Knowledge from misappropriation
The concept of Traditional Knowledge Resource Classification (TKRC) was presented by CSIR to the experts of International Patent Classification (IPC) Union. The novelty of the classification scheme developed was well recognised by these experts and the IPC Union constituted a Task Force to further study the possibility of linking and/or integrating TKRC developed by India with IPC. The Task Force consisting of United States Patent Office, European Patent Office, China, Japan and India recognised the need of having a more detailed level of classification relating to medicinal plants. It has created approx. 200 subgroups for the classification of medicinal plants in IPC (under a new Group A61K 36/00) instead of the existing single sub-group (A61K 35/78). These are being included in the next edition of IPC to be published in July 2005. IPC Union has recommended that the TKRC developed by India and other countries may be linked to the IPC. CSIR’s efforts have thus been successful in giving a rightful place to traditional knowledge.
CSIR in the service of society
CSMCRI has installed 1200 Litre/hr Brackrish water desalination plant in Kisari village of Rajasthan. This project was funded by Department of Science and Technology (DST), New Delhi. CSMCRI has established a model cultivation for Jatropa curcus from which biodiesel of international specifications can be produced. This is the first time that such biodiesel has been made from Jatropa oil by CSMCRI. The biodiesel has been evaluated at Daimler Chrysler AG and found to be matching all the specifications. Larger lots of biodiesel are now being made for evaluation in India in a Mercedes Benz car. Orchards are simultaneously being raised in Orissa (Huma & Mohuda villages) and Gujarat (Chorvadla village) to make elite germplasm available in sufficient quantity so that cultivation can subsequently be taken up in larger (100-200 hectares) tracts of wasteland. The project has the potential to use wasteland, create several jobs, solve Indian’s energy problems and reduce environmental pollution.
Institution of a National Award to promote Technology Innovation in Industry
In order to promote technology innovation in industry, CSIR has instituted the CSIR Diamond Jubilee Technology Award from the year 2003.The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh. Tata motors is the winner of the first CSIR Diamond Jubilee Technology Award for the design, manufacturing and commercialization of Indica and Indigo cars. Indica has also been introduced in UK under the brand name ‘City Rover’.
All time high in CSIR’s journey during the year
The year saw CSIR reach an all time high in science, patents & earnings. In terms of science, CSIR published 2188 papers in SCI journals, with an average impact factor per paper of 1.75; both being all time high. In terms of patents, it was granted 191 US patents (69% of the patents granted to Indians in India), an all time high again. In terms of its earnings, CSIR’s external cash flow was Rs. 287 crores, an all time high again.