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Project Details (2013-14)

Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Professor

2013- 14

International Aid Architecture and Development Cooperation Approaches

Research Team: Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, Mr. Sushil Kumar, Mr. Shashank Mendiratta, and Ms. Jeyenthi Raman

RIS has initiated work programme in this area to collect field level details to analyse data and information so as to undertake impact assessment. However, data and information on the contributions that several administrative ministries are making in the development programmes of several developing countries are not readily available. There is, therefore, an urgent need to undertake an exercise aimed at collating the information that captures fully the development assistance being provided by various agencies in India. This exercise also involves a detailed analysis that would focus on two sets of issues: (i) effectiveness of the India’s development assistance from the point of view of the donors; and (ii) measures that may be required for enhancing effectiveness of India’s assistance for development. The findings would be out in form of a book and series of monograph under the RIS Discussion paper series. A discussion paper on ‘Balancing State and Community Participation in Development Partnership Projects: Emerging Evidence from Indian SDPs in Nepal’ has been brought out.

Post Busan Dynamics of South-South Cooperation

Project Leader: Prof. Sachin Chatuvedi

South-South Cooperation (SSC) has gained prominence in discussions on international cooperation for development and thus the expectations from SSC have multiplied several times. It is in this context that RIS has initiated a major work programme for supporting policy formulation process in the post Busan context and partnered with several different agencies. Substantive papers have come out in edited volumes and papers are also published in international peer reviewed journals. The work programme is fully financed by RIS through internal resources. The current work is focusing on various facets of SSC as it promotes the exchange of best practices and support among developing countries in the common pursuit of their broad development objectives, encompassing all aspects of international relations and not just in the traditional economic and technical areas with the idea of collective self-reliance of developing countries with specific modalities and mechanisms like bilateral, sub-regional, regional and interregional cooperation and integration as well as multilateral cooperation.

RIS worked closely with The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the World Bank for two major conferences on this theme where more than 30 countries participated. RIS provided inputs for the International Development Cooperation Report (IDCR) on new dynamics of SSC. RIS, along with UNDESA and Ministry of External Affairs, had also organised a Conference of Southern Providers on South-South Cooperation: Issues and Emerging Challenges.

Global Ethics in Science and Technology

Research Team: Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, Dr. K. Ravi Srinivas, Mr. Amit Kumar, and Mr. Sahil Arora

Global Ethics in Science and Technology is a three year (2011-2014) project funded by the European Commission. RIS is a partner institution in this project. The other institutions are University of Central Lancashire, Rathenau Institut, KIT and CASTED. The project envisages comparative study of Ethics in S&T policy in the three regions (Europe, China and India) and three case studies (nanotechnology, synthetic biology and food technologies). Brazil and South Africa are special invitees. The idea of ethics in this project stands for access, equity and inclusion (AEI).

RIS participated in the meetings organised by KIT, a partner institution at Karlshue, Germany and at Berlin. In the last phase of the project RIS worked with other institutions in finalising the research outputs and in giving a direction to the Project.

The final conference of the Project was held in New Delhi on 6 and 7 March and was organised by RIS. Besides policymakers, scientists and experts from abroad including Prof. W.E Bijker, Maastricht University, The Netherlands and Prof. Cao Nanyan, Tsinghua University, Beijing attended this Conference. As part of this Conference a lecture by Prof. Ambitabh Kundu and a Round Table on ‘Communication and Engagement in S&T Policy and Ethics’ was organised.

RIS contributed significantly to the Project. The final outputs from the Project have been submitted to the European Commission. Based on the research done under the project a volume is being published by Springer in Open Access mode. Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi is one of the editors of the volume and RIS team has contributed to most of the chapters in the volume. RIS will publish Discussion Papers and policy briefs based on the research done under the Project and an article has been submitted to Economic and Political Weekly for consideration as publication as a Special Article.

This project has opened up new avenues for RIS to work on S&T and Innovation and Ethics issues. RIS is exploring the opportunities for future work in these. Although the Project was on Global Ethics, RIS team brought a new dimension to the debate on Global Ethics in S&T by specifying Access, Inclusion and Equity as norm and criteria to assess Ethics in policies and outcomes. This project enabled RIS to strengthen its connection with individuals and institutions working on STI issues in India.

Human Genetics and Access and Benefit Sharing under GenBenefit

Project Leader: Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi

Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) has become an area of increasing global debate within the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). ABS has become one of the main issues of contention with regard to the WTO’s Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, creating a state of incompatibility between TRIPS and the objectives of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD). The CBD, agreed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and the 2002 Bonn Guidelines on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utilisation, specify requirements for benefit sharing in relation to the use of non-human genetic resources such as plants, animals and micro-organisms. RIS has also been contributing to this global debate and is working on a project GenBenefit.

In this project, RIS worked on the ABS regime for human genetics. The area of human genetic resources lacks any such binding of international regulations on benefit sharing. Benefit sharing frameworks which are currently used to justify human genetic research in developing countries are often ethically questionable. There is a real need to re-evaluate existing frameworks and suggest realistic alternatives. A paper on ‘Promoting an inclusive Approach to Benefit Sharing: Expanding the Scope of the CBD’ has been published in an edited volume.

Issues before IBSA

Report Coordination: Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi

India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) Summit is expected to be hosted by India in the forthcoming year. We propose to undertake four major studies cross-cutting different sectors focusing on trade and investment linkages among IBSA countries and their linkages with the rest of the South; overview of IBSA experiences at various global negotiations in the realm of trade, intellectual property and traditional knowledge system; protection of biodiversity; social sector experiences and lessons; and finally study of potential for cooperation in the fields of science and technology among IBSA countries. Some of these would have serious implications for access to medicine in the country and in other developing countries. 

REWARD: Performance-based Innovation Rewards

Research Team: Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi and Dr. K. Ravi Srinivas

REWARD is an EU FP 7-sponsored project for the period 2014-2019. UCLAN (UK) and RIS are the project partners in this. This project will open up new horizons in complementing the international intellectual property rights (IPR) system. The project’s ambitious output is an ethically and legally sound performance-based reward mechanism for pharmaceutical innovation, which complements the existing patent regime, yet mitigates its considerable disadvantages for the global poor. The current IPR system impedes access to life-saving medicines for the poor in two main ways. First, high prices for pharmaceutical innovations are required to recoup research and development costs through time-limited patent protection. Whilst high price levels maintain incentives for pharmaceutical innovation, they price new medicines beyond the range of the poor creating an accessibility problem. At the same time, diseases that burden the poor are often not worthy of investment for pharmaceutical innovators, creating an availability problem (‘neglected diseases’). Many international research groups are working on IPR reform plans based on performance-based rewards for pharmaceutical innovation. However, their efforts are disparate and lacking a guiding vision. REWARD will use world-class ethics research as the steering force to determine which performance-based reward mechanism for pharmaceutical innovation is the most promising. In an interdisciplinary collaboration of ethicists, lawyers, economists, and statisticians, with experts in medicine, science and technology policy and gender studies the selected mechanism will be tested in a developed and a developing country.

Biotechnology and Development

Research Team: Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, Dr. K. Ravi Srinivas and Mr. Amit Kumar

RIS has been publishing Asian Biotechnology and Development Review, since early 1990s, as part of RIS work programme on Biotechnology and Development. In this year three issues were published including a Special Issue on Nanobiotechnology. RIS works with Secretariat of Convention on Biodiversity, Department of Biotechnology, UNESCO and the Ministry of Environment and Forests in this programme. In addition to this, RIS is interacting with academia, policymakers and other think-tanks in different countries on issues related to the Programme. 

RIS is undertaking a two year research project on Socio-Economic Assessment of Living Modified Organisms (LMOs) , funded by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) under UNEP-GEF Project on Capacity Building. This project is to be executed in association with five institutions is the first comprehensive project in India in this issue. The outputs are expected to help in decision making and in regulation of biotechnology.

The report ‘Biotechnology Capacity in Asia-Pacific’ published in 2010 based on a project commissioned by UNESCO Jakarta has been revised and updated. This new edition was released in March 2014 by Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, DBT. This report has chapters on 18 countries in Asia- Pacific and situates the developments in biotechnology in the global context besides recommending measures for development of biotechnology in the region including options in capacity building.

The activities and publications under this Programme will be expanded and diversified in the coming year.

Innova P2

Research Team: Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi and Dr. K. Ravi Srinivas

This Project has been completed with holding of an International Conference on Equity and Access to Medicines. Based on the research undertaken for the project a collection of articles have been published as a volume. The volume, The Living Tree: Traditional Medicine and Public Health in China and India (eds) Sachin Chaturvedi,  Miltos Ladikas, Guo Lifeng, and Krishna Ravi Srinivas with Foreword by former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam has been published by Academic Foundation. A report on Traditional Medicine in India is in progress and would be published soon.

The book recommends closer co-operation between India and China in using traditional medicine for improving public health and enhancing access to health. It suggests that traditional medicine in both countries can play a more meaningful role in public health. It recommends using Health Impact Fund proposal to incentivise research on development of new drugs using traditional medicine. It describes the issues and challenges in regulating traditional medicine in India and China, the issues faced by the industry and using intellectual property rights in the context of traditional medicine in both countries. RIS is partnering with University of Central Lancashire and few other institutions on another project REWARD that examines evidence based measures in health and access to medicines. This project funded by European Research Council is for five years (2014-2019) and likely to commence from the latter half of 2014.

Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of LMOs

Research Team: Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, Dr. K.Ravi Srinivas and Mr. Amit Kumar

RIS has been part of the global debate on socio-economic impact assessment of living modified organisms (LMOs) for last several years. The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has proposed a project to be coordinated by RIS under UNEP-GEF Capacity Building Project on Biosafety – Phase II. This proposed project will be for two years and RIS will work with partner institutions, IARi, GIDR, ISEC, UAS Raichur, NAARM and TNAU. The project envisages development of guidelines and methodologies for socio-economic assessment of LMOs in agriculture, development of framework for incorporating Socio-Economic Aspects of LMOs in decision making, Guidelines for conducting cost-benefit analysis of LMOs in agriculture, taking into account the special needs in assessing the costs and benefits of two traits for two crops and Article 26 of CPB. This project builds upon RIS work on socio-economic impacts of transgenic crops and RIS work on development impacts of biotechnology. The project will be unique one as for the first time in India such an exercise is being done on systematic and comprehensive basis. The outputs will be relevant for policy makers, regulators and institutions involved in development and research on GMOs in agriculture. This inter-disciplinary project will be implemented by RIS as the lead institution. The project will commence in the latter half of 2014.

Promoting Global Responsible Research

Research Team:  Prof. Sachin Chaturvedi, Dr. Ravi Srinivas and Mr. Amit Kumar

In the international discourse on science and technology, the idea of responsible innovation is fast gaining major attention. In this connection, RIS has joined other international institutions, under the Framework-7 of EU to explore and promote a governance framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) globally. The project is tilted as, “PROmoting Global REsponsible research and Social and Scientific innovation” (PRoGReSS). This was launched in February 2013. It will compare science funding strategies and innovation policies in Europe, the US, China, Japan, India, Australia and South Africa. Linking existing RRI networks from all over the world, it seeks to build support and momentum around a normative model for RRI to foster the convergence of innovation systems at the global level. RIS will be involved in ‘Innovation for Society’ theme for Indian case study.

As part of this project RIS has provided inputs on funding for S&T and Innovation in India and on RRI in India. RIS took part in the Project meetings held at Beijing.

Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi has become the member of the editorial Board of Journal of Responsible Research and Innovation published by Taylor and Francis. Given the increasing importance given to RRI in Europe and elsewhere RRI is likely to be involved in another project related to RRI.