R & D Infrastructure Map
The Indian Science, Technology, and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM) web portal holds the database of publicly funded and functioning R&D Equipment and Facilities in various institutions and organizations in India. The sharing of sophisticated equipment facilities, through the on-line portal, will successfully bring down the cost of doing research across the country, which is specially required after the pandemic Covid-19 to become Atma Nirbhar Bharat.
The idea of enabling online access in a systematic and transparent way to all public-funded facilities through a single homepage has been chosen as a Transformative Idea and made a part of the 100-days program of the Govt. of India. With the apt theme “Linking Researchers and Resources”, the I-STEM portal is in line with the “Make in India, Digital India and Stand-up India” ambitions.
Therefore, I-STEM is considered herein from the perspectives of the different stakeholders, to ensure that I-STEM becomes an integral part of the R&D efforts of the country in the longer term, i.e., over the next 15-20 years.
The portal today lists more than 20,000 equipment and facilities, serving as live inventory for custodians and funding agencies such as DST/MHRD etc., and as a repository for the researchers from national labs, strategic sectors, academia, and industry, especially start-ups.
A web-based e-portal is established for the purpose, which is being constantly updated and maintained to serve the goals of the Project, namely, to ensure that: (a) Researchers and others have access to the facilities they require for their R&D efforts; (b) equipment/facilities procured through public funds are maintained in good order; (c) efficient use is being made such equipment/facilities; (d) as much as possible, duplication of such equipment /facilities is avoided (e) enabling a pool of experts to assist researchers on the technical front.
The various features of the portal are: The “single login facility” to the unique I-STEM portal is designed to avoid confusion among Users in the academia/industry as well as among Custodian Institutions. It is also designed to be updated constantly with the functional status of facilities and keep a record of their usage. I-STEM is expected to minimize the duplication of efforts and wastage of resources in developing similar portals by the other agencies (if any). The unique I-STEM portal has provision for providing customized dashboards for each Funding Agency and for each Custodian Institution so that they can readily obtain a comprehensive, up-to-date equipment inventory, the functional status of each, equipment usage statistics, outcomes of research, issues that arise if any, etc. The single-login facility to the I-STEM portal (with approved homogenous format for outcomes, such as, reports/publications/patents arises from funded projects) will provide appropriate statistics to the Govt. to enable achieving targeted objectives. The payment gateway has been tested comprehensively and certified for its security. The I-STEM Portal is designed to be the gateway for users/researchers/start-ups/Industry to locate the specific type of facility they need for their R&D work and to identify the one that is either located closest to them or available the soonest. The I-STEM portal is built with a hierarchy of access – by the Nodal Office, Head of Institution, Head of the (Custodian) Department, Facility-in-charge, and Eqpt Operator. The I-STEM portal has a Dashboard for the Custodian institution to provide a live inventory of all public-funded equipment in house, the functional status of the same, and the usage and sharing of the equipment. The portal has a Dashboard for Regional Representatives too, so that they can have a live inventory of facilities in a region, their status, and their utilization. The I-STEM portal has a built-in secure payment gateway so that Users can pay the User Fee directly to the Custodian Institution, which prescribes the Fee to be paid. The I-STEM portal has been designed to provide a Dashboard to all GoI funding agencies so that they can (a) obtain a live-inventory of all equipment funded by them; (b) monitor the functional status of the equipment; (c) monitor the usage of equipment both by researchers of the custodian institution and by external researchers. Registered Users can search and locate for the equipment/facility they need and correspond directly with the Operator/Technician to reserve it for use in a mutually convenient manner. Each “sharing event/job request” is assigned a unique 10-digit Facility Booking Record (FBR), such as, IRCTC PNR, through which a User and the Custodian/Operator are aware of the status of a particular request for sharing a facility. The FBR is “closed” only after the “sharing event/job request” is completed to mutual satisfaction. The FBR makes the process of sharing transparent and fully accounted for. Users will receive the online receipt for the payment s/he has made as well as bills/invoice to claim it with the parent institution (as per their institution norms). Users may fill the feedback form on their experience during the availing the services for their research needs.
The I-STEM Web Portal: a National Portal that is the gateway for researchers to locate the specific facility(ies) they need for their R&D work and identify the one that is either located closest to them or available the soonest.
To protect the IP involved in building the I-STEM Portal, a provisional patent application entitled, "A method and process for efficient use of geographically dispersed resources", has been filed with the Indian Patent Office.
The statement from the distiguished scientists on setting up of the national portal I-STEM