Science, Technology and Innovation
The significance of engaging with BRICS countries in order to foster dialogue and mutual knowledge sharing, capacity building, cross-incubation with a broad view to advancing BRICS systems of innovation has always been of critical importance.
The first Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) was held in February 2014 at Cape Town, South Africa, with the aim of strengthening cooperation in science, technology and innovation amongst the BRICS countries.
In pursuance of the directions laid out by the Leaders in the Fortaleza Declaration of 2014, the BRICS STI Ministers signed the landmark Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation during their 2nd meeting in March 2015 in Brazil. The MoU has provided the strategic framework for the development of cooperation in priority areas such as the promotion of innovation and technology transfer; food security, climate change and natural disaster preparedness and mitigation, new and renewable energy, nanotechnology, ocean and polar sciences and geospatial technologies and its applications.
A New BRICS STI Architecture was adopted by the STI Ministers in 2019 to keep pace with the expanding agenda and scope of work under the BRICS STI umbrella.
- Four pillars have been identified, namely Research Collaboration, Innovation Collaboration, Research Infrastructure and Sustainability to guide the work being carried out under the BRICS STI track.
- Under these pillars, 13 Working Groups have been created. These include thematic groups: polar and ocean technology, astronomy, geospatial technology, new and renewable energy, astronomy, materials, photonics, natural disasters, biotechnology and biomedicine and ICT and High Power Computing; and operational groups: research infrastructure, STIEP (Science, Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program), Steering Committee and STI Funding WG.
The BRICS STI cooperation has been supported by strong collaboration between public and private sectors and industry and academia. One of the prime examples of this is the BRICS Young Scientists Conclave, which India organized for the first time in 2016 in pursuance of Prime Minister Modi’s special commitment to youth engagement. More than 40 young scientists from BRICS countries participated in the event and discussed some exciting ideas in the field of affordable healthcare, energy solutions and computational intelligence. The YSF has become a traditional feature in the Annual BRICS calendar since then.
Notable achievements of BRICS STI Cooperation over the past few years are as follows:
- Creation of the iBRICS Network to aid twinning of Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) and Start-ups in themes of technology interventions for challenged and elderly.
- Development of BRICS Global Research Advanced Infrastructure Network (BRICS GRAIN), a single digital entry point into research infrastructure’s basic info and links, partnership and access calls, contacts, events and news.
- Coordination of the existing large-scale national programs of the BRICS countries.
- Development and implementation of a BRICS Framework Programme for funding multilateral joint research projects for research, technology commercialization and innovation
- Establishment of a joint Research and Innovation Platform.