|Scholarship Scheme for Faculty Members from Academic Institutions|
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Posted at http://southasiamonitor.org/detail.php?type=emerging&nid=11906 on May 20, 2015
By Sohan Prasad Sha (CSSP, JNU)
Nepal has already officially concluded the search and rescue operations after the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015, and more than dozens of aftershocks with a few big ones recently, that has so far left more than 8,000 people dead, and many more from almost 13 districts severely affected. In doing so, the government has also asked 34 nations involved in rescue missions to withdraw their teams only after the end of the second week of the earthquake. However, the timing of this premature decision caused confusion in such a tragic moment.
It raises more questions than answers, and makes it difficult to comprehend what is really going on in Kathmandu. Many reports from the ground suggest that besides Kathmandu, the search and rescue operations in the outskirt regions have not been conducted properly, and in many cases not at all. It is obvious and inevitable that relief and rehabilitation exercises in such a scenario would take months, and years.
However, over the last few days, two issues have emerged that seem to have overshadowed the real issues at hand. First, the #GoHomeIndianMedia trending on Twitter, with the Nepali media simultaneously picking up the story of a section of Indian media's insensitivity and jingoism while reporting in these traumatic times in Nepal. While it has been rightly condemned to an extent, what it has done is that it has taken the focus away from the real story on the ground.
Second, the Nepali media's extensive reporting on this trending business has not only convoluted the story, but has further divided opinions and perceptions. It has either diverted the focus of Nepalis as well as the entire world from the rescue to relief and long term rehabilitation debate, or has just simply flared up the jingoism on social media as well as Nepali media; an ugly bashing which is not unusual most of the time, but definitely shocking and surprising during such human tragedy.
The focus at the moment should be on the Nepali government's initiatives as well as failures to manage the rescue and relief activities, to facilitate an overall process to build a positive environment, restore hope and confidence in the people that Nepal shall overcome and rebuild what has been lost in this tragic hour. But a section of media, both from Nepal and India, involved in a jingoism which is hardly in the interest of the people, suffering and caught in a horrific natural disaster, now seem to have managed to get the tag of a 'geo socio political disaster' added to the list of Nepal's 'political disasters'.
There is no doubt that for the sake of 'humanity', almost the whole world is united in sharing the grief and pain of Nepal. Being immediate neighbours, India and China responded with relief and rescue missions, with even the prime minster of Bhutan coming all the way to Nepal to show solidarity with the people. Similarly, other nations as well did their best to send technical expertise to carry out mass scale rescue work in Nepal.
However, with the kind of media heckling at the moment, it will cause a huge discomfort if Nepal is caught in this 'geo-socio political' blunder. If so, then it is the people of Nepal who will end up suffering – from both the Nepali government's inefficiency and corruption, as well as the indifference of the Nepalese political/media elites towards the issues of the people, involved as they are at the moment only in bashing one nation over another to soothe their nationalist sentiments.
In any case, to be able to manage the after effects of such mass scale natural disaster for any government is difficult. Not only in Kathmandu, but even more so in the outskirt regions with an extremely difficult topography, which has been even more severely affected, and where rescue and relief work has not yet reached properly. There are chances that there are people still stuck in the rubble, not to mention the efforts at recovering all the dead bodies. As reported, the Nepali team is also less equipped technically to carry out rescue missions in those areas. Therefore, at one level, it is also necessary to take the help of foreign rescue teams who have advanced technology to carry out rescue missions on a mass scale in difficult areas. But strangely, when regions outside Kathmandu needed these efforts the most, the Government of Nepal decided to send back the foreign rescue teams, perhaps afraid that such intervention might expose other truths and failures of governance in these places.
As of now, the final assessment of the tragedy is yet to be revealed, with new updates coming in. So far the UN reports (as of May 2) state that more than 90 percent damage was in two districts - Gorkha and Sindhupalchok; and more than 80 percent houses were flattened in three districts – Dolakha, Rasuwa and Nuwakot. The UN report suggests that there is a continuing fear of further devastation, as people of these regions continue to stay out in the open, and urgently require shelter, tools for repairing damaged homes, food and medicines.
In such circumstances, it is difficult to comprehend how the Nepalese government can and will manage the delivery of this huge task, added to which is a widespread criticism of various forms of mismanagement on facilitating the supply of all the relief material to the people.
This raises serious doubts if this hastiness, caused due to the media heckling, especially social media, has led to a strategic dilemma in the geo-political space, or maybe even significantly influenced the Nepali nationalist political perception in new ways.
One can only hope, in the world of the political elite's construct of nationalism that is prevalent in Nepal, the interests of the people who are suffering shall not be sacrificed. In this tragic and turbulent time in Nepal, there are those who will suffer not only from the recent earthquakes, but also from the chance that the indifference in the Nepalese political/media elite's perception that 'Nepal is Kathmandu, and Kathmandu is Nepal' will get further entrenched. In the end, it is the issues of the common people who are suffering on an unimaginable scale that is more important at the moment. And while they will hardly get to see what is going on in the Twitter world, they are the ones who will have to suffer the consequences of such polemics.
Plain jingoism from both side (India and Nepal), especially from some section of mainstream/or social media, does not help those who are suffering but only undermines the core issues of relief/rebuilding in Nepal.
(Sohan Prasad Sha is a Nepali student pursuing his PhD in Jawaharlal Nehru University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
From: Lucy Spafford <LSpafford@emeraldinsight.com>
Subject: Your work as a reviewer for an Emerald journal has been recognised as outstanding
Dear Prof Desai,
Congratulations, you have been chosen as an Outstanding Reviewer for World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development in the Emerald Literati Network 2015 Awards for Excellence. The editorial team were asked to select up to two reviewers to receive this award and you were chosen as they wanted to recognize your significant contribution throughout 2014.
We want to say thank you for your excellent work as a reviewer because without your effort and dedication, Emerald journals would not have the right to be called scholarly.
As a winner you will receive a certificate. Where possible, we like to organise for you to be presented with your certificate in person. We will be in touch with you shortly (next few weeks) in the hope that we can organize a presentation. Please do not respond to this mail asking about possible presentations. I will be in touch soon with all the details!!
Again, many congratulations on your award.
Academic Relations Manager | Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Dr. Anup Kumar Das
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Call for Papers: New Review of Academic Librarianship, Special Issue on Academic Librarians as Communicators
New Review of Academic Librarianship, Special Issue on Academic Librarians as Communicators
Deadline: 19 June 2015
The New Review of Academic Librarianship is an international journal that publishes reviews, research, critiques and exemplar case studies on substantive topics relevant to those providing library and information services to academic communities.
The themed issue for 2016 will be "Academic Librarians as Communicators" and will cover the broad topic of communications both within academic libraries and beyond. The Guest Editor will be Helen Fallon, Deputy Librarian at Maynooth University, the National University of Ireland.
Abstracts are requested that focus on new/changing communication methods and communication patterns and their impact on the 21st Century academic library.
Topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Communicating with the university and wider higher education sector
- Librarians as strategic communicators within organizations and within a changing higher education environment including communicating change and measuring the effectiveness of library communication
- Scholarly communication: including dissemination of research, open access advocacy, interdisciplinary research, research data management, digital humanities, UDCs, altmetrics, bibliometrics, citation technologies, digital preservation and curation, social media in research and e-publishing, and promoting UDCs
- Social media and communication
- User behavior and communication: including marketing, customer service, student experience and engagement, surveys, feedback and consultation, networking, and measuring impact
- Collaboration and communication: including communications patterns between subject librarians and Faculty across disciplines
- Communication through academic writing
- External communications and collaborations (networking, influencing and negotiation, engagement with local communities, cross-sector working, international working, interoperability)
- Communication and legal framework including copyright, intellectual property, data protection, privacy issues, information governance, information security, and data standards
Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words describing what your paper will include. For all proposed authors include name, institutional address, telephone number, and email address. Abstracts should be submitted for consideration to the Guest Editor, Helen Fallon (email@example.com) no later than 19 June 2015. People will be notified by the 14th July 2015 as to whether their abstract has been accepted or not to be taken forward as a full paper.
Editor-in-Chief: Graham Walton, Loughborough University
Guest Editor: Helen Fallon, Maynooth University, National University of Ireland
Further Details: http://t.co/AixXAZPvtH
Permanent link to this document: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/WJSTSD-09-2013-0039
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jim Bowden <JBowden@emeraldinsight.com>
Subject: Your paper published in 2014 has been named as a Highly Commended Paper
Dear Prof Desai,
Congratulations, your paper "Mapping the Indian nanotechnology innovation system" published in World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development has been selected by the journal's editorial team as a Highly Commended Paper of 2014.
The World Journal of Science, Technology and Sustainable Development Editorial Team were asked to nominate an Outstanding Paper and up to three Highly Commended Papers. "Mapping the Indian nanotechnology innovation system" was chosen as a Highly Commended Paper as it is one of the most impressive pieces of work the team has seen throughout 2014.
We aim to increase dissemination of such a high quality article as much as possible and aim to promote your paper by making it freely available for one month. I will confirm once the free access has gone live so that you will be able to let others know. This will be in the next couple of weeks.
As a winner you will receive a certificate. Where possible, we like to organise for you to be presented with your certificate in person. We will be in touch with you shortly (next few weeks) in the hope that we can organize a presentation.
Again, many congratulations on your award. We will be in touch with you regarding our plans to promote and present your award very soon. Please do not respond to this mail asking about when your chapter will be made freely available or about possible presentations. I will be in touch soon with all the details!!
Academic Relations Manager | Emerald Group Publishing Limited
BioMed Research International
Biopharmaceuticals are the rising product segment in the pharmaceutical industry. Since the launching of the first ones in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the number of original products approved in the USA is close to 150. Copies of these drugs are called biosimilars. They are not exact copies of the original product for several reasons, including the fact that the original innovators do not release the information about the processes used to produce them. Thus, they are not "generic" but 'biosimilar' drugs. Some of follow-on biologics are improved versions of the original drug and they are called "biobetters".
In the pipeline, the number of biobetters is around 450, and the number of biosimilars being developed is nearly 650. Most biosimilars and biobetters are developed by such companies as Amgen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, and Sanofi as well as large generic pharmaceutical companies such as US Mylan, Swiss Sandoz, and Israel TEVA. But the pipeline includes nearly 200 biopharmaceuticals being developed or already produced in emerging and developing countries.
These include not only China and India, but also Argentina Brazil, Korea, and Russia. The entry of these companies based in emerging countries in the production of biosimilars comes from different ways. There are alliances such as those between US Mylan and India's Biocon announced in 2013 to commercialize Biocon's recombinant insulin or between LG Life Sciences (Korea) and Mochida (Japan) for the development of a biosimilar adalimumab. There are also partnerships in countries such as Brazil, where Merck KGaA's biological division, Merck Serono, is signing agreements with Bionovis. Other companies such as Biocad in Russia, or Amega, Biosidus, and Insud in Argentina are developing and marketing biosimilars on their own.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
- Biosimilars as learning ground for health biotechnology in emerging countries
- From imitation to innovation in the pharmaceutical industry
- Regulatory environments and learning in emerging country biopharmaceuticals
- Different avenues for catching up in the biopharmaceutical industry: collaborate, imitate, or import
- Manuscript Due Friday, 11 September 2015
- First Round of Reviews Friday, 4 December 2015
- Publication Date Friday, 29 January 2016
- Jorge Niosi, Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Montreal, Canada
- Tomas G. Bas, Universidad de Talca, Talca, Chile
- Dilek Cetindamar, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey
- Shyama V. Ramani, University of the United Nations, Maastricht, Netherlands, firstname.lastname@example.org
From: Shyama Ramani <email@example.com>
BioMed Research International is a niche hi-impact journals (2.7 impact factor) on biotech that is well known to those working on Biotech for Human Health.
We are organizing a special issue on 'catch-up' of emerging countries in this sector. Please find the call attached. We hope to introduce the strategic aspects of the international race for both economic growth and for inclusive development. Notes by Practitioners also welcome.
We are gathering preliminary intentions of submission. If anyone in is interested in submitting an article / or has questions - please feel free to write to me.
We would of course be grateful if you could circulate this call among your colleagues.
With best wishes,
Shyama V. Ramani
-- Book: Nanotechnology and Development Shyama V. Ramani Professorial Fellow, UNU-MERIT, Maastricht (NL) +33 608803383, +31 648676701 skypeid: shyamar www.shyama-v-ramani.net; www.friend-in-need.org; https://www.facebook.com/finindia
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Building from the overall conference theme, the theme for this year's paper contest is: "Information Science with Impact: Research in and for the Community".
This year's conference theme provides an opportunity for information science researchers – including academics and practitioner researchers – to discuss the impact of their research on industry, on government, on local/national/global community groups, on individuals, on information systems, on libraries/museums/galleries, and on other practice contexts. The theme highlights the introduction of a new conference focus on Applied Research, which recognizes that basic research in information science is also inspired by, and/or connected to, information practice contexts. Papers could discuss issues, policies and case studies on specific aspects of the theme from a global and/or international perspective. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following core areas:
- Impact on Individuals: information behavior; information retrieval; human-computer interaction; social media use; information literacy; etc.
- Impact on Society: digital citizenship; cultural engagement; archival preservation; policy development; copyright; intellectual property; infometrics; information access; etc.
- Impact on Organizations: information architecture; knowledge management; competitive intelligence; digital curation; records and archives management; etc.
- Impact on Systems & Technology: cloud computing; digital libraries; automatic indexing; social tagging; classification; semantic web; database design; web usability; etc.
- Impact on Information Contexts: health; education; law; environment; agriculture; business; etc.
There will be up to three winners who will be selected by a panel of judges including: Maqsood Shaheen (IRC, US Embassy Islamabad), J.K. Vijayakumar (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology), and, Innocent Awasom (Texas Tech University).
The judging criteria will be based on:
1. Originality of paper in the developing world and global information ecosystem (originality of the project described, etc.)
2. Relevance to the paper contest theme
3. Quality of argument, presentation and organization
Eligibility & Information for authors:
Only papers by a principal author who is a citizen of, and resides in a developing country are eligible. Winners in the 2009-2014 contests are not eligible. The papers should be original, unpublished, and submitted in English. We encourage submissions from librarians, information and network specialists, and educators involved in the creation, representation, maintenance, exchange, discovery, delivery, and use of digital information.
The award for each winner is a two-year individual membership in ASIS&T. In the case of multiple authors, the principal author will be awarded the ASIS&T membership. In addition, depending on SIG III fundraising for this competition, the first place winner will be rewarded a minimum of $1,000 toward travel, conference registration, and accommodations while attending the ASIS&T Annual Conference in Hyatt Regency, St. Louis, MO, November 6-10, 2015. (http://www.asis.org/asist2015/am15cfp.html).
The international paper contest committee requires that submissions follow the International Information and Library Review instructions to authors. Detailed information is available under the heading, Guide for Authors at: http://www.tandfonline.com/action/authorSubmission?journalCode=ulbr20&page=instructions#.VOw5ZUex4k0
Submitted papers will be considered for inclusion in a special issue of the International Information and Library Review, subject to the usual peer refereeing process, for that journal.
ASIS&T Copyright Policy:
ASIS&T will have the non-exclusive right to publish any of the papers submitted on its web site or in print, with ownership and all other rights remaining with the author.
Deadline for submission of full papers:
Friday, May 15, 2015
Innovation Report "Understanding Innovation: Indian National Innovation Survey with Special Focus on MSMEs"
Foreword (by K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, New Delhi)
National Science Technology Management Information System (NSTMIS), Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been continuously engaged in the evidence generation and analysis on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) resources for evidence based policy planning for S&T sector in the country. As a part of the new initiative Science, Technology, Innovation and Creation of Knowledge (STICK), a National Innovation Survey framework has been conceptualized and designed through in-depth discussions with the national and international experts for launching the National Innovation Survey. As a step forward, a national report entitled "Understanding Innovation: Indian National Innovation Survey" with special focus on MSMEs has been brought out recently by DST. The national report, first of its kind, benchmarks innovation potentiality of Indian firms in terms of innovation activities, sources of innovation, linkages, human resource, effects and factors affecting innovation activities. The report is based on the analysis of sample survey of 9001 firms, largely MSMEs, spread across 26 states and 5 Union Territories across various industrial sectors in the country. A commendable effort has been made by the DST and CSIR-NISTADS project team to put together fundamental issues related to innovations in the context of developing economies to make this report useful to policy makers, planners and the scientific community. I hope the report, as a unique initiative, would provide required impetus in devising evidence based policy prescriptions or recommendations for strengthening the innovation infrastructure and growth of MSMEs in the country.
About the survey
Over the last few years NSTMIS, DST had involved various stakeholders in evolving an appropriate framework to measure the innovation and knowledge creation capabilities in Indian context. The NSTMIS framework draws upon the inputs of the pilot innovation survey, sectoral innovation studies, and interactions with the national and international experts while adapting the internationally accepted concepts and definitions on the measurement of innovation to launch the National Innovation Survey. The survey is not about identification of innovations that is happening in Indian industries. It is about understanding the process that makes innovation happen or constraints innovation from happening. The understanding is through developing and examining a set of indicators that would help promoting and monitoring innovation in Indian production system.
Download Full-Text Report
Thursday, May 14, 2015
New Book "Science, Technology and Development in India: Encountering Values" by Rajeswari S. Raina (Ed.)
by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Abstract: New Study reveals how rivers flowing into oceans regulate carbon cycle.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Abstract: Ten Indian research leaders give their prescriptions, from better funding, facilities, mentoring and education to greater respect, fairness, autonomy and confidence.
Monday, May 11, 2015
i. Mathematics and Logic: What are the contributions and wisdom of ancient Indian mathematicians? Could we find in their texts, the solutions to at least some of the most current problems in mathematics? Could their works help us to understand many of the mind-boggling concepts in modern mathematics, such as 'infinity', 'imaginary numbers', 'point', 'space', etc.?
ii. Physics and Cosmology: The Vedic seers had expressed a lot about cosmos, planets, movements of atoms, gravity and many more in their ancient writings. Could their profound thoughts help us to resolve many of the modern issues in physics and cosmology, such as, what is mind and how it interacts with body? What is matter really? What is dark matter? What is dark energy? What about our planetary systems and origin of universe itself? Could Vedanta help us understand problems of modern particle physics?
iii. Life Sciences and Psychology: What are the contributions of ancient seers in areas such as, genetics, evolutionary biology, bio-informatics, biochemistry, bio-physics, neuroscience, embryology, virology, cell biology? Could their wisdom help us understand and resolve the question of life and its origin? How the Vedic seers understood our human psychology -mind and its workings? Could the concept of 'soul' still make sense in modern biology? What about the meaning and purpose of life, of which we have no clue today - could the ancient scriptures reasonably and precisely provide and define this?
Similarly, there are areas of (iv) Ethics and Virtues - India's precious heritage; (v) Engineering Sciences: Metallurgy, aerodynamics, bioengineering, computers, electronics and others; (vi) Health and Medicine (vii) Philosophy and World Religions.
- The essay could be structured into various sections. Placing content in sections reflects consolidating your viewpoints into important concepts that you wish to highlight.
- A thorough literature review will always enable students to grasp and conceptualize their ideas. Therefore, to win in an essay competition, proper justification from various literature of the concepts is mandatory.
- The essay essentially needs to have an abstract. Typically, an abstract is written after finalizing all the contents of an essay.
- Quote examples whenever they are necessary. This is true to the sense that examples always make one to comprehend difficult concepts and philosophies very easily.
- Provide original illustrations for few sections. Illustrations will enrich your presentations. These illustrations could be hand drawn and if they are taking from websites, they need to be copyright free. Plagiarism and infringement of copyright issues will be dealt very seriously by Essay Competition Committee.
- Avoid plagiarism totally. Standard Journals define plagiarism as the reuse of someone Else's prior ideas, processes, results, or words without explicitly acknowledging the original author and source. Therefore, copying material as it is from various sources such as Journals, Magazines, Books, Websites without acknowledging the sources and without any further effort to restructure the sentences is one of the most common approaches in Plagiarism. To avoid plagiarism, apart from acknowledging the source, one should construct sentences on their own. If there is difficulty in this front, approach your seniors or colleagues who are more familiar in the construction of both simple and complex sentences.
- Please note that all essays and facts mentioned there in about ancient India should be accompanied with references to the original texts. Indirect references and web references are not acceptable.
- It is recommended that you should approach a professional proof reader or an English lecturer to correct your essay for tense and grammar.
- Finally, include a conclusion section that summarizes your concepts. All entries in essay competition should be typed. No hand written entries will be allowed.
- The number of pages is limited to 8. The essay competition entry shall be submitted in both doc/docx format and pdf formats.
- The essay article shall be submitted in the specified format. The format and ready template can be down loaded from the download link below. The essay is to be submitted through Email only to <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submit your essay by email: email@example.com
- Essay related queries can be mailed to:
2) Ramjee Repaka, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember that a fundamental purpose of writing a good essay is to enrich one's technical, creative, and communicative skills without jeopardizing ethical values.
All prize winners will get an opportunity to present their essays during 9th All India Students' Conference on Science and Spiritual Quest (AISSQ) to be held on 30th October - 1st November 2015 at IIT Kharagpur, India. They will be reimbursed 3-AC to-and-fro train fares and will be given attractive prizes, medals and certificates.
CS papers "Impact of international cooperation & science & innovation strategies on S&T output: a comparative study of India & China" & "Indian paper crosses 5000+ citations mark"
S. A. Hasan, Amit Rohilla and Rajesh Luthra
Current Science, 108(9): 1603-1607, 10 MAY 2015.
Abstract: India and China have made sizeable growth in publishing science and engineering research papers in co-authorship with international institutions and patents granted in collaboration with foreign inventors during the period 1997–2012. However, the growth in case of China is much higher in comparison to India. The pace of growth in publishing research papers in co-authorship with international and domestic institutions is more or less the same in case of China, whereas India has shown higher growth in publishing research papers in co-authorship with international institutions in comparison to those with domestic institutions. The share of India and China to research papers published in co-authorship with international institutions increased from 1.8% and 4.1% respectively, in 1997 to 3.5% and 14.7% respectively in 2012. China's share to patents granted in collaboration with foreign inventors increased from 0.94% in 1997 to 13.68% in 2012, compared to an increase of 0.56% to 7.39% in case of India. The analysis shows that China has harnessed the fruit of its international cooperation in S&T to its advantage, as reflected by significant increase in research papers co-authored with international institutions and patents granted in collaboration with foreign inventors in comparison to India.
Indian paper crosses 5000+ citations mark
Nitin Kumar, Yatish Panwar and G. Mahesh
Current Science, 108(9): 1580, 10 MAY 2015.
Abstract: For the first time, a paper having all Indian authors has received 5000+ citations.
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
SciDev.Net: Regional hubs, truly global science and a smoother process would improve climate reports, says Purnamita Dasgupta
- Early interaction is needed to smooth the process of approving IPCC reports
- A UN initiative could be set up to ensure more data on developing world impacts
- The panel could also set up hubs to assess region-specific concerns
As the UN's COP 21 meeting in Paris, France, draws closer, the future of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is under consideration. In numerous consultations from Nairobi to Berlin, member countries and scientists are discussing what's next for the body whose scientific assessments have underpinned the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change since the late 1980s.
With scientific consensus settled on the need to limit warming to two degrees Celsius by the end of the century, there seems to be not much left in the science for observers to debate. It is the internal mechanisms that are of key interest: how the assessment process and its outcomes can best help to achieve the IPCC's overall goal of providing authoritative information.
What is the IPCC assessment worth? Most scientists, policymakers and the public seem confident that it is the most authoritative source of information on climate change, its impacts, adaptation and mitigation. Experts reach their conclusions by rigorously evaluating the available peer reviewed literature.
But of late, some IPCC report authors and readers have reflected on the need to improve the form and structure of the process, raising questions about whether there is scope for changing the prevailing processes of assessing and using this science.
Smooth the approval process
There are three key areas of concern. First, there is the issue of improving the viability of the interaction between scientists and their initial 'audience'.
I use the word audience intentionally. Those involved in the report approval process will know that the Summary for policymakers is read out line by line to representatives of the panel's member countries. This is followed by deliberations between author-scientists and member country delegates, and separately among the delegates themselves.
The outcome of this intense approval process is then released to the rest of the world. At this point, the authors are free to voice their opinions on the approved text versus what was left unapproved or modified. Does this create confusion or scepticism among second-level consumers of the science as well as authors? Or does it lead to relief that a text was agreed given that in some cases there is initially some disagreement?
No doubt, what is approved is scientifically credible. The question is whether the process can be smoother. Ideally, it needs to allow for more interaction between authors and member country delegates early on in the process — so that arriving at a final, negotiated version of a document that has taken four years to produce is not squeezed into a few exhausting days.
Add developing world literature
A second concern that resonates with many IPCC authors, and carries much weight when the text gets approved, is the need for more literature from the developing world. This has been a recurring concern. It is important not only in terms of representation — how much literature from resource-poor countries is factored in — but also in terms of relevance: the evidence base for IPCC reports includes much less material covering issues unique to the developing world. For instance, there is limited literature available on climate impacts on peri-urban areas (areas surrounding a city), an increasingly important phenomenon in much of the developing world.
Empirical evidence from different parts of the world can substantiate experiences documented in particular regions. It can also reveal differences between developed and developing countries. But if literature from certain regions is scant, this can become a blind spot where some phenomenon or policy is overlooked when in fact there is just not enough evidence to judge its significance.
The situation is gradually improving. But catching up will take too long — the rate of progress is slow, and the gap is still wide. For instance, last year's Fifth assessment report considered 10,544 sources of scientific literature for Europe and 2,982 for Africa to attribute climate change impacts across different parts of the world.  To speed things up, an international, institutional mechanism — perhaps a UN initiative — could be set up to facilitate the process.
More inclusion of peer-reviewed science from, and based on, the developing world would lend credibility and acceptability to the evidence. It would also increase global scientific buy-in and accord the process greater transparency.
Improve reports' user friendliness
The third concern is about making the reports more user friendly through different means of presentation, outreach and dissemination. A lot of effort goes into summarising the key messages of the Synthesis report of the overall assessment in a format and language that are relatively easy for policymakers to understand. There is scope for individual assessment reports, which are written in technical language, to get similar treatment.
In a similar vein, the IPCC could set up hubs to assess region-specific concerns. One hub could be on knowledge transfer for renewable energy in South Asia; another could tackle heat-stress related adaptation in Europe. The onus for dissemination would also then lie with the regional hubs, which can best judge what is required, such as translation into local languages.
There will always be a case for having one major IPCC report — an encyclopedia of information that assesses all opportunities for mitigation and adaptation, all new progress, and the knowledge gaps and challenges that remain. There is no substitute for this since climate change is a multiscale and multidimensional issue; involves multiple disciplines across the social and natural sciences; and is relevant to a wide range of discerning stakeholders from academics to activists to policymakers.
But parallel sub-reports and an emphasis on regional hubs will open up innovative thinking and ensure the timely availability of new knowledge, particularly in rapidly changing areas such as the commercialisation of renewable energy technologies. This will not only help countries to put climate policies in place, but also to dovetail these into developmental goals and aspirations.
Purnamita Dasgupta is Acting Head in the Environmental and Resource Economics Unit at the Institute of Economic Growth in Delhi, India, and coordinating lead author of IPCC Working Group II and its Summary for policymakers, and a member of the core writing team for the Synthesis report. She can be contacted at email@example.com
Meet the Author of "Mandate: Will of the People" Vir Sanghvi on 7th May; at 3:30pm; JNU Convention Centre
Meet the Author of "Mandate: Will of the People" Dr. Vir Sanghvi on 7th May 2015
Central Library, Jawaharlal Nehru University in collaboration with Westland Ltd and Association of Media Libraries & Archives cordially invites you to meet Vir Sanghvi for a discussion on his book "Mandate: Will of the People".
United Nations UNCTAD releases report "Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Urbanization"
In recent years, sustainable urbanization has become a very popular topic. Several conferences at international, regional and local levels have periodically discussed urbanization issues in detail. Debate on the topic has already reached a level of maturity whereby tools, resources and applications are abundant worldwide. Innovation on sustainable urbanization is happening everywhere, in both developed and developing countries.
This report aims to contribute to the sustainable urbanization discourse by addressing the specific role of science, technology and innovation. It is based on literature review and an analysis of cities in developed and developing countries that provide examples that can be reapplied elsewhere.
The report provides a fresh perspective on the discussion on sustainable urbanization, drawing on current research and case studies from around the world. The report identifies key sectoral planning challenges posed by rapid urbanization, particularly in developing countries, and proposes practical guidelines to city planners and other decision makers for addressing these challenges through the use of science, technology and innovation.
[Apologies for cross-posting]
Sustainable Urban Waste Management in India
Posted on 5 May 2015 by Fiona Marshall
On 5th May 2015 in Delhi government officials, representatives of waste pickers associations, NGOs, industries and resident welfare associations participated in the launch event for our new policy brief on Rethinking urban waste management in India. This is just one of the outputs from a joint venture between the STEPS Centre, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Delhi-based NGO Toxics Link as part of our sustainable urbanisation initiative. We propose a rethinking of urban waste management through a sustainability lens which embraces the informal sector and brings together environmental protection and social justice agendas, which are often seen as divergent.
The event coincides with the recent release of amended national waste management guidelines, which we have been seeking to influence as part of our environmental health in transitional spaces project. In this work we have been examining how different interest groups frame urban waste management challenges, and how this links to understandings of sustainability, complexity, risk and uncertainty and priorities for intervention. We have been exploring how and why particular waste management options (such as those that focus on waste to energy technology) become dominant, including the power relations and politics behind decision making processes, and the incentive schemes and partnerships that reinforce particular ways of doing things.
Working with a diverse range of stakeholders we have been promoting dialogue on the implications of current centralized waste management approaches in terms of the environment, health and social justice. We have been highlighting the winners and losers, the transfer of risks across time and space and between social groups, and the difficulties associated with the failure of participatory decision making processes, lack of accountability, simplistic understandings of material and social flows of waste, and lack of recognition of the informal sector.
We also learned from the multiple examples of alternative waste management strategies, and worked with people from some of the many excellent initiatives practicing and promoting them, to consider the ways in which these alternative waste management pathways were able to address the need to bring together the social justice, environmental and health concerns of sustainable urban waste management. Building on this collaborative work, we were able to distill a set of eight principles for rethinking urban waste management through a sustainability lens.
We think these principles could be adopted at multiple levels, but a key target for policy intervention has been the national Solid Waste Management rules. These are the guidelines formulated by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change (MoEFCC) that play a central role in determining how waste is collected, segregated, stored, processed and disposed of in Indian cities.
An earlier draft of these rules was released in 2013, but faced a Karnataka High Court's stay order for being "regressive". Alongside this court case, several groups raised objections against the rules. The STEPS Centre, through its partner Toxics Link in Delhi, submitted formal objections and organised a multi stakeholder dialogue (including the MoEFCC) to discuss the critique and alternative ways of understanding and managing waste.
We were delighted when, as a result, Satish Sinha from Toxics Link was the invited to become a part of the review committee responsible for producing the current draft rules. Much of the discussion at today's policy brief launch event will focus on discussion around the eight principles for rethinking sustainable urban management. Reflecting on the features that have been included, but also key gaps, particularly in terms of providing guidelines for implementation, appropriate forms of participation in decision making and procedures for accountability.
For example, in line with our policy brief, the new rules are moving beyond an 'environmental policy only' perspective on urban waste. National and state urban development agencies have been asked to formulate policy on solid waste management in the context of rules that need to be translated into city level waste plan by the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and others. Many new stakeholders have been involved in the management of urban waste and their responsibilities have been assigned, but it seems that no mechanism is suggested in the rules that integrates all the stakeholders, or considers accountability if they are not fulfilling their responsibilities.
Similarly, the role of the informal sector (waste pickers) has also been recognized in the new rules, but there is no proposal to develop guidelines to establish the involvement of waste pickers. Waste pickers associations are already coming together to offer coordinated solutions, and there are a number of promising examples of informal sector organisations being supported in constructive ways to address environmental health and livelihoods concerns – which are often seen as contradictory. For example, the movement for street hawkers to sell safe food by providing them with clean water and washing stations, instead of banning them as sellers of unhygienic food. The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 is an outcome of this movement led by National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI).
It is also very encouraging to see recognition of decentralised technologies such as biomenthanation, and composting as beneficial for the processing of organic waste. The new draft rules now state that communities should be involved in waste management and promotion of decentralised processing, and there is even mention of the need to 'incentivise the sale of city compost'. This is an important issue in the current context of highly subsidized inorganic fertilisers which discourage compost purchase. We suggest that this should be taken several steps further by involvling NGOs and waste pickers unions/cooperatives in the promotion of decentralised processing, which itself should be incentivized.
The new draft rules clearly show that the policy process related to urban waste management is beginning to open up to new perspectives. Since the process for reviewing the earlier version of the rules was slightly democratized, the tone of the new rules is quite different from the usual official perspective of understanding urban waste. Inspiring local initiatives, which embrace urban complexity and diversity in India, have provided much of the basis for the interventions by the STEPS environmental health project, which through its partner Toxics Link, has contributed to shaping this new policy perspective.
The debates that follow today's launch have much potential to contribute to a wider urban sustainability discourse. They are occurring within the context of major ongoing government led initiatives on urbanization; such as the plan to create 100 'smart cities' to support economic growth and provide technological solutions to water and waste management, and The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (clean India mission).
We argue that these types of initiatives suggest an absence of complexity in urban environments, lack an inclusive approach to urban development; and by failing to engage effectively with local partners and contexts or recognize the politics of sustainability may miss opportunities to address urgent challenges of sustainable urbanization. Our case study in rethinking urban waste management through a sustainability lens, highlights many of these issues and suggests a collaborative way forward.
Fiona Marshall is a STEPS member, Professor and Environment and Development at SPRU and convenor of the environmental health project. Pritpal Randhawa is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Water purification and the regulatory vacuum in India
By Aviram Sharma, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, JNU
Water purification technologies have witnessed a rapid rise at firm, household and community level in developing countries, especially during the last two decades. Yet they remain as one of the most neglected areas of research. So much so, in fact, that these 'emerging' technologies often fail to get noticed, eclipsed by big buzzwords such as nanotechnology and synthetic biology.
These technologies need to be studied from different perspectives, such as public health, regulation and through the lens of sustainability. When regulation is absent, technologies can begin to be used in contexts where they might cause unintended harm.
A new article published in Current Science, co-authored by me, addresses many of these aspects.
The article explains the growth of different water purification technologies and the emergence of Reverse Osmosis (RO)-based water purification technologies as a "dominant" technology in India:
"In the field of drinking water purification, however, RO is a relatively new technology in the Indian market compared to UV, chlorination, carbon adsorption, etc. both in bottled water firms as well as at the household level. It has, however, now become a market leader in this field. Manufacturers of RO purifiers not only include giants firms like Aquaguard, Kent, etc. but also numerous small assembling units importing the key components of RO and often selling the assembled products at a much cheaper rate."
But when technologies which are developed in specific contexts to achieve specific objectives (eg to desalinate sea water) get widely adopted in an unregulated manner in other contexts, this may pose several kinds of challenges.
As the article describes, in the case of RO:
"During industrial use, [RO] wastes water to the tune of 30–40% (ref. 10). This is a huge wastage, given the large (and expanding) size of the bottled water industry. Ironically, it has failed to capture the concerns of climate change enthusiasts and policy makers. The major bottled water firms that we surveyed do not have any concrete plans to use this 'extra' water (worse in quality than the feed water as it carried all impurities with higher concentrations). Some firms feed the wastewater into groundwater aquifers, which has the potential to contaminate the aquifers, at least in the short term; it also affect the water used for irrigation and drinking. The problem is compounded when groundwater has arsenic or fluoride, and RO ploughs back all of them with greater concentration to the acquifiers."
From a STEPS perspective, this underlines the argument that "contexts matters". The social, ecological, and economic contexts must be taken into consideration while specific technologies are promoted for wider diffusion. Rampant use of RO based water purification technologies in water-starved cities and regions could have a damaging effect on local ground water sources, which are already under threat from human activity.
The paper ends with advocating judicious regulation for protecting public health and conserving environmental resources (ground water) from over-exploitation and contamination.
Read the article
Bhaduri Saradindu, Sharma Aviram and Talat Nazia (2015) Growth of Water Purification Technologies in the Era of 'Regulatory Vacuum' in India, Current Science, 108 (8), 1421-1423
Read online (PDF)
About the author
Aviram Sharma is a researcher at the Centre for Studies in Science Policy, JNU. He attended the STEPS Centre Summer School in 2012.