With the tagline “Your idea can change our policy”, the Science Policy Forum (SPF), an open independent collaborative platform, organised an Ideathon with the theme “Vision 2040” to encourage participants to share their views about the science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystem and contribute towards the formulation of the STI Policy 2020.
Some of the MSc09 students, under the guidance of faculty scientist, Dr. Shruthi Vembar, put together creative entries for the Ideathon, focusing on the various thematic groups constituted by the policy. These included:
1. Poems on collaborations in the field of science and the stigma revolving around genetically modified plants, by Neeraj Sharma and Shweta Shrotri.
2. Comic strips and cartoons focusing on gender disparity in STEM and the R&D ecosystem, by Ankita Venkatesh, Chondamma Bollachettira Vijaya, and Shweta Shrotri.
3. An infographic throwing light on innovation and capacity development, by Dhruv Chauhan and Harshita Agarwal.
4. An animated video showcasing “Rural” India in 2040 by Harshita Agarwal, Neeraj Sharma and Yasha Nirati.
I spoke to some of the participants, and here are some of their thoughts on the experience!
Neeraj had a preconceived notion that if he were to design a policy himself, he'd have done a better job. Through this experience, he realised that to frame or even tweak a policy such that it can benefit people belonging to all walks of life, is a really tough job!
Harshita, who always fantasized about time-travel, was delighted to be able to fulfil this by creating a video titled “My Dream Village”. This experience further reiterated that science and creativity go hand in hand.
Having only been exposed to the “science” aspect till now, I personally am grateful for this opportunity to attempt to understand the Science Policy Ecosystem in India. (P.S - attempt, being the key word!) Working with my team members to illustrate what we thought were the biggest factors responsible for gender gaps in STEM made me realise that, while it is easy to identify shortcomings in the system, implementing solutions that are inclusive and accessible to all, as well as communicating these, is the real challenge.
All that's left to do now, is to wait for them to announce the winners!