The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) is one of the most significant events for students who possess a scientific angle and this platform is open to aspirants from across the globe. The platform not only involves Indian students but welcomes students who are interested in Science from other countries as well.
The 34th Annual Session of the Indian Science Congress was held in Delhi on January 3-8,1947 with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, as General President. Pandit Nehru’s personal interest in the Science Congress continued ever since and there had been hardly any session that he did not attend. He has immensely enriched the activities of the Congress with his sustained interest in the development of the scientific atmosphere in the country, particularly among young generations. In fact, in 1947, the program for inviting representatives from foreign societies and academies was included in the Science Congress. This trend still continues with the support of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.
Interaction with Foreign Scientific Academies / Associations:
After independence ISCA has been actively represented in various foreign scientific academies/associations, namely the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the French Academy of Sciences, the Bangladesh Academy of Sciences, the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science, etc. with a view to having a first-hand knowledge on topics of mutual interest.
Introduction of Focal Theme
The year 1976 witnessed a significant departure in the trend of deliberations during the congress. It was being felt for some time that such a gathering of scientists, covering a wide spectrum ought to be seized of national issues that have scientific and technological implications. In 1976, Dr.M.S.Swaminathan, the then General President of ISCA introduced the Focal Theme of national relevance which is now discussed in every section, committee, and forum during the annual session. These apart, several plenary sessions are organized around various facets of the Focal Theme in which scientists and technologists as well as policymakers and administrators interact with one another. ISCA has thus become a platform where members from different disciplines and from different walks of life can contribute to discussions on the Focal Theme.
Another significant breakthrough was made in 1980 when the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, set up a permanent Task Force involving representatives of ISCA and chiefs of different agencies and voluntary organizations chaired by the Secretary, DST, as being responsible for following up various recommendations on the Focal Theme. Every year follow-up actions on recommendations made in the previous Science Congress are discussed at a General Session organized by DST during the Science Congress. Through this process, the Indian Science Congress Association has been contributing to the development of Science in general and National Science Policy, in particular.
Young Scientist’s Award Programme
Indian Science Congress Association introduced the program for Young Scientists in the 68th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1981. The program enables Young Scientists to present their research work with opportunities to exchange ideas the relevant scientific problems with their counterparts and specialists. The ISCA Young Scientist Awards are given to candidates for making the best presentations. Fourteen such awards are given at present. The award amount has been enhanced from Rs. 5,000/- from the 93rd session and now carries Rs. 25,000/- and a Certificate of merit.
Presentation of Papers
It was decided that generally most of the contributed Papers, were accepted on the basis of careful screening by the concerned Sectional President by way of posters. Further, to encourage scientists it was decided that at most two Prizes of Rs. 1,000/- in cash along with a certificate to be awarded to the best presentation in each Section from 86th Session. The award money has been enhanced to Rs. 5,000/- from 94th Session. Since 2013-14 best poster presentation award has been converted to a separate program.
The Association started organizing popular science lectures in different centers in India from 1962-63. The scheme envisages constructive work for the popularization and advancement of science throughout the year. Till 1985-86 these lectures were delivered at seventeen centers spread over the country. However, this was restructured with the formation of Regional Chapters from 1986-1987. One of the major objectives of the ISCA is to inculcate the Scientific temper among the people and to encourage young scientists to grow up steadily in this direction involving them in programs relevant to fundamental, experimental, and operational activities. With these objectives in view, ISCA started Chapters from 1986-87 in different places in India.