India: draft science policy calls for public engagement

Nature
Visitors at a multi-venue mega-science exhibition in India

Visitors look at a scale model of the Thirty Meter Telescope at India’s Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bangalore.Credit: Manjunath Kiran/AFP via Getty

We are heartened to see a chapter on public engagement in science and technology in India’s draft Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy 2020 (see go.nature.com/3k7g6hf). We sincerely hope there is the political will and investment to make this vision a reality: the pandemic has proved that science literacy is of the utmost importance.

Among other things, the draft calls for: dedicated science-communication wings at each of the publicly funded institutions; national and local centres for increasing science coverage in the media; training in relevant communication skills at every level (from school to faculty); investment in research on how people engage with discovery and misinformation; creative and innovative platforms for science outreach that is locally and culturally relevant, from museums and festivals to social media. It also suggests that civil society, non-governmental organizations and private partners should contribute.

If implemented properly — with sufficient resources and incentives, and drawing on best practice globally — the policy could revolutionize India’s science landscape, professionally and academically.

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