Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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Govt asks researchers to develop mathematical models on Covid-19 spread, will fund studies

Science & technology ministry move follows series of notifications from its different departments asking researchers to submit study proposals to fight coronavirus pandemic.

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New Delhi: The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has invited scientists to develop mathematical models to study how Covid-19 spreads in a population, and make data-driven forecasts of coronavirus infections.

The DST’s Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) Tuesday issued a special call for proposals under its Mathematical Research Impact Centric Support (MATRICS) programme for short-term projects on Covid-19. 

The board has asked researchers to submit project proposals for mathematical modelling of Covid-19 spread, statistical machine learning, forecasting and inferences from pandemic data, focussed algorithms for infectious disease modelling, and quantitative social science approaches for epidemiological models.

It will provide a maximum fund of Rs 5 lakh for a period of up to a year for approved proposals. Researchers need to submit their proposals by 30 April. 

“In the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, reducing contact rates in the population is considered to be a better option to reduce the deadly coronavirus. As R&D units of the nation is striving to come up with antivirals and vaccines to eliminate this virus, it is also important to develop mathematical models to study the rate of spread of COVID-19 among the population,” the notification, posted on Twitter by SERB Secretary Sandeep Verma reads.

The SERB provides grant support to researchers in mathematical sciences, theoretical sciences and quantitative social sciences. The MATRICS scheme allows submissions of easy one-two page proposals.

What the govt is doing

The latest SERB invite follows a series of notifications from different departments of the Ministry of Science and Technology, asking researchers to submit proposals seeking to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The SERB has already invited proposals under two of its schemes earlier.

The Technology Development Board, a statutory body under the DST, also invited Indian companies and enterprises to send proposals addressing protection and home-based respiratory intervention for Covid-19 patients.

Similarly, the Department of Biotechnology also invited project proposals for developing diagnostics, vaccines, novel therapeutics, repurposing of drugs or any other intervention to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Also read: In India’s fight against coronavirus, one arm failed miserably — Parliament


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