Vigyan Prasar (VP) is an autonomous organization under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
The principal objective of VP is to serve India’s science popularization agenda. This is achieved through several strategically important two – way stakeholder specific approaches to communicate about principles and practice of science and technology and implications for development and quality of life. Science popularization, therefore serves as a robust knowledge led tool to fulfill three mutually reinforcing public policy objectives.
- The first is to create and foster a well-informed citizenry. This is with special emphasis on developments in science and technology and the open-endedness and continual evolution of science and related knowledge systems. This approach creates the opportunity to assist national missions, duly highlighting dimensions of science and technology. Information clearing house functions and secretariat roles are equally important in this context.
- The second is about building capacities to communicate. This is through inroads into formal and non – formal teach and learn systems including education and other community centered interventions across thrust areas and regions of the country. This is expected to help reach the unreached through concerted networking at the local level.
- The third objective is implicit in the two already stated. It is about engagement that follows knowledge enrichment. This is a non – linear attribute of science communication; determined by the interplay of regulations, ease of access to alternatives, capacities to use them and the milieu of equity and justice to exert rights. It is important to take note of this facet of science communication so that popularization efforts and communicators are not trivialized. sets the context for knowledge centered engagement.
VP accordingly serves as a resource &facilitation centre for S&T communication &
- Takes up large-scale science popularization tasks/activities.
- Develops knowledge products in many Indian languages; including publications, news features, films, radio programmes, compendia, portals and a variety of new media, exhibitions and kits.
- Builds capacities to communicate; film making and ham radio are specific examples
- Services dissemination needs of institutions.
- Networks with institutions, experts and knowledge platforms.
- Develops strategies for bilateral and multilateral initiatives &
- Assists national missions to strengthen outreach / engagement interventions. Using VP strives to adapt, utilize and employ new and emerging technologies for S&T communication / popularization.
The three most important guiding principles for VP’s robustness are
- Topical relevance and assistance to deliver appropriate information in a timely manner: This includes forays into mission – oriented communication, the India Science News Feature Service, the India Science, Technology & Innovation portal, involvement with climate change communication aspects, tools and techniques for the specially-abled and people in far flung / fragile areas, gender harmonyandcommunication in disaster situations.
- Inclusiveness that creates space for all to communicate and engage within the framework of science and technology in the service in the service of our nation &
- Reality checks that establish relevant need and impacts cascades.
VP has consistently delivered scores of knowledge products, reached out to millions of fellow citizens and added value to a large number of national programmes. The institution and her staff are therefore poised to recognize, strengthen and deliver ever more emphatically in emerging areas too; the logical way ahead. This includes opportunities to work closely with institutions / missions on health, agriculture, energy, water, sanitation, fundamentals of science and technology including STEM and STEAM, IT applications etc with a special focus on overarching communication strategies. This emerges from the profound possibility that communication should be seen as a forerunner for training and capacity building, means / tool to reach the unreached, assess information and related needs & connect stakeholders across institutions. This holistic and systemic intervention will help establish and consolidate the niche science communication truly represents.