“Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science” (IRIS) is a research based program initiated with a purpose to promote and nurture science and scientific research amongst young innovators of the country. The program was launched in the year 2006. Department of Science and Technology (DST), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Intel have all come together under this program, to create a platform to boost up the next generation of innovators. IRIS provides a platform for the young geniuses to represent and prove India at the global platform.
How Does IRIS Work?
Each year, IRIS reaches out to more than a million middle and high school students across the country through research based science fairs in which students submit research-based science projects across 17 subjects: Behavioural and social Sciences, Biochemistry, Botany, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Science, Environmental Management, Energy and Transportation, Energy and Planetary Sciences, Mathematics, Materials and Bioengineering, Medicine and Health Sciences, Microbiology, Physics and Zoology. The projects are reviewed by a panel of domain experts. The shortlisted entries from here are exhibited at the annual IRIS National Fair where the projects are evaluated on the basis of their scientific robustness. Winners are rewarded and provided with a platform to represent India at the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, ‘The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF)’ which is held in the United States every year.
Before coming up with their presentation on a global platform, the students are provided with a meticulous coaching under the guidance of eminent scientists in order to further fine-tune their innovations.
Winners at the Intel ISEF not only bring glory to the nation but also earn an opportunity to have a minor planet named after them.
Thus IRIS provides the young genius minds a platform to display their scientific aptitude and win public recognition and awards at the national and international levels. It persuades the students to use research and information as a tool to discover more and more new and unique solutions to everyday problems.
Challenges faced by IRIS
In India IRIS faces a few challenges that interrupt its effective functioning. Firstly, lack of culture of research and innovation in the schooling system does not infuse the innovative potentials in the young minds. Also the inadequate capacity of teachers to mentor their students to meet the international standards, is preventing the young researchers from exploring their scientific aptitudes.
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