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The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA)

Established in 1914, The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA), is a professional body under Department of Science & Technology, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India. The ISCA oragnises the famous annual gathering of researchers in the country - the Indian Science Congress. 

Genesis of ISCA

The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) owes its origin to the foresight and initiative of two British Chemists, namely, Professor J. L. Simonsen and Professor P.S. MacMahon. It occurred to them that scientific research in India might be stimulated if an annual meeting of research workers somewhat on the lines of the British Association for the Advancement of Science could be arranged.

Objectives of ISCA

  • To advance and promote the cause of science in India
  • To hold an annual congress at a suitable place in India
  • To publish such proceedings, journals, transactions and other publications as may be considered desirable
  • To secure and manage funds and endowments for the promotion of Science including the rights of disposing of or selling all or any portion of the properties of the Association
  • To do and perform any or all other acts, matters and things as are conductive to, or incidental to, or necessary for, the above objects

Indian Science Congress 

The first meeting of the Congress was held from January 15-17, 1914 at the premises of the Asiatic Society, Calcutta, with the Honourable Justice Sir Asutosh Mukherjee, the then Vice-Chancellor of the Calcutta University, as President. One hundred and five scientists from different parts of India and abroad attended and the papers numbering 35 were divided into six sections-Botany, Chemistry, Ethnography, Geology, Physics, Zoology under six Sectional Presidents.

From this modest beginning, ISCA has grown into a strong fraternity with more than sixty thousand members till to date. The number of papers communicated for reading has risen to nearly two thousand.

Sections covered in ISC

There are fourteen sections which are listed below and one Committee Science & Society.

  1. Agriculture and Forestry Sciences
  2. Animal, Veterinary and Fishery Sciences
  3. Anthropological and Behavioural Sciences (including Archaeology and Psychology & Educational Sciences)
  4. Chemical Sciences
  5. Earth System Sciences
  6. Engineering Sciences
  7. Environmental Sciences
  8. Information and Communication Science & Technology (including Computer Sciences)
  9. Material Sciences
  10. Mathematical Sciences (including Statistics)
  11. Medical Sciences (including Physiology)
  12. New Biology (including Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology and Biotechnology)
  13. Physical Sciences
  14. Plant Sciences

109th Indian Science Congress

109th ISC will be held at Lovely Professional University (LPU), Phagwara, Punjab.

Significant Milestones

  • Participation of Foreign Scientists : The 34th Annual Session of the Indian Science Congress was held at Delhi in January 3-8,1947 with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Prime Minister of India, as General President. From 1947, programme 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 with a view to have a first hand knowledge on topics of mutual interest.
  • Introduction of Focal Theme : The year 1976 withnessed a significant departure in the trend of deliberations during the congress. It was being felt for sometime 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 relevence which is now discussed in every section, committee and forum during the annual session. These apart, several plenary sessions are organised around various facets of the Focal Theme in which scientists and technologists as well as policy makers 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.
  • Task Force to follow-up on recommendations : 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 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 programme for Young Scientists from the 68th session of the Indian Science Congress in 1981. The programme enables Young Scientists to present their research work with opportunities to exchange ideas in 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. 5000 from 93rd session and now carries Rs. 25000 and a Certificate of Merit.
  • Best Poster presentation awards : It was decided that generally most of the contributed papers, which were accepted on the basis of a 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. 1000 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. 5000 from 94th session. Since 2013-14 best poster presentation award has been converted to a separate programme.

ISCA Chapters

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 centres spread over the country. However, this was restructured with the formation of Regional Chapters from 1986-987. 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 the programmes relevant to fundamental, experimental and operational activities. With these objectives in view, ISCA started Chapters from 1986-87 in different places in India. There are currently about 26 chapters across the country. To get the contact detaisl of ISCA chapters, click here

Awards

Since 1965, various type of awards are being given to eminent Indian Scientists by The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA). This programme gives the Association an opportunity to honour scientists of repute. Till 1987 all the awards/lectures were funded by voluntary benevolent donations. From 1988 onwards, some Birth Centenary Awards, Memorial Awards and Award Lectures are being organized by ISCA from its own fund.

The Executive Committee in its meeting held on October 13, 2012 resolved that a person shall not be eligible for more than one award / lecture in his lifetime. No one (except ISCA young scientist awardees) shall be given the second ISCA award under any circumstances.

S. No. Name of the Award / Lecture Year
1. Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award 1988
2. C.V. Raman Birth Centenary Award 1989
3. Srinivasa Ramanujan Birth Centenary Award 1989
4. M.N. Saha Birth Centenary Award 1989
5. P.C. Mahalanobis Birth Centenary Award 1989
6. S.N. Bose Birth Centenary Award 1994-95
7. S. K. Mitra Birth Centenary Award 1994-95
8. Birbal Sahni Birth Centenary Award 1994-95
9. J. C. Bose Memorial Award 1989
10. P. C. Ray Memorial Award 1989
11. H. J. Bhabha Memorial Award 1989
12. S.S. Bhatnagar Memorial Award 1997-98
13. D.S. Kothari Memorial Award 1997-98
14. B.P. Pal Memorial Award 1989
15. Vikram Sarabhai Memorial Award 1997-98
16. Prof. R. C. Mehrotra Memorial Life Time Achievement Award 2005-2006
17. M.K. Singal Memorial Award 2009-2010
18. Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award 1989-90
19. B.C. Guha Memorial Lecture 1965
20. Raj Kristo Dutt Memorial Award 1991
21. G.P. Chatterjee Memorial Award 1981
22. Prof. R.C. Mehrotra Commemoration Lecture 1998-99
23. Prof. Sushil Kumar Mukherjee Commemoration Lecture - Agriculture and Forestry Sciences 1999-2000
24. Prof. S. S. Katiyar Endowment Lecture - New Biology / Chemical Sciences 2003-2004
25. Millennium Plaques of Honour 2003-2004
26. Prof. Archana Sharma Memorial Award - Plant Sciences 2010-2011
27. Prof. G.K. Manna Memorial Award - Animal,Veterinary and Fishery Sciences 2010-2011
28. Dr. V. Puri Memorial Award - Plant Sciences 2011-2012
29. Professor Hira Lal Chakravarty Award - Plant Sciences 1984
30. Pran Vohra Award - Agriculture and Forestry Sciences 1989
31. Professor Umakant Sinha Memorial Award - New Biology 1991
32. Dr. B.C. Deb Memorial Award for Soil / Physical Chemistry - Chemical Sciences 1994-95
33. Dr. B.C. Deb Memorial Award for Popularisation of Science 1994-95
34. Professor K.P. Rode Memorial Lecture - Earth System Sciences 1989
35. Professor R.C. Shah Memorial Lecture - Chemical Sciences 1995-96
36. Prof. (Mrs.) Anima Sen Memorial Lecture 2000-2001
37 Dr. (Mrs.) Gouri Ganguly Memorial Award for Young Scientist - Animal, Veterinary and Fishery Sciences 2002-2003
38. Jawaharlal Nehru Prize 1998-99
39. Excellence in Science and Technology 2004-2005
40. Infosys Foundation – ISCA Travel Award 2004-2005
41. Prof. William Dixon West Memorial Award - Earth System Sciences 2015-2016

Publications

Everyman's Science is a useful publication to know scientific facts in an easily understandable manner.

Source:  The Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA)

Related Resources

Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Last Modified : 1/29/2024



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