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Activities of ICMR

ICMR has made outstanding contribution as a knowledge generating agency and contributed in understanding various diseases of national importance such as malaria, Japanese encephalitis, tuberculosis, AIDS, Kala-azar, Filariasis, Leprosy and Poliomyelitis, Additionally, ICMR has made extensive contributions in the areas of nutrition, reproduction and maternal and child health, occupational and environmental health and research complimenting health systems. ICMR regional medical research institutes/ centres have been contributing in tackling regional health problems.

Training and capacity building of young investigators, medical and allied health professionals and providing funding support for research projects to investigators all over the country are other very unique and significant contributions of ICMR.

ICMR continues to provide extramural funding to strengthen research capabilities within the institutes of the council as well as other research institutes, medical colleges and non-Governmental organizations for various research projects. It promotes extramural research through different schemes such as Centres for Advanced Research in chosen research areas, task force studies with goal-oriented approach and clearly defined targets; and grants-in-aid to stand-alone research applications received from various parts of the country.

Human Resource Development for biomedical research is supported by ICMR through various schemes such as Research Fellowships [Junior and Senior Fellowships and Research Associateships]; Short-term Visiting Fellowships (which allow scientists to learn advanced research techniques from other well-established research institutes in India); Short-term Research Studentships (for undergraduate medical students to encourage them to familiarize themselves with research methodologies and techniques); and various Training Programmes and Workshops conducted by ICMR Institutes and Headquarters. For retired medical scientists and teachers, the Council offers the position of Emeritus Scientists to enable them to continue carry out research on specific biomedical topics. The Council also awards prizes to Indian scientists (young as well as established ones), in recognition of their significant contributions in biomedical and health research.

The major activities of ICMR are summarized in Table:

S.No. Activities Relevance
1. Network of 26 institutes
  • Involved in evaluation of new drugs, insecticides, vaccines, devices, diagnostic kits & other interventions for all diseases of national health priority along with neglected and regional ones.
  • Taken health research to every corner of the country No other agency in India has such outreach.
2. Clinical Trial Registry India (CTRI)
  • Registers all the clinical trials conducted in India inorder to improve transparency and accountability, ensure conformation to accepted ethical standards and reporting of all relevant results of the trials.
  • ICMR also provides ethical guidelines for clinical trials
3. National Cancer Registry Programme
  • Generate reliable data on the magnitude and pattern of cancer in India
  • Undertake epidemiological studies based on results of registry data
  • Help in designing, planning, monitoring and evaluation of cancer control activities under the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP)
  • Develop training programmes in cancer registration and epidemiology.
4. Surveillance networks (IDSP, rotavirus, polio, Antimicrobial resistance etc.)
  • Generate timely and geographically representative data on the clinical, epidemiological, and pathological features of several diseases in Indian population
  • Only Indian agency conducting surveillance of viral diseases.
5. Nutrition
  • Identified the priority areas, conducted research in a multicentre mode and found effective, practical, economically viable and sustainable solutions for the plethora of nutrition related problems affecting people.
  • Nutritive value of Indian Foods and Food Fortification are landmark achievements of ICMR.
6. Support in Outbreak/ epidemics/pandemics/ National Emergencies
  • Surveillance Of Health Impact Due To Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 (NIE, NIRT, NICED, CRME, VCRC, RMRC-PB)
  • Environment and health impact assessment for Bhopal Gas Tragedy, 1984 (NIOH,NIMS, BHRMC,NIP, NICPR)
  • Earthquake in Gujarat, 2001 (NIMR, DMRC),
  • Supercyclone in Odisha, 1999 (NIMR)
  • Epidemic Investigations during SARS/H1N1, and preparedness for ZIKA and Ebola viruses, etc
7. Provides Inputs for Policy Implementation
  • DOTS for Tuberculosis
  • MDT for Leprosy
  • Malaria Drug Policy In North-East
  • ORS implementation in diarrhoea
8. Provides Guidelines/Regulations
  • National Guidelines for Accreditation, Supervision and Regulation of ART Clinics in India
  • Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research on Human Participants
  • Guidelines for Good Clinical Laboratory Practices
  • Guidelines for Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Genetically Engineered Plants
  • Intellectual Property Rights Policy
  • Guidelines for Stem Cell Research (2013)
  • Dietary Guidelines for Indians
9. Isolation/characterization of New pathogens
  • Asia's first BSL-4 laboratory developed by ICMR
  • Cholera strain O139
  • Kyasanur forest disease (KFD)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Paragonimiasis
10. Research Support to Medical Colleges all over country
  • Funds majority of research in medical colleges.
  • Short Term Studentship Program - promote interest and aptitude for research among medical undergraduates
11. Capacity Building
  • Generate and nurture human resources for health research activities through various fellowships (JRF, SRF, RA, STS) and trainings/workshops.

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