The Times of India reports that the funding for the Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) project of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) came to an end at the conclusion of the financial year that ended two days ago (we had blogged about the launch of the OSDD here and its progress here). This was shockingly due to the Ministry of Science and Technology sitting on a cabinet note that would approve their funding for well over six months which was far in excess of the maximum permissible period of 60 days.
The OSDD project was involved in some crucial research into diseases that are otherwise often neglected by other R&D establishments, like multi drug resistant tuberculosis (read our post here). The OSDD serves as a platform for thousands of scientists and students across more than 34 academic institutions and some international collaborations and had made significant developments in the direction of new TB drugs. The innovative element (so to speak) of the OSDD is the model that it follows in which it serves as a platform for enabling independent researchers to freely share their work, discuss, and collaborate through the internet which is in stark contrast to traditional, information protective models. The enhanced access to data and research would have therefore revolutionised drug research if allowed to continue.
The failure to pass the cabinet note would imply a delay of over a year before OSDD may regain its funding keeping in mind the intervening elections and the ultimate formation of the new government. In resource intensive yet highly critical fields such as drug research this is a major setback indeed.
Take a bow bureaucracy, take a bow!