Indian Council of Medical Research

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is India’ supreme body to formulate, coordinate and promote biomedical research. It was formed in 1911 when it was known as Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA). In 1949, IRFA was renamed ICMR.

Why is the body important for UPSC?

India’s first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine named ‘Covaxin’ has been developed and manufactured by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR.

The important facts about Indian Council Medical Research that can be useful for the IAS Exam are provided in this article.

Candidates can also read about similar important institutions of India from the links provided below:

Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Medical Council of India (MCI)
Food Corporation of India Competition Commission of India Law Commission of India
Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) All India Council for Technical Education Niti Aayog
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) Northeastern Council

Important Facts about ICMR for UPSC

  1. The Government of India funds ICMR.
  2. It comes under the Department of Health Services (DHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW).
  3. The headquarters of ICMR is in New Delhi.
  4. It is neither a statutory body nor a regulatory body.
  5. ICMR hosts Clinical Trials Registry – India (CTRI). It was established on 20th July 2007.
    • It is a free and online public record system for the registration of clinical trials being conducted in India.
    • Till 15th June 2009, the clinical trial registry was a voluntary measure; after which the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has made trial registration at CTRI mandatory.
    • Importance – It encourages registration of clinical trials before the enrolment of the first participant.
  6. It has been publishing the Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR) since 1913.
  7. ICMR’s National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) was established in 1918 as ‘Beri Beri Enquiry’ at the Pasteur Institute, Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.
    • Sir Robert McCarrison was the founder of the ‘Beri Beri’ enquiry unit now known as NIN.
  8. Union Health Minister of India presides over the governing body of ICMR.
  9. Prof. Balram Bhargava, secretary of DHS, is the Director-General of ICMR.
  10. There are 27 institutes/regional medical research centres under ICMR. The table providing the list of ICMR institutes is given below:
ICMR – Research Institutes/Centres
ICMR-National JALMA Institute for Leprosy & Other Mycobacterial Diseases ICMR-National Institute of Occupational Health, Ahmedabad ICMR-National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, Bengaluru
ICMR-Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Center, Bhopal ICMR-National Institute for Research in Environmental Health, Bhopal ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai
ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis, Chennai ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tribal Health, Jabalpur ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad
ICMR-National Animal Resource Facility for Biomedical Research, Hyderabad ICMR-National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata ICMR-National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Mumbai
ICMR-National Institute of Immunohaematology, Mumbai ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi ICMR-National Institute of Pathology, New Delhi
ICMR-National Institute of Medical Statistics, New Delhi ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research, Noida ICMR-Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna
ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre, Puducherry ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune ICMR-National AIDS Research Institute, Pune
ICMR-National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Belagavi ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre, Bhubaneswar ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre, NE Region, Dibrugarh
ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre, Gorakhpur ICMR- National Institute for Implementation Research on Non-Communicable Diseases, Jodhpur ICMR-Regional Medical Research Centre, Port Blair

Achievements of ICMR

  1. ICMR started its research on indigenous drugs in 1919.
  2. In 1937, ICMR published ‘Nutritive Value of Indian Foods and Planning of Satisfactory Diets’ for the first time in the country.
  3. In 1941, ICMR initiated the first-ever ‘Biomedical Research Fellowship’ aimed at nurturing health research in the country.
  4. In 1949, ICMR initiated the National Programme for the control of Filariasis.
  5. In 1955, the first nationwide tuberculosis survey was conducted by ICMR.
  6. ICMR discovered Kyasanur Forest Disease in the Sagar-Saroba district of Karnataka
    • ICMR has been conducting annual rounds of vaccination in the region since 1990.
  7. ICMR made home-based treatment of Tuberculosis known worldwide. In 1959, it demonstrated the success of TB home-based treatment which is as good as hospital-based treatment.
  8. ICMR, in 1967 discovered Chandipura Virus (The causal agent for human encephalitis.)
  9. In 1980, Human Hepatitis E was discovered.
  10. In 1984, ICMR compiled the first genetic atlas of the Indian tribes.
  11. In 2013, it launched a vaccine against Japanese encephalitis, “JENVAC.”
  12. ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research became the world’s 7th knowledge hub on smokeless tobacco of WHO-FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.)
  13. In 2017, it released India’s first comprehensive state-wise disease burden estimation.
  14. In 2018, Zika, Nipah and Canine Distemper Virus were successfully contained.
  15. In 2019, ICMR partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) and 10 nations to launch ‘RESEARCH’.
    • RESEARCH stands for Regional Enabler for South East Asia Research Collaboration.
    • The aim of the initiative is to combat emerging and reemerging infectious diseases in the region of Southeast Asia.
  16. Also in 2019, IMCR launched an initiative to fast track the elimination of Malaria, called ‘MERA’.
    • It stands for Malaria Elimination Research Alliance.
  17. In September 2019, The Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill was passed by the Indian Parliament. ICMR had provided an evidence report against e-cigarettes.
  18. To promote health research between India and Africa, India-Africa Health Sciences Collaborative Platform (IAHSP)) was launched.
  19. ICMR and COVID-19:
    • RT-PCR and ELISA were developed in 2019.
    • Covaxin has been developed.

Frequently Asked Questions on Indian Council of Medical Research


Q 1. What is the function of ICMR?

Ans. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is the apex body in the country, responsible for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.

Q 2. When was ICMR set up?

Ans. ICMR was established on November 15, 1911, by the name of Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) by Sir Harcourt Butler. It was renamed the Indian Council of Medical Research in the year 1949.

UPSC Preparation Links:

UPSC Notes Current Affairs List of International Organizations’ Reports
Constitutional, Statutory and Quasi-Judicial Bodies in India Science and Technology Notes for UPSC Previous Years Science and Technology Questions in UPSC Mains GS 3
UPSC Mains Syllabus Daily News Analysis for UPSC Important Acts in India


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