Inspire Awards

Inspire Awards – MANAK is an initiative to foster a culture of innovation and creative thinking amongst school students to address societal needs through Science and Technology by targeting one million original ideas/innovations rooted in science and societal applications.

Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge), Inspire Awards – MANAK is jointly implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF). 

This article will briefly discuss Inspire Awards in the context of the IAS Exam.

This topic is useful for GS Paper-II of the UPSC Syllabus.

The candidates can read more relevant information from the links provided below:


  • The Department of Science and Technology(DST), Government of India has been implementing the INSPIRE Award scheme since 2009-10. 
  • The present INSPIRE Awards – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge) scheme, executed by DST and National Innovation Foundation-India (NIF), is aligned with the action plan for the “Start-up India” initiative launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. 

Objectives of INSPIRE Awards

  • INSPIRE Awards – MANAK is aimed to target a million innovative ideas of the school students.
  • To attract talented young students to study Science and pursue a career in Research
  • To promote creative thinking and foster a culture of innovation among young minds.

Features of Inspire Awards

  • Under this scheme, as approved for the 11th Five-Year Plan, 2 students were eligible from each school of the country (from class 6th to 10th) during the Five-Year Plan period for an INSPIRE Award of Rs. 5000 each for preparing a science project/model. 
  • The goal of Inspire Awards is to attract talent, have them exposed to science at an early age (10-15 years or Standard 6-10) and help towards building a critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the science and technology system and increase the research and development base.
  • It is targeting one million original technological ideas/ innovations rooted in science and societal applications that solve daily life problems. 
  • Individual students (not groups) of class 6 to 10 (age 10-15 years) from all recognised schools, government or private, aided or unaided, from any National or State Education Board, may submit their original and innovative ideas (in any one of the 22 languages from the 8th schedule of the Constitution) to their school.
  • Any student irrespective of their educational board (national and state) can participate in the INSPIRE Awards – MANAK scheme.

Different Stages – INSPIRE Awards

  • INSPIRE Award Warrant was issued directly in the name of the selected student and sent to him/her through State/school authorities.
  • Award amount includes the cost of making a science project/model as well as the cost of bringing the project/model to a District level Centre for Exhibition/Display Competition
  • All Awardees under the scheme are required to participate in the District Level Exhibition and Project Competition (DLEPC). 
  • The top One Lakh ideas will be shot listed and award money of Ten Thousand Rupees will be transferred to each student for participation at the district level exhibition.
  • The best 5 to 10 per cent entries from the district are selected for participation in a State Level Exhibition and Project Competition (SLEPC). 
  • Best 5 per cent entries from the State/UT, subject to a minimum of 5, are selected to participate at the National Level Exhibition and Project Competition (NLEPC)
  • At all levels, the projects are evaluated by a Jury of experts. 
  • The entire cost of organising exhibitions at the district, state and national levels is borne by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
  • The next level is showcasing 1,000 best ideas/innovations at National Level Exhibition & Project Competition (NLEPC) and shortlisting of top 60 prototypes/innovations for national awards and future direction.
  • Finally, after consideration of top 60 ideas by NIF for product/process development and connecting them with other schemes of NIF/DST and displaying top innovations at the annual Festival of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (FINE).
  • The selection criteria will be based on the novelty, creativity and originality of the ideas/innovations submitted by the students. 
  • DST/NIF will ensure that there is a due representation of girl students and SC/STs.

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Importance of Innovation 

  • Innovation is necessary not only to maintain competitive advantage but for the growth and development of institutions, industries and countries in a global world. 
  • Innovation improves products, processes and services, and thereby, the quality of life of people.
  • Recognising the role of innovation in governance, the Government of India had declared 2010-20 as the “Decade of lnnovation”.


  • Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) is a national programme implemented by the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India for the attraction of talent amongst the students to study Science and pursue a career with research.
  • INSPIRE scheme has 3 components:
    • Scheme for early attraction of talents for Science (SEATs), which has two sub-components:
      • INSPIRE Award of Rs. 5000/- and 
      • Mentorship through global Science leaders at a science camp;
    • Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE) at the rate of Rs. 80, 000 for continuing education at B.Sc. and M.Sc. levels and
    • Assured Opportunity for Research Career (AORC) for young researchers, which also has two sub-components:
      • INSPIRE Fellowship and 
      • INSPIRE Faculty.
  • Hence, the INSPIRE programme has 5 sub-schemes/components.
  • Implementation of INSPIRE Scheme – While the first component of the Scheme i.e. INSPIRE Award is being implemented centrally through the States / UTs, the other components of the Scheme are being implemented centrally by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) through the concerned academic/research institutes & Universities etc.
  • The scheme was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 13th December 2008 and was implemented in 2009-10.
  • The scheme covers students in the age group of 10-32 years in five different components.

To read more about the Important Government Schemes & Initiatives, check the linked article. 

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