The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world.
As early as in 1911, the Government of India set up the Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) with the specific objective of sponsoring and coordinating medical research in the country. After independence, several important changes were made in the organisation and the activities of the IRFA. It was redesignated in 1949 as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) with considerably expanded scope of functions.The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
The Council's research priorities coincide with the National health priorities such as control and management of communicable diseases, fertility control, maternal and child health, control of nutritional disorders, developing alternative strategies for health care delivery, containment within safety limits of environmental and occupational health problems; research on major non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, blindness, diabetes and other metabolic and haematological disorders; mental health research and drug research (including traditional remedies). All these efforts are undertaken with a view to reduce the total burden of disease and to promote health and well-being of the population.
The Governing Body of the Council is presided over by the Union Health Minister. It is assisted in scientific and technical matters by a Scientific Advisory Board comprising eminent experts in different biomedical disciplines. The Board, in its turn, is assisted by a series of Scientific Advisory Groups, Scientific Advidsory Committees, Expert Groups, Task Forces, Steering Committees etc. which evaluate and moniter different research activities of the Council (chart).
The Council promotes biomedical research in the country through intramural as well as extramural research. Over the decades, the base of extramural research and also its strategies have been expanded by the Council.