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9 Mar, 2013

India Lists Funding Efforts to Attract Its Overseas Scientists Back


Ministry of Science & Technology, 07-March, 2013 – The Ministry of Science and Technology is implementing several initiatives, including fellowships, to attract Indian scientists who have settled in various parts of the world for pursuing scientific research in India in their respective field of expertise as well as in home country research programs. Details are as follows:

A. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has been implementing two schemes to encourage researchers and scientists working abroad to find work opportunities in India:

(i) “Ramanujan Fellowships” to attract brilliant scientists and engineers from all over the world to take up scientific research positions in India. The Ramanujan Fellows can work in any of the scientific institutions and universities in the country and they are eligible for receiving regular research grants through the extramural funding schemes of various S&T agencies of the Government of India. The duration of Ramanujan Fellowship is five years. The value of the fellowship is Rs.75,000/- per month for five years. Each Fellow, in addition, receives a Research Grant of Rs.5 lakh per annum. Since inception, 184 Indian origin scientists working abroad have been offered this “Fellowship”.

(ii) “Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE)” Faculty Award under ‘Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC)’ scheme initiated during the year 2011-12, provides opportunity to the scientists within 32 years of age and who have completed their doctoral research from any recognized university/ academic institution in the world. Each “INSPIRE Faculty Awardee” receives a consolidated amount equivalent to the scale of the Assistant Professor of an IIT as Fellowship amount with Rs.7 lakh per year as Research Grant for 5 years. Since inception, 33 candidates of Indian origin including NRIs having PhD degrees have been selected for award so far.

B. The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has been implementing three schemes to encourage researchers and scientists working abroad to find work opportunities in India:

(i) Wellcome-DBT India Alliance: Biomedical Research Fellowship Career Programme: DBT has entered into an alliance with Wellcome Trust (WT) to launch a three-tier fellowship programme on biomedical research at post-doctoral level. The programme has been established since September 2009 and functions as the Wellcome-Trust DBT Indian Alliance. The Department of Biotechnology and the Wellcome Trust each have committed Pounds Sterling 8 million per year, for a period of ten years. The fellowship funding programme is established to attract a strong cohort of qualified scientists working abroad to seek career opportunities in India. So far 64 fellowship awards have been granted of which 30 have been from the best overseas laboratories and are now located at various Indian institutes.

(ii) Ramalingaswamy Re-entry Fellowship: The scheme was initiated in 2006 by DBT for Indian scientists who are working in overseas institutions/universities and would like to return to India to pursue their research interests. The fellowship is given for a period of five years initially and could also be considered for another term based on a fresh appraisal depending upon the progress made. Under the scheme each awardee receives a fellowship amount of Rs 75,000 per month (consolidated), House Rent Allowance Rs 7,500 pm and research/ contingency grant of Rs 5 lakhs per year. From this year onwards (2012-13) the research/contingency grant has been increased from Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs for first year, Rs 7.5 lakhs for 2nd year and Rs 5 lakhs third year. So far 147 scientists have been selected in the last five batches and 102 fellows from overseas laboratories have been relocated to various Indian host institutes.

This year (2012-13) 136 applications has been received and are being reviewed for section of up to 50 candidates.

(iii)Young Investigator Meet (YIM): It is organized every year in India and overseas to create awareness amongst scientists working in overseas laboratories of the various job opportunities available in India. So far – in the past 4 years, 45 YIM attendees have secured faculty positions at various labs in India, 20 of these have been awarded different Indian fellowships i.e., DBT-Wellcome Trust, Ramanujan Fellowship, Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowships.

C. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has conceptualized and made operational a scheme to attract scientists/technologists of Indian origin (STIOs), who are given a designation of “Outstanding Scientists, STIO”. They are appointed at an identified CSIR laboratory so as to nurture a research field in their area of expertise.

Government is focusing on devising more opportunities for making fullest use of Indian scientific talent to work in Indian academia & scientific research institutions and laboratories. The Department of Biotechnology has started three major new science clusters in the National Capital Region (NCR), Mohali and Bangalore; and have expanded its institutional and other programs to provide excellent opportunities and working environment to attract he best Indian scientists working abroad to work in India.

The Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Mr S. Jaipal Reddy gave this information in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha today.