Govt announces new schemes for young scientists & researchers

The schemes primarily aim at early recognition and reward to young talent in the field of science


New Delhi: Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan has announced four schemes to promote young scientists and researchers in the country. The schemes primarily aim at early recognition and reward to young talent in the field of science.

“The schemes focus on youth to empower, recognize and motivate them,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said while announcing the new schemes.

The Minister said that in a bid to tap the potential of trained faculty in Universities, colleges and private academic institutions, 500 teachers will be assisted under the Teacher Associateship for Research Excellence (TARE) scheme. It will connect them to leading public funded institutions like IIT, IISc or national institutions like CSIR, preferably nearer to their place of work to pursue research. They will be paid Rs 5 lakh yearly, and a monthly out-of-pocket expense of Rs 5,000. This will be in addition to the salary from their existing employer.

The second scheme – Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship offers support to 100 PhD scholars for training in universities/laboratories abroad upto 12 months during their doctoral research. They would be given a monthly fellowship equivalent to US $ 2000, one-time contingency allowance of Rs 60,000/- to cover travel and visa fee.

The Distinguished Investigator Award offers a maximum of 100 fellowships to principal investigators of SERB/DST projects.  “This one-time career award will be judged on the basis of a completed project,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan. “This is aimed at giving early recognition and reward to young scientists, he added.”

The selected 100 researchers will be given a monthly fellowship of Rs 15,000/- for three years and an optional research grant, based on peer review of the project proposal submitted.

A scheme to encourage science writing seeks to tap the potential of over 20,000 PhD scholars in science to popularise and communicate their research outcome. Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research, AWSAR carries a monetary incentive of Rs 10,000/- each for 100 best entries in a year and a Certificate of Appreciation, besides getting the story published. Three leading stories from the selected 100 would be awarded Rs 1 lakh, Rs 50,000/- and Rs 25,000/- respectively.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said that these schemes will be notified and applications invited from across the country on February 1.

Teacher Associateship for Research Excellence (TARE) Scheme of SERB, DST aims to tap the latent potential of faculty working in state universities, colleges and private academic institutions who are well trained but have difficulty in pursuing their research due to varied reasons including lack of facilities, funding and guidance. This scheme facilitates mobility of such faculty members to carryout research in well-established public funded institution such as IITs, IISc, IISERS and other National Institutions (NITs, CSIR, ICAR, ICMR labs, etc) and Central Universities located preferably nearer to the institution where the faculty member is working. Up to 500 TAs will be supported under this scheme.

Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship of SERB has been instituted for enhancing the international mobility of Indian research students which has the potential to create a talented pool of globally trained manpower.  The scheme provides an opportunity for research students to gain exposure and access to top class research facilities in academia and labs across the world. This scheme offers opportunities for up to 100 PhD students admitted in the Indian institutions for gaining exposure and training in overseas universities / institutions of repute and areas of importance to country for period up to 12 months during their doctoral research. The selected fellows will be paid a monthly fellowship amount equivalent to US $ 2000, one-time Contingency / Preparatory allowances of Rs. 60,000/- to cover visa fee, airport transfer charges, medical insurance etc.

SERB Distinguished Investigator Award (DIA) has been initiated to recognize and reward Principal Investigators (PIs) of SERB/DST projects who have performed remarkably well. The scheme aims not only to reward the best PIs of completed projects but also to motivate the ongoing PIs to perform exceedingly well. This positive reinforcement strategy would effectively improve the productivity of the research undertaken and the overall efficiency of the research ecosystem. DIA is a one-time career award devised to specifically cater to the younger scientists who have not received any other prestigious awards or fellowships. The award carries a fellowship of Rs. 15,000/- p.m. and an optional research grant for three years, based on peer review of the project proposal submitted.

AWSAR (Augmenting Writing Skills for Articulating Research) of National Council of Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), DST has been initiated to encourage, empower and endow popular science writing through newspapers, magazines, blogs, social media, etc. by young PhD Scholars and Post-Doctoral Fellows during the course of their higher studies and research pursuits. As over 20,000 youth are awarded PhD in S&T every year in India, the scheme aims to tap this tremendous potential to popularize & communicate science and also to inculcate scientific temperament in the masses. AWSAR carries monetary incentive of Rs 10,000/- each for 100 best entries from PhD scholars in a year along with a Certificate of Appreciation besides getting the story published/projected in mass media. In addition, three leading stories from the selected hundred would also be awarded cash prize of Rs 1,00,000/-, Rs.50,000/- and Rs 25,000/- respectively. Further, twenty entries would be selected from articles submitted exclusively by Post-Doctoral Fellows relating to their line of Research for monetary incentive of Rs 10,000/- each and the most outstanding story to be given a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000/-.