M A I N   N E W S

Govt plans to bring scientists back home
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, October 30
In an effort to tap potential and boost research, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has proposed a “start-up grant” for Indian scientists working abroad who are willing to return home to pursue scientific research in India.

“Indian scientists working abroad who take up a position in any publicly funded research institute here would be eligible for this grant,” DST Secretary, Dr T Ramasami, told The Tribune here today. “We are considering setting up about a thousand positions under this category, where for instance, a returning scientist could be sanctioned a grant of Rs 50 lakh for three years or so,” he added.

This is among several ventures being planned by the department to encourage senior Indian scientists to return and also to ensure that their requirements are met. Dr Ramasami, who was here to deliver the foundation day lecture at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), said globally people are now looking at India as it is doing reasonably well in the scientific sector and with things changing, it is the ideal time to come back.

“During a recent lecture at a gathering of about 400 Indian scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, I received 330 resumes of people who were interested in returning to India,” he claimed.

The DST is also mulling schemes to tap the potential of overseas Indian medical fraternity through fellowships, with about 1,000 positions planned for doctors and another 250 at the post graduate level.

On DST’s INSPIRE (Innovation in Science and Pursuit for Inspired Research) programme, Dr Ramasami said a new phase of the scheme was being launched this year where Ph.D candidates with strong credentials and capability in research will be offered faculty positions equivalent to the status of an assistant professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

The INSPIRE programme was launched to attract talent to science by tapping the student community at an early age and thus build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening scientific and research base. The first phase of the programme is targeted at students of the age group of 10-15 years.

The programme does not rely on competitive exams for identification of talent at any level but invites students for falling in the top 1 per cent of any school board examination results, for awards, scholarships and academic programmes. For the last phase involving Ph.D. candidates, the DST has received about 500 applications so far, out of which 130 have been short-listed.





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