New Delhi: In a bid to prevent brain drain, the government has embarked upon a scheme to fund pure science scholars, who have completed their PhDs, to enable them continue their post-doctoral research in India. According to Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, the scholars would be paid Rs 50,000 per month for the period of three years and would also be given a basic grant of Rs 7 lakhs per year for conducting research.
The National Post Doctoral Fellowship was launched a month ago and would fund around 1000 scholars this year. Applications have also been invited for the same, he said. "We have found that the scholars are more vulnerable to go abroad after their PhD degree because this is the time they don't get full-time employment since many institutes ask for a post-doctoral degree. There are many universities and institutes abroad that offer the PhDs graduates with post-doctoral opportunities. This is why we have embarked upon this scheme," Sharma said.
"Once they get a post-doctoral fellowship in India for three-years, they can continue with their research and get prepared for a job in Indian institutes and universities. Once they bag a job, the chances of their going abroad is less," he said.
Incidentally, the Ministry of Science and Technology does not have a data of how many research scholars have left India and are currently working abroad. "There are two reasons behind it. It is difficult to track the students who leave India for studies at different levels (say, under-graduate, graduate and post-graduate).
More importantly, there is also no tracking of students coming back. "Secondly, neither the Ministry of Home Affairs or the Ministry of External Affairs have maintained data related to this," said a senior ministry official. Sharma said for bagging this fellowship the scholar has to send a research proposal. It is also mandatory that the university/ institute in which he wants to do research has to accept the proposal.