‘Funding scheme for post-doctoral fellows is limited in India,’ says IISER Director

New Delhi, Jan 28: Jayant Udgaonkar, the Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune, has said that the funding scheme for post-doctoral fellows in India is not sufficient keeping in mind the country’s need. He further said that the government has taken the issue collectively.

“In India, the funding scheme for post-doctoral fellows is limited and we are trying to pursue the matter with the government. These fellows work closely with faculties at research labs and institutions. Some of the top quality research contributions in the country are made by these post-doctoral fellows,” Udgaonkar has been quoted as saying to a daily national.

Partnership with industries can also benefit researchers, opines Director

The senior scientist informed that the government is seriously considering the matter pertaining to the research funding for students and post-doctoral fellows. He also suggested that partnership with industries can also assist post-doctoral researchers, who can be recruited on problem-based projects, along with the government support.

“In western countries, post-doctoral fellows are the ones who mainly drive research forward. Along with small funding, it is difficult for the post-doctoral fellows to get the right jobs. It would be welcomed if the industry can fund projects on specific problems they need solutions for. This can also be an opportunity for fellows to bag jobs with the same companies,” the Director told a news daily.

Regarding the continuing matter of the increase in stipends of PhD students, the IISER Director shared that the institute does not have this much capacity but the final decision will be taken by the government.

“The stipends must be competitive enough in comparison to what a parallel job would pay, which the students would consider alternatively. The effort always remains to attract bright students into pursuing academic research as a career,” he has been quoted.

PhD students demand 80% rise in stipend

A hike of 80 per cent in the stipends has been demanded by the students which are currently Rs 25,000 and Rs 28,000 a month for Junior Research Fellow (JRF) and Senior Research Fellow (SRF), respectively. To get their demands fulfilled, the young researchers have organised sporadic protests, candle-light marches and strikes at their respective institutes, including IISER, Pune.

Less number of fellowships under humanities faculty is another issue that has been brought before the government by academicians.