The funding scheme for post-doctoral fellows in the country is not adequate as per the country’s need, said JayantUdgaonkar, Director, Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune. The matter has been collectively taken up with the government, said the senior scientist.
“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,” said Udgaonkar.
The overall matter regarding research funding for students and post-doctoral fellows is under serious consideration by the government, he said. Along with government support, partnership with industries can benefit post-doctoral researchers, who can be hired on problem-based projects, suggested the director.
“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,” he added.
“The stipends must be competitive enough in comparison to 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 said.
Students have demanded a hike in their stipend by 80 per cent from the current stipends that stand at Rs 25,000 and Rs 28,000 a month for Junior Research Fellow (JRF) and Senior Research Fellow (SRF), respectively. There have been sporadic protests, candle-light marches and strikes organised by young researchers at their respective institutes, including IISER, Pune, for the demand.
Another matter brought before the government by academicians is the few numbers of fellowships under humanities faculty.