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Decoding key features of INSPIRE fellowship programmes sponsored by Department of Science & Technology

By   /  February 9, 2017  /  Comments Off on Decoding key features of INSPIRE fellowship programmes sponsored by Department of Science & Technology

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New Delhi: Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), one of the flagship schemes for nurturing talents in the science and technology field, is sponsored and managed by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).  This innovative programme aims at building critical resource pool for strengthening and expanding the Science & Technology system in India.

The most significant feature of the programme is that it does not conduct any competitive exams for selecting talent at any level. The entire programme believes in and relies on the efficacy of the existing educational structure for identification of talent.

History: The government of India has approved the INSPIRE Scheme in November 2008 at a total cost of about Rs 1979.25 crores in the 11th Plan Period and the programme was launched on 13 December 2008. The programme is continuing in the 12 Plan period at a budgetary allocation of Rs. 2,200 crores.

Various Fellowship Schemes under its umbrella: Under the INSPIRE programme, there are multiple scholarship and research fellowship schemes targeted at different education and experience levels.  Broadly, INSPIRE has three components: Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent  (SEATS), (ii) Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE) and (iii) Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC).

Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS): Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS) has two components: INSPIRE Award and INSPIRE Internship. The SEAT Award targets school students of the age group 10-15 years, ranging from Class VI to Class X standards, to provide INSPIRE Award of Rs 5000. The scheme also arranges summer camps for about 50,000 science students of Class XI with global leaders in science to experience the joy of innovations on an annual basis through INSPIRE Internship.

Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE): SHE aims at nurturing talented youth to undertake higher education in science intensive programmes, by providing scholarships and mentorship. The scheme offers Rs10,000 Scholarship every year at Rs 0.80 lakh per year for the talented students in the age group 17-22 years, for undertaking Bachelor and Masters level education in Basic and Natural sciences. The main feature of the scheme is the mentorship support provided to every scholar.

Students with aggregate marks within top 1% of their Class XII examination of any State/ Central Board in India are eligible. In addition, the student must be pursuing courses in Natural and Basic Sciences at the BSc, BS, and Int.MSc/MS level. Those students who have secured ranks in the JEE of IIT, AIPMT (within top 10000 ranks), and are presently pursuing Natural and Basic Science courses in India at the BSc, BS, Int.MSc/MS level are also eligible for this scheme.

Also, students pursuing Integrated MS courses at IISERs, NISER and Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Basic Sciences, Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY), National Talent Search Examination (NTSE), Jagadish Bose National Science Talent Search (JBNSTS) scholars and International Olympiad medalists pursuing Bachelor/ Master level courses in Natural Sciences are eligible to apply the SHE scheme.

Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC):  INSPIRE programme’s AORC scheme targets students and candidates in research degree level education while it aims to attract and nourish talented young scientific human resource for strengthening the R&D foundation and base.

It has two sub-components: INSPIRE Fellowship and INSPIRE Faculty Scheme. The INSPIRE Fellowship (age group of 22-27 years), it offers 1000 fellowships every year, for carrying out doctoral degree in both basic and applied sciences including engineering and medicine.

INSPIRE Fellowship is offered to candidates who are pursuing Doctoral Degree courses in basic and applied sciences including engineering and medicine. The scheme is offered to an INSPIRE Scholar who has secured minimum 65% marks or 6.5 CGPA (in 10 point scale) in aggregate at MSc or Integrated MS/ MSc Course.

INSPIRE Fellowship is also offered to First Rank holders in Post Graduate Degrees in Basic & Applied Sciences or Graduate Degree in Engineering Sciences/ Medical Sciences/ Pharmaceutical Sciences/ Agricultural Sciences/ Veterinary Sciences of any recognized Indian University or Institute/ Statutory Body in India, which is eligible for admission to the PhD Program in any recognized University/ academic Institutions in the country.

The INSPIRE Faculty Scheme targets candidates those are pursuing post- doctoral researches. It offers assured opportunity every year for 1000 post- doctoral researchers in the age group of 27-32 years, through contractual and tenure track positions for 5 years in both basic and applied sciences area.

Indian citizens and people of Indian origin including NRI/PIO status with PhD (in science, mathematics, engineering, pharmacy, medicine, and agriculture related subjects) from any recognized university in the world are eligible to apply for INSPIRE Faculty Scheme.  Those who have submitted their PhD Theses and are awaiting award of the degree are also eligible. However, the award will be conveyed only after confirmation of the awarding the PhD degree.

The DST calls for applications two times in a year:  January and July.  The January – June 2017 session INSPIRE Faculty Award Scheme is open now while the closing date for submission of application is 31 May 2017.

To read the SkillOutlook’s story on INSPIRE Faculty Award scheme January – June 2017 session, the visitor can click here: Department of Science and Technology invites applications from eligible PhD degree holders for INSPIRE Faculty Award scheme .

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