PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) -Important Schemes and Funding Opportunities in India
Why do a PhD? Our nation is a land of extreme proportions. We have an array of zones where significant work is either pending or is in the top league among the global competitors. The youth of the country has the indisputable duty of contributing to the cause of the nation by excelling in their respective field of interest. Colleges are streamlined to narrow down the perspective of the students to pursue particular career objectives, be it to join industry, academia, create start-ups and other business ventures, pursue higher education in the form of graduate, Ph.D. or Postdoc etc. The truth of the situation is that more than a million young graduates are in the narrow race track, all at once chasing after common goals. No matter where we look, the air of competition is thick and ever expanding. The conventional approach of following “what has already been done” will only create narrow-mindedness, a very fatal condition where one misses the opportunity that is already next to their doorstep! A major proportion of the fresh college entrees and graduates are job oriented and prepares to secure one towards the end of their course curriculum, be it any core or non-core discipline. The basic requirement differs, for it can be either to earn a living or get into the work/research activities or maybe even both. Here is where the situation becomes complex yet very clear, where you have multiple options to get into a working community and earn your share.
One such platform is the opportunity to pursue the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the field of interest of the student. It is a commonly misplaced term among the students and is often underrated among their community. It is in fact not just a commitment of 4-5 years, per se, but a real-time working environment where fresh ideas can be conceived and cultivated efficiently by working with a professional population of experts from academia and industries to eventually deliver innovation to the national market. India is such a nation where plenty of resources are streamlined to support research and development activities of students, which covers all grounds of the youth community. They follow a rigid principle to:
Give incentives and opportunities to the underprivileged sections to support their dream of studying their subject of interest, both abroad and within.
Sponsors funding and other scholarships to bright students irrespective of backgrounds.
Create an interface between academic institutions and industries to facilitate the active transfer of technology and skills among the students.
Pursuing doctoral work has ceased to become a reality only for the richer sections of society anymore. From a picture of heavy expenditure to the reality of earning better pay scale and satisfaction than what normal jobs can offer, Ph.D. studies are slowly gaining favor and prominence among the youthful population. Though the process is gradual, with such productive measures enforced by the Central and State Govt., more and more opportunities are being laid barren to the work-driven population of the country. The doorway to such opportunities are to be utilized at the optimal moments and there are many to pick from. While it is a matter of surety that one will be placed suitably after the completion of a Ph.D. work, it is also a platform to explore and narrow down the appropriate work profile suitable for the student. Some of the major platforms and opportunities to undertake Ph.D. are as follows:
National Scholarships for academic institutions:
The accredited and deemed Universities of the nation offers a wide range of Ph.D. programs to nurture and implement novel ideas of the students. These institutions make it a point to propagate novel work and provide full support in terms of funding, fellowship, scholarship, grants, teaching assistantship, sponsorship, foreign exchange studies etc. Some of the most important schemes and funding opportunities are as below:
The scheme defined under PMRF is meant to target the population of students across the nation, with ideas and interest in contributing to the indigenous academic and industrial sector of the nation. The grants are given to support Ph.D. work in the premier institutions of the nation, namely the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), Indian Institute of Science (IISC), and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISERs). The targeted population is the fresh graduates from IITs, IISC, IISERs, National Institute of Technology (NITs), and Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIESTs), who have either completed:
Four-year B.Tech programme, or are in the final semester of Bachelors studies.
Who has completed or is in the final semester of five-year Integrated Masters or dual degree programme.
Completed or pursuing a 2-year Masters Programme.
PMRF bestows the highest paid fellowship among the available national platforms to an Indian Ph.D. student and is provided by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), which is further implemented by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). Close to 100 fellowships are allotted each year in the field of particular interest in the progress and advancement of Indian industries. The division of fellowship grants is as follows:
Amount of Rs.70,000 per month for the 1st and 2nd year of study.
An increment of Rs.5,000 leading to Rs.75,000 per month during the 3rd year.
Rs.80,000 per month for the 4th and 5th year.
As an added supplement, a full research support grant of Rs.2,00,000 per year is provided to the recipients of the fellowship for a period of 5 years, which covers all the expenditure pertaining to academic activities and travels. This scheme is highly constructive for an individual dedicated to the field of development, for it provides an active real-time opportunity to work with industry and develop products of value. It is with this university that the research support grant is shared. This platform will enrich the students with the necessary skills to contribute with effectiveness in their respective areas, without the fear of burden and monetary dependency. Towards the end of the program, the candidate will know which industry or academia will be better suitable to continue work.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Research Fellowships
TCS sponsored Research Scholar Program targets the Ph.D. students across the nation in the field of Computer Science and Engineering, Information Technology and Software Engineering, to develop and implement ideas without any strain from their environment. The mission aims to allow the right resource to the right targeted population, and also creates an interface between the academic and the TCS professionals. This is, in fact, a grant tie-up between the industry and educational institutions of the nation, wherein active skill transfer and student orientation are made possible. The scholarship grant aims to provide high-class working conditions, which includes exposure to state-of-art lab infrastructure, instrumentation facilities, professional group discussions etc. which will further flourish their research temperament. The grant will cover financial requirements, access to infrastructure, and other outreach opportunities to communicate and present the work. A one-time grant of Rs.1,00,000 is given to each student enrolled in the scheme, apart from which:
Scholarships are provided for 4 years of study.
Platform to work with TCS researcher and further skill development.
Funding for participation in international conferences abroad, and other travel expenditures.
Funding to participate in two national or international level conferences in India.
Such early exposure to the working field environment will give the students a great view of the big picture to put their minds in the right direction. Almost all the past recipients are employed either in Multinational companies or academic institutions, pursuing research in their past discoveries.
The link to get complete information about the scheme is given here.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has already come up with a great incentive to support Ph.D. students pursuing their work in the domain of Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM), and IT/IT Enabled Services (IT/ITES) sectors in the nation. It supports a total of 1500 Ph.D. candidates, which includes both full-time and part-time, and focuses on increasing the interface volume between academic institutions and industries involved in the field of innovative electronics research. This multi-tiered scheme provides research support of Rs.5,00,000 to each candidate for improving lab working conditions and other resource procurements. It also supports an additional 200 young faculty research fellowships in the fields described, with the better cause to develop and provide the best facilities available to the fresh faculty recruits.
Some of the important highlights of the scheme are:
Full-time candidates get a fellowship of Rs.31,500 per month for the 1st and 2nd year, which is increased to Rs.35,000 per month from 3rd to the 5th and final year. Whereas part-timers are granted a one-time incentive of Rs.2,50,000.
Contingency grants of about Rs.30,000 are allotted per year to procure consumables and other materials.
Travel allowance for participating in two international conferences (a maximum of Rs.50,000).
Towards the end of the program, the students will be enriched with the exemplary profile to join the institution of their interest.
International Ph.D. programs sponsored by India
Bilateral Ph.D. integrated programs:
The Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC) has been brought into full force by the govt. of India, to increase global partnerships in the field of research and innovation among the top Indian Universities and the top foreign Universities. This opportunity will give the Indian students a novel platform to experience the work culture and research focus of the contemporary world, which will open the door to professional employment and research. This is a part of the bilateral ties our nation has and is currently building, with the countries to expose students to new career opportunities and grant them the funds to execute their ideas. The scheme supports 600 joint collaborative works between 100 Indian accredited institutions for over 2 years with more than 23 different countries, with a grand total of Rs.4,18,00,00,000. The main participating countries are USA, UK, Germany, Australia, France, Canada, Italy, China & Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Russia, Israel, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Norway, Portugal, Austria, Taiwan, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, and Finland. A mutual research report is submitted by the home institution and the participating foreign institution, where the grant sanctioned follows:
Under Rs.50,00,000 – 300 projects
Under Rs.75,00,000 – 200 projects
Under Rs.1,00,00,000 – 100 projects
This is a great platform to immerse oneself in streaming across interdisciplinary areas and understanding the scope of research and innovation available and necessary to the field of interest. It will also provide them the opportunity to work with multiple communities and get the necessary recommendation to join the sector of greater inclination.
Industry-sponsored Ph.D. programmes:
If you think that you can only pursue higher education fresh out of college alone, then you are wrong there too! The many industrial giants of our nation, namely: Sun Pharma, TCS, etc. and many other bodies, which serves the better interest of its employees, promotes such constructive activities to increase the overall aptitude of its employee to the benefit of the institution. Such ventures are fully funded by the organization and expect the participants to return back after a fixed amount of time to put to the test the skills learned during the complete period of the program. Such activities engross the candidates in solving the shortcomings of the work undertaken in the home country and will spontaneously make them more creative and advanced in dealing with the state-of-art technologies of the contemporary world, one which any academia or industry is deeply interested in.
As far as academicians are concerned, those who have secured a Ph.D. degree from the top 500 foreign institutions of the globe is recruited directly into the Indian premier institutions as Assistant Professors in the field of Arts, Commerce, Humanities, Education, Law, Social Sciences, Science, Languages, Library Science, Physical Education, Journalism, and Mass Communication.
To prevent brain drain and promote developmental growth in the home country, the Central Govt. has joined forces with the academic institutions to increase the scale of such partnerships, independent grants, and collaborative works. For future research students and employees, the old picture of undertaking a Ph.D. is slowly changing and in its place, faith in the opportunities offered is being instilled, one which will eventually define their career objective with better clarity and facility.