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Common single application for all scientific fellowships, grants & scholarships proposed

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Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh presides over a high - level joint meeting of all the Science Ministries and Science Departments

The Federal Minister of State for Science, Technology, Earth Sciences, Atomic Energy and Space, chaired by a high-level meeting of all Secretaries of Ministries and Departments of Science, proposed one common application for all fellowships, grants and scholarships.

Accordingly, a committee was formed to streamline fellowships and research grants.

Streamlining scholarships and research grants will not only save cost and time, but will also provide a level playing field for everyone and help achieve “science education ease” for students and scholars, Singh said Wednesday at the meeting attended by the council. Secretary of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Chairman of the Committee on Conservation, Shekhar Mandi; Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, M. Ravichandran; Secretary of Department of Science and Technology (DST), S. Chandrasekhar and Secretary of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Rajesh Gokhal along with senior officials.

The Union Minister reported that there are currently a number of schemes under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) that offer scholarship or fellowship to students and researchers at various levels (School, UG, PG, Ph. .D, Post-doc, RA or re-entry from abroad). For example, CSIR and DBT each conduct a separate examination for Junior Research Fellowship and similarly, DST, DBT, and CSIR have schemes for postdocs or research associates and return from abroad.

Jitendra Singh

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However, all of these departments have separate announcements and interview or selection processes and thus students or researchers have to apply in different portals in different formats and face multiple exams or interviews which lead to hardship among students.

A statement from the Ministry of Science and Technology stated that this situation not only takes a long time for students, but also that a lot of time and resources are allocated in the selection process for the disbursement of grants by funding agencies.

Realizing the hardship that students face, Jitendra Singh came up with the idea of ​​creating a single web interface to facilitate all scholarships and fellowships under MoST and MoES. The goal is to make the diagrams student-centered and to simplify the processes.

He said that once implemented, students do not need to submit multiple applications and different portals as the four departments will combine all scholarship or fellowship plans into one portal.

The union minister added that steps such as streamlining processes and achieving standardization, providing a single point of contact for students or researchers, adopting a fast process and timely issuance of fellowships, eliminating duplication, synergies in process and plans, and minimizing transaction costs would be the main components of single window scholarship opportunities and fellowships.

Jitendra Singh said this step has been taken as a number of complaints are received about delays in issuing penalties and issuing fellowships or research grants to scholars and students. Furthermore, each department has its own system and mechanism for approving and monitoring the award of this fellowship.

The Research Fellowships and Grants Streamlining Committee will be chaired by Shekhar Mandi and the Trustees of DST, DBT and MoES will be members of it. Two senior scientists will also be members.

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