Presiding over a high-level meeting of all trustees Science Ministries and Departments Jitendra Singh, Federal Minister of State for Science, Technology, Earth Sciences, Atomic Energy and Space, 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 of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, m. ravishandran; Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), S Chandrasekhar and Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Rajesh Gokhale along with other senior officials.
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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) offering scholarship or fellowship to students and researchers at various levels (School, UG, PG, PhD, Postdoctoral, RA or re-entry from the outside). For example, CSIR and DBT conduct separate examinations for Junior Research Fellowship and similarly, DST, DBT, and CSIR have schemes for a postdoctoral or research partnership and return from abroad.
However, all of these departments have separate advertisements and interviews or selections, thus students or researchers have to apply in different portals in different formats and face multiple exams or interviews that are allegedly causing them problems.
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.
Jitendra Singh added that 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.
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 reducing transaction costs would be the main components of the single window opportunity for scholarships and fellowships.
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.