CHENNAI: Union environment Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday launched the India Science and Research Fellowship-2018 (ISRF) scheme, which is a fully paid fellowship for researchers, scientists and academicians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It will help them undertake research and development work of their choice at any premier research and academic institution in India for a period from three to 6 months.
The announcement was made during the Science and Technology Minister’s Conclave at IIT- Madras, which was attended by Abdul Latif Roshan, Minister of Higher Education, Afghanistan and Yeafesh Osman, Minister of Science and Technology, Bangladesh.
Officials said 70 fellowships will be offered annually and `5 crore has been earmarked for the purpose. This apart, Indian scientists from top institutes like Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Earth Sciences and India Meteorological Department will be training researchers from neighbouring countries.
A total of 200 travel slots every year were announced for researchers from these countries to be supported by Department of Science and Technology to enable them to make the best use of these advanced training programs offered by India. This would help in capacity-building and will also foster research networks with Indian scientific institutions.
“India is engaged in active R&D cooperation with more than 44 countries. As part of the foreign policy initiatives of the present government like “Neighbours First”, “Act East”, and “India-Africa Partnership”, India has now embarked upon a visible path of developmental diplomacy using science, technology and innovation that will not only help towards capacity-building in R&D, but also address the needs of the people through the application of science, technology and innovation,” Harsh Vardhan said.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, who is also the Higher Education Minister, sent the message that Nepal is willing to join the collaborative platform with India in research and higher education cooperation.
Both Afghan and Bangaladesh ministers expressed their gratitude to India for helping their countries to achieve self-sufficiency. Abdul Latif Roshan pointed to India’s role in rebuilding the war-torn nation, by constructing 52 schools and offering scholarships for students. Yeafesh Osman said that Bangladesh is hoping to achieve their goals of Vision 2021, which marks the 50th year of independence for the country.