Technology

Now, 75 Fantastic Indian Diaspora Scientists Will Return To India.

Under a new fellowship scheme, 75 Indian diaspora scientists, mostly from the United States and Canada, will return to India. This brain-gain initiative aims to bring back talented individuals who have acquired expertise abroad, contributing to India’s scientific development.

WFY BUREAU CANADA: The Indian government launched a new fellowship scheme, Vaibhav, in February and March to address the issue of brain drain by encouraging approximately 75 Indian diaspora scientists to return to India within the next three years. The Indian government has allocated a substantial investment of approximately Rs 80 crore to support scientists in various science and technology projects.

In April of this year, Indian institutions will welcome a group of 22 fellows. As part of a broader effort to harness the knowledge of Indian-origin scientists residing overseas, these individuals are contributing to the advancement of research in crucial fields.

The fellowship welcomes applicants from a wide range of disciplines within Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM). Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and data science have emerged as the most captivating fields. Many of the applicants are scientists hailing from the United States and Canada, eager to embark on projects focused on AI and machine learning within Indian institutes.

The Vaibhav scheme requires scientists to spend one to two months annually in India for a maximum of three years. The Vaibhav scheme will award each recipient a grant of Rs 4 lakh per year ($4,800). The parent institutes will cover their international travel to India once a year, and participants will receive furnished accommodation for two months, Rs 1 lakh per year for research expenses in India, and domestic travel within the country.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), according to Dr. Charu Agarwal, received approximately 302 proposals during the first call last year. 22 of the numerous proposals have made it to the shortlist, and award letters will shortly notify the recipients of the awards. Dr. Agarwal stated, “We expect the selected fellows to join their respective Indian institutes after April.”

Furthermore, the programme provides financial assistance of up to Rs 5 lakh per year to the institutions that will host the fellows for a three-year period. Scientists typically spend two months in India each year, while the hosting institutes are responsible for completing the projects within a three-year timeframe. They must also maintain online communication with the fellows for the rest of the year.

Returning scientists have shown a keen interest in the emerging fields of AI and ML. During the selection process, the host institute carefully reviews research proposals submitted for potential collaboration with fellows. The institutes distribute the released funds to their fellows.

Dr. Agarwal highlighted the advantages of the initiative, emphasising the positive outcomes for Indian scientists and those who are coming back from overseas. Indian scientists living abroad have the opportunity to work together with local researchers, exchange their knowledge and skills, and establish connections within the research community, all while making valuable contributions to their home country.

The fellowship is in line with the government’s scientific missions, including the National Quantum Mission, the National Supercomputing Mission, and the Deep Ocean Mission. We encourage scientists from the diaspora to participate in projects aligned with these missions, aiming to bolster them and cultivate the necessary talent for the future.

The ministry intends to select up to 75 scientists from various countries around the world, taking into account their research proposals that have the potential to benefit Indian researchers. The initial call yielded a total of 302 proposals. We selected 22 proposals from this group, which encompassed a diverse range of 18 different verticals. We made the second call in January and scheduled the application review for after March 15.

Applicants from various countries, such as the US, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Singapore, Japan, and the UK, participated in the process. Most of the applicants were scientists from the US and Canada who were interested in collaborating with institutes in India.

The proposals underwent evaluation by an Expert Review Committee consisting of members from various ministries, such as earth sciences, new and renewable energy, health, electronics, and IT. After careful consideration, a committee narrowed down the proposals. The fellowship was available to individuals not currently residing in India, including non-resident Indians (NRIs), persons of Indian origin (POIs), and overseas citizens of India (OCIs) currently employed abroad.

The Indian government’s Vaibhav fellowship scheme is a noteworthy initiative that aims to harness the knowledge and skills of Indian-origin scientists currently based overseas. It creates an atmosphere of collaboration for research, which can result in significant advancements in diverse scientific and technological domains. This benefits not only Indian institutions but also the global scientific community.

The Vaibhav fellowship scheme represents a significant initiative by the Indian government to cultivate a research culture that promotes innovation and development. This effort aims to not only advance India’s scientific and technological progress but also make a positive impact on the global stage. India’s efforts on such initiatives are further solidifying its status as a centre for scientific excellence and innovation.

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