Government has taken several measures to encourage young scientists to undertake research work. The schemes / programmes are designed to identify promising young researchers with innovative ideas and provide them with training and research opportunities in niche areas of basic science and engineering. Some of the notable programmes of the Ministry targeted at young scientists include: Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), National Postdoctoral Fellowship (N-PDF), Early Career Research Award (ECRA), Research Associateship, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Fellowship Schemes etc. These schemes provide a platform for young scientists to develop as independent researchers; and thereby elevating the S&T landscape of the country.
Ease of funding, speed of delivery, attractive fellowships etc. are some of the characteristics of the young scientist research programmes. The funds allocated/released exclusively for young scientist research programmes during 2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17 and the current year by the Ministry of Science and Technology are Rs. 807.6 crore, Rs. 1083 crore, Rs. 1322.9 crore and Rs. 248.4 crore (first quarter of FY 2017-18) respectively.
The required age group for obtaining benefit from the following popular young scientist schemes are: upper age limit of 35 years with relaxation of five years to applicants belonging to SC/ST/OBC/Physically Challenged/Women categories for N-PDF; upper age limit of 37 years with relaxation of three years to applicants belonging to SC/ST/OBC/Physically Challenged/Women categories for ECRA; upper age limit of 35 years for CSIR Fellowship Schemes and upper age limit of 32 years with relaxation of three years to applicants belonging to SC/ST categories for INSPIRE Faculty Scheme. A number of quality publications in high impact journals and patents have emanated from the Young Scientist’s projects. The schemes have helped many young researchers in the progress of their career in S&T, got appointment in academic and research institutions and received recognitions in the form of awards, fellowship in science and engineering academies.
CSIR provides Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Fellowship to certain top ranking JRF- National Eligibility Test (NET) qualified candidates to nurture the budding scientific talent and to nourish the objective of pursuit of scientific research. Thematic Fellowship programmes in Solar Energy, Building Energy Efficiency Higher & Advanced Network, Bioenergy and Water Research have been initiated by DST to support young faculty and research scholars for conducting research in US R&D and academic institutions.
This information was given by Minister of State for Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences Shri Y.S.Chowdary in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.