A science and technology graduate from any higher education institute in the country, who has secured a minimum 8.0 CGPA (cumulative grade point average) in his BTech, will be eligible to apply for the Prime Minister Research Fellowship (PMRF) from 2019.
Students, who are in the final year of their four-year B Tech programme, as well as those pursuing M Tech from any university or engineering college after clearing the GATE (graduate aptitude test in engineering), can also join the race.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry will open the process for registration of students in February 2019 for selection of the fellows under the scheme.
Students to be awarded with the PMRF will be enrolled to PhD programmes at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER).
They will have to conduct research in various cutting edge science and technology domains at these premier technical institutes “with focus on national priorities.”
“The PMRF selections (to be announced in May 2019) will be open for all the eligible students from the recognized universities and the institutes of science and technology in lndia from next year,” an official said.
The central government, which rolled out PMRF earlier this year only for the students of the premier centrally-funded technical institutions like IITs, IISERs and IISc, recently decided to open the scheme for meritorious science and technology students of all higher education institutions in view of "the growing demand" from the students community.
The PMRF turned out to be a popular scheme among the students, within a few months after its launch in February, as it provides for the award of highest amount of research grants offered under any of the regular fellowship schemes and enrollment to PhD at country's premier technical institutes.
Under the scheme, a student is entitled for a fellowship of Rs 70,000 per month for the first two years, Rs 75,000 per month for the third year, and Rs.80,000 per month in the fourth and fifth years of their PhD programme.
In addition to this, students are also entitled for a research grant of Rs 2 lakh for a period of five years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars.
“The selection process for the PMRF will be a rigorous process consisting of screening by the reviewers, and final selection by the selection committee for each research vertical to ensure competition, standardization, transparency and selection of the best talent. The process may also include written test and/or discussions, if necessary,” a ministry official said.
The central government has earmarked a total cost of Rs 1,650 crore for implementation of the scheme for a period of seven years beginning 2018-19. A maximum of 3000 fellows would be selected in the first three-year period.