Centre plans wooing back scientists of Indian origin

Centre plans wooing back scientists of Indian origin

Offers salary of Rs 1.5 lakh per month, plus car

Those who opt for the scheme must work for at least 10 weeks in India every year, maintain their own research laboratory and have PhD students. The scientists would be offered an attractive salary package of Rs 1.5 lakh per month which includes housing and cars, Department of Biotechnology Secretary M K Bhan told Deccan Herald.

The first three scientists expected to return to India for research under this scheme are, Rafi Ahmed, Director of the Emory Vaccine Centre at Atlanta; Mriganka Sur from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Vinay Kumar from University of Chicago.

On one hand the veterans will be pursuing their own research interests and expected to play the role of mentor to the youngsters on the other. They are free to choose their institutes.

Besides attracting the top of the league scientists, DBT has launched one more re-entry fellowship to attract promising mid-level scientists of Indian origin to work in Indian laboratories for up to five years.

Named as Ramlingaswami Fellowship, it offered a monthly package of almost Rs 50,000 to every fellow along with an annual contingency of Rs 5 lakh. Moreover, individual institutes can provide incentives like free housing, Bhan said.

The fellows have the freedom to work in any institute of the country and are entitled for regular research grants from other sources. Though the fellowship is for five years, it can be extended by another five years. DBT, so far, has selected 25 Ramlingaswami fellows.

Both programmes are targeted towards hundreds of Indian scientists working abroad. If provided with a goon laboratory and competitive fellowship, many Indian researchers are willing to return to their roots.

Eight new full fledged institutes and many centres are being created which can accommodate many scientists. The Union Cabinet has approved five institutes, whereas approval for the remaining three is in the pipeline.

Out of the eight institutes, two will be in Bangalore. While the Institute for Stem Cell Sciences has already received the approval, the Union Cabinet is soon expected to clear the National Institute of Seribiotechnology and Biomaterials. A Protein Science Centre was coming up in Bangalore as well, he said.

More institutes are being built in two biotech clusters in Faridabad and Mohali. Once these clusters are ready, similar biotech clusters will be developed in Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.