Europe offers lucrative grants for Indian scholars

Europe has made a renewed attempt to attract  Indian scholars to European laboratories and universities with a lucrative research grant.

  The European grants range from Rs 14 crore (2 million Euro) for a young PhD and Rs 19 crore (2.75 million Euro) for a mid-career scholar to Rs 24 crore (3.5 million Euro) for an established academic who is in the field for 10 years. The grants are valid for 5 years and much higher than any research grant offered by Indian funding agencies.

If selected, a young PhD will receive a monthly grant of Rs 23.5 lakh, if the person is selected within two to seven years of completing his doctoral thesis. In comparison, top fellowships instituted by India's department of science and technology offers a monthly grant of Rs 50,000 (Ramanujam fellowship), Rs 25,000 (Swarna Jayanti) and Rs 20,000 (JC Bose) per month in addition to Rs five lakh contingency fund to support their participation in scientific conferences.

Offered by the European Research Council (ERC), the research grants are available in almost all academic disciplines which are broadly categorised in physical sciences, life sciences and social sciences. Once selected a recipient has to stay 50 per cent of his time in Europe and 50 per cent while conducting the research.

Even though ERC is offering research grants since 2007 with financial support from European Commission, there are only 12 Indians who applied for the grant while residing in India. Out of 12, only two were selected.

“Its possible many researchers do not know about this grant,” said Donald Dingwell, the ERC secretary general, who along with EU officials visited top Indian institutions in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi in the last five days to introduce the grant and encouraging Indian scholars for apply.

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