Growing tribe of young guns in research

This seems to be a trend that augurs well for fostering research in top institutions, a field in which India’s achievements are not impressive.

Bikram Banerjee (name changed), a first year MSc student at Madurai Kamaraj University, travelled to the City along with four of his classmates, to attend a one-day seminar of Cell, the prestigious scientific journal, recently.

The seminar provided students information on the various procedures and tips for getting one’s work published in the journal. Although, out of the 200 students who registered for the seminar, most were research scholars, 40 to 45 per cent of them were undergraduate and masters level students like Banerjee, said Avinash Chinchure, scientific officer, National Centre for Biological Sciences, that organised the event. 
 
“A good number of students came from Mysore, Pondicherry and from institutes in Bangalore like IISc and Bangalore University (BU). The response from these youngsters is quite heartening,” said Chinchure.

It is usually the works of senior faculty members and experienced research scholars that usually make it to such prestigious journals. But the number of young science students keen to undertake researches and get published in such journals is gradually growing.

“Getting published in well-known journals usually comes not only as a matter of pride and achievement, but also opens up numerous opportunities. I want to pursue higher studies in Germany and such a feat will give me an added advantage,“ said Banerjee.

In BU also, science students in the undergraduate and masters level are showing a lot of enthusiasm for research, said BU vice-chancellor B Thimmegowda.

“Usually, students at this level do not have time to pursue research work. However, we have a provision for summer projects of five to six months where 20 to 25 postgraduate students take part. A good number are science students who undertake research in biochemistry, microbiology and biology,” said Thimmegowda. A number of these students are also enthusiastic of getting their work published, he said.   

But Amit Chautala (name changed), PhD student of Chemistry, cautions his young counterparts that all is not rosy at the higher level. Moreover, science journals - in India and abroad - will not take just any research, he said.   

“The primary concern is to do good work in the lab. Getting published in journals is definitely very important, but that comes later. Most of the time, you might be involved in a number of projects, but not all of them will work out. It is very easy to get disheartened and people need to keep trying,” said Chautala.

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