Govt Wooing NRI Researchers in Health Sector to Work in India

Under the Human Resource Development for Health Research scheme, researchers will be provided a stipend or salary, and a grant of up to Rs 1 crore for five years.


The Indian government is seeking to create a pool of talented health research personnel in the country with its Human Resource Development for Health Research scheme. The scheme includes a separate component targeted to woo emerging young scientists and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIO), and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) working in health research activities so they can come back to India for the purpose.

As part of the scheme, researchers will be provided stipend or salary and a grant of up to Rs 1 crore for five years. They will be offered contractual research positions on a fulltime basis for a short duration.

“This scheme provides an opportunity for these persons or faculty to return to India and pursue research in any institute across India,” said a statement from the department of health research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The HRD scheme also aims to upgrade the skills of the faculty of medical colleges through specialized training in priority areas. The researchers can pursue medical and health research in the country and take up projects in collaboration with Indian scientists, particularly in areas of national priority.

Some of the areas that have been identified for research are genomics, proteomics, geriatrics, stem cell research, modern biology, genetics, medical ethics, mental health and clinical psychology, and health economics.

Also, in a bid to stop brain drain from India, the Cabinet has approved the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) scheme, under which best students who have completed or are in the final year of B.Tech or Integrated M.Tech or M.Sc. in Science and Technology streams from centers such as the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), National Institute of Technology (NIT), Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) and International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), will be offered direct admission in PhD program at IITs or IISc. The scheme has been set up at a total cost of Rs.1,650 crore for a period of seven years beginning 2018-19.

“Such students, who fulfill the eligibility criteria, and shortlisted through a selection process, as laid down in the PMRF Guidelines, will be offered a fellowship of Rs 70,000 per month for the first two years, Rs 75,000 per month for the 3rd year, and Rs 80,000 per month in the 4th and 5th years,” the Ministry of Human Resource Development said in a statement.

According to the scheme, a research grant of Rs 2 lakh will be provided to each of the fellows for a period of five years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers at international conferences and seminars. “A maximum of 3000 fellows would be selected in a three-year period, beginning 2018-19. The scheme will go a long way in tapping the talent pool of the country for carrying out research indigenously in cutting edge science and technology domains,” the statement added.

To attract overseas Indian scientists, many Indian embassies have also put up notices on their websites about the HRD Scheme.

“The candidate shall submit the research plan in either of the identified area through any medical college or bio-medical research institute under a regular faculty of the institute,” said a statement from the Indian embassy in Ukraine. “Since many of these scientists have exposure to high technologies in the front areas of research, country will benefit greatly if they are provided some platform to work in Indian institutes,” the statement added.

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