Welcome to DSKPDF
The great reality of our age is science. The understanding of nature which science provides, and the deep harmony it unfolds, are deeply satisfying to the human mind. The power of science to transform society is immense, perhaps more than of any other activity. Equally real and pervasive is human suffering, starvation, pain, devastation, violence, loneliness and deep anguish of the soul. Science will suffer grievously and in the end reduce to a mockery, if all its power is not yoked to alleviate human suffering. "
|Dr. D.S. Kothari|
Postdoctoral research is an important enabling step in grooming young researchers for launching an academic/research career. This is a transition phase from a largely supervisor directed student at doctoral level to an independent researcher for leadership position, particularly in academia. A postdoctoral stint also provides an opportunity to acquire new skills, broaden one's horizon and offers a platform for transiting into cross-disciplinary areas. Experience in other parts of the world has shown that university faculty is best inducted from among candidates who had a year or two of postdoctoral training and is generally considered an essential requirement. Mentoring for independent research is an indispensable element of postdoctoral training. Top rated institutions in our country which value research also follow this practice but it has not permeated widely. Leading research groups around the world usually have a good mix of postdoctoral fellows and doctoral students with the former bringing in a level of experience and maturity. However, in our country postdoctoral research culture has not caught on and is practiced only sporadically in a few selected places. Ironically, Ph.D.'s from leading institutions in India, particularly in basic sciences prefer seeking postdoctoral positions overseas. Within the country, a PDF position is mistakenly viewed as a mere parking opportunity while scouting for a regular appointment.
With our higher education system poised for rapid and massive expansion in the years ahead and the establishment of many new science and technology institutions on the anvil, requirement of potential faculty with PDF experience will be very substantial. Thus, a 'home grown' PDF program can be expected to partly redeem the expected short fall in trained faculty required for HEI's. It is in this context that UGC initiative to launch a prestigious PDF program, named after an illustrious scientist, is important and timely and fills a widely felt void.
Several agencies like UGC/CSIR/DST/DBT and a few selected institutions have schemes to award PDFs (also called Research Associateships, RAs) through open call. A few merit-based research schemes funded by various agencies also have provision for PDF/RA. However, the scene is far from satisfactory and opportunities are not only inadequate but the schemes are not optimally structured. This scenario needs change. It is very necessary that a PDF scheme of this nature is run in a flexible mode, with fast track, on-line handling and decision making and must be tuned to the ground realities prevailing in our university system. In our context, with no clearly defined bench marks for thesis quality, a postdoctoral stint for many fresh Ph.D.'s, may be also an opportunity to overcome the deficiencies at doctoral level research as well as an opportunity to explore new areas of research in different settings.
The process outlined is proposed, keeping some of these factors in mind. It may be noted that these Fellowships are open for full time research work, predominantly to young researches preferably below 35 years of age who have received their Ph.D. Degree or have submitted their Ph.D. thesis. The Reservation Policy of Government of India with regard to SC/ST/OBC/PH will be followed. A relaxation up to 5 years in age is available for women as well as candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes. As per the decision of the Empowered committee in its 49th meeting, age relaxation of 3 and 10 years respectively to OBC & Physically Handicapped candidates will be available. It may be noted that, DSKPDF is tenable only at the Science Departments of Indian Universities (including Medical & Engineering Sciences) and UGC funded inter-University centers (such as IUCAA, IUAC, UGC-DEA-CSR etc.) which are eligible to receive Development grants from the UGC. Thus they are not tenable in IIT's or CSIR/DRDO/DAE laboratories etc. These are also not tenable in colleges (either Autonomous or affiliated )
The Scheme is crafted to work electronically with the Savitribai Phule Pune University acting as a nodal agency for implementing the on-line selection process.