The Centre’s Visiting Advanced Joint Research (VAJRA) Faculty scheme, meant to attract top international talent to the country’s research and development ecosystem, has received 260 applications from foreign scientists- of whom 70 will be shortlisted this year. The pilot project by the Department of Science and Technology, launched in May, eventually intends to select 1,000 scientists every year. Department secretary Ashutosh Sharma said the screening of applicants will start this months and the shortlisted scientists will begin work by December.
“Nearly 260 scientists have applied. Before shortlisting the names, we have to see that their expertise and our areas of interest match,” he said. The department will look for scientists with experience in the fields of renewable energy, water and other technology in which Indian lack expertise, he said.
Science and technology department officials said the residency period will be for a minimum of a month and a maximum of three months. Public funded academic institutions and national laboratories are eligible to host VAJRA faculties.
“These institutions should appoint them as adjunct visiting faculty and involve them in co-guiding and mentoring students and developing collaborative programmes. The faculty can also be allowed to participate in other academic activities,” Sharma said.
This is a multi-purpose project, he said. “We will be able to collaborate with the best scientific minds and our students pursuing their doctorate will receive their guidance. The students will also be exposed to international practices.” Scientists visiting Indian institutions under the VAJRA Faculty scheme would be provided with a lump-sum amount of US $15,000 in the first month of residency in a year and US $10,000 per month afterwards.