In a first, the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), Pune is all set to roll out PhD programmes in six subjects for international students, starting next academic year. The two-year doctoral research called i-PhD — for the first time in the country — will be offered in physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, earth and climate Sciences (ECS) and humanities and social sciences (HSS) — the last course has commenced recently at the institute.
Sharing details about the programme with The Indian Express, Dean Doctoral Studies Girish Ratnaparkhi said, “We are keen to recruit talented students from abroad, give them an opportunity to undertake PhD research in India, allow them to work in laboratories here where they can attempt to solve important research problems. The programme aims to raise the profile of our institute internationally and hosting international students is part of the process. We believe that recruiting international students will also add value to the existing PhD programme, making it healthier and stronger.”
While Pune has always been an education hub, this move by IISER will bring more international students to Pune for higher education. The institute now plans to use its past experience of hosting international symposiums and similar exchange programmes with foreign students and faculty, prior to designing the course work for doctoral research. The course will be a combination of curricula from both masters and doctorate degrees in a single integrated programme, where course work and research projects would go hand-in-hand.
The first four semesters would focus on the core subjects in combination with research works. This will then be followed by the doctoral research project. On successful completion, students would be awarded both a Master of Science and a PhD. Though a lot of the course work is still to be finalised, the Dean said that the International programme will be at par with the current PhD programme.
“All present IISER faculty will be available as research guides for the international students. The student intake numbers will be based on the institution rather than on any departmental limits,” he said. Since doctoral programmes run into several years, they are supported by stipends. At the moment, the institute is encouraging foreign students having scholarships to apply for the course as it does not offer stipends or fellowships.
International students will also get to interact and work with several national institutes of top repute during their doctoral programme at IISER, said Ratnaparkhi. “Since there are numerous collaborations with institutes within and outside India, these student groups will also be part of our existing collaborative initiatives,” he said.