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Hon’ble Prime Minister during the 14thPravasiBharatiya Divas Convention at Bengaluru on 8th January 2017 has announced the launching of VAJRA (Visiting Advanced Joint Research) Faculty scheme by the Department of Science and Technology which enables NRIs and overseas scientific community to participate and contribute to research and development in India. The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department will implement the Scheme.

VAJRA faculty will undertake research in S&T priority areas of nation wherein the capability and capacity are needed to be developed. The VAJRA faculty will engage in collaborative research in public funded institutions.

The residency period of the VAJRA Faculty in India would be for a minimum of 1 month and a maximum of 3 months a year.

The VAJRA Faculty is provided a lump-sum amount of US$ 15000 in the first month of residency in a year and US$ 10000 p.m. in the other two months to cover their travel and honorarium. While no separate support is provided for e.g. accommodation, medical / personal insurance etc. the host institute may consider providing additional support.

The Indian collaborator and the overseas faculty will jointly frame a research plan and the application duly endorsed by the Head of the Institution will be submitted online by the Indian collaborator.

A Selection Committee of eminent scientists will evaluate the applications. The Committee will meet twice a year in January and July and make recommendations. SERB will announce the results in the month of April and September.

Public funded academic institutions and national laboratories are eligible to host the VAJRA Faculty. These institutions should appoint them as Adjunct / Visiting Faculty and involve them in co-guiding and mentoring of students and developing collaborative programs. The Faculty can also be allowed to participate in other academic activities as agreed to by the host institution and the Faculty.

For details log on to www.vajra-india.in

Indo-russian Joint Research Call for Proposals 2014

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Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowships of Government of India

Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India has instituted the Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowshipsfor inviting eminent scientists of any nationality working in the areas of natural and physical sciences including mathematics,for short term research in Indian Institutions of their choice. The fellowship provides a compensation of US$100,000 for 12 months which could be availed in breaks over a period of three years. Additionally it provides Rs.5.5 million Grant towards R&D support, domestic and international travel and contingency expenses. More details could be seen at DST web-page http://www.dst.gov.in/whats_new/whats_new13/jns.pdf

Eminent Russian scientists active in research (may be evident from their scientific outputs over the last 5 years) with acknowledged accomplishments and awards (such as fellows of prestigious science academies) having knowledge of English language are invited to indicate their interest in the Fellowship to Dr T Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, India ( dstsec@nic.in) with a copy to Dr Rama Swami Bansal, Counsellor Science and Technology, Embassy of India in Moscow ( csnt@indianembassy.ru).

India’s global initiative on Open Source Drug Discovery

Open Source Drug Discovery (OSDD) is a CSIR India (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India) led team India Consortium with global partnership with a vision to provide affordable health care to the developing world by providing a global platform where the best minds can collaborate & collectively endeavour to solve the complex problems associated with discovering novel therapies for neglected tropical diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis, Leshmaniasis, etc. OSDD is a translational platform for drug discovery, bringing together informaticians, wet lab scientists, contract research organizations, clinicians, hospitals and others who are willing to adhere to the affordable health care philosophy. It is a concept to collaboratively aggregate the biological, genetic and chemical information available to scientists in order to use it to hasten the discovery of drugs. It will provide a unique opportunity for scientists, doctors, technocrats, students and others with diverse expertise to work for a common cause.

CSIR India (www.csir.res.in), one of the largest publicly funded research organizations in the world, plays a key role in the development of industry in India by providing it with technologies. In particular, it has been one of the key drivers of the Indian pharmaceutical industry. Prof Samir. K Brahmachari, Director General of CSIR, is the Chief Mentor of OSDD and Mr Zakir Thomas is its Project Director. OSDD is supported by direct funding of Rs. 46 Crores (~US$12 Mn) from the Government of India with an overall project outlay of about US$46 Mn.

The OSDD consortium launched in September 2008 has more than 5,700 registered users from more than 130 countries around the world, and has emerged as the largest collaborative effort in drug discovery. Launched on the three principles of Collaborate, Discover & Share, it is a community driven open innovation platform seeking to address the unmet need of research and development of drugs for diseases that affect the developing world. It's objective is affordable health care.

Individual researchers, academic/research/medical institutions willing to make health care affordable, are welcome to join the OSDD platform. For details please contact Mr Zakir Thomas (zt@csir.res.in) and visit the

OSDD website (www.osdd.net).