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Introduction: This programme was introduced in 1983 to identify and encourage promising young scientists. The programme was assessed for its impact by a committee constituted by the Council in 2018. Based on the accepted recommendations of this committee, the programme was restructured to provide opportunity to young scientists from diverse institutions and backgrounds to pursue scientific excellence. As per the revised guidelines:
Who can nominate/propose:
For the year 2022 the last date of receipt of nominations is 31 May. Duly filled in nomination forms are to be uploaded in the link circulated to the Fellowship.
Eligibility for Nomination and Age Limit: Nomination is open to a researcher holding a PhD, working in an institution in India. However, it is strongly recommended that candidates below 35 years only are nominated (i.e. candidates born after 31/12/1987 for Associateship starting in 2022). For the year 2022 candidates born after 31.12.1984 (i.e. up to 38 years of age) are considered. Candidates between 35 and 38 years of age should be nominated only in unusual circumstances (e.g. representing weaker sections, those working against odds or in less endowed research institutions or in fields such as medicine where researchers take longer to establish the career), but have the potential to be outstanding scientists. Nominators may justify this in the space provided in the nomination form. An age limit of 35 will generally apply to candidates from well endowed institutions. It may be noted that a researcher who normally works in an institution in India, but is on a short-term academic visit to an institution abroad may be nominated. However, if such a nominee is selected as an Associate, the Associateship shall become operational after she/he returns to India, the date of which should be within six months of declaration of the selection results normally during July. If a selected Associate does not return to India within six months of declaration of the selection results, the Associateship will automatically be cancelled. The total period of Associateship will, however, be counted from the date of declaration of the selection results. The total number of Associates is limited to 100 (present strength is 67).
The nomination should include:
The validity of a nomination is one year.
How is an Associate selected: Quality of work is the sole criteria for selection with emphasis on the proven record of independent research work (this may include work conducted prior to securing a formal independent position and high quality work done abroad). In this connection, the selection committee may, if deemed necessary, seek letters from senior authors of the nominee’s publications to judge the extent of independent contributions by the candidate. It would be ideal to consider PhD plus 10 years as the duration to establish independent research, which includes the period spent on post-doctoral research and that as an independent researcher at an institution.
For the purpose of selection, candidates with INSPIRE Faculty Fellowships, Ramanujan Fellowships and other similar Fellowships will be considered to have started their independent research from the beginning of their tenure in the corresponding Fellowship. Candidates representing weaker sections will be evaluated based on their perceived potential and motivation to be independent researchers. Attempts should be made to be inclusive and achieve representation from diverse backgrounds, gender and areas of work.
The evaluation process: Nominations are solicited in 6 subject categories:
(a) Mathematics, (b) Physics, (c) Chemistry, (d) Earth & Planetary Sciences, (e) Engineering & Technology, and (f) Life Sciences. All valid nominations are evaluated by a joint committee of (i) the Convener of the Sectional Committee in that subject category and (ii) a member of the Council representing the subject. They will jointly make recommendations to the President of Academy. The candidates recommended by the joint committee will be considered by the President of the Academy and ratified in the Council.
While all Associates will have a guaranteed tenure of 3 years, each Associate will be evaluated at the end of two and half years for assessment of their contributions to the activities of Academy and their own scientific excellence. Based on the recommendations of the evaluation committee, an offer of renewal of Associateship may be made for another term of up to 3 years. Each year, about 33 Associates are selected (including those with a renewed 3-year term) to constitute the recommended total number of 100 Associates at any given time.