Bright students of Patna University will soon get monetary help every month to study life science subjects that have become less popular because of the advent of vocational courses.
To popularise the study of botany, zoology and biotechnology, the varsity will provide Rs 3,000 every month to 10 students from November.
Four students from botany and three each from zoology and biotechnology will get the fellowships that are being funded by the department of biotechnology under the Union ministry of science and technology.
Its purpose: To encourage inter-disciplinary projects and advanced research in the three subjects.
Patna University dean of science faculty U.K. Sinha told The Telegraph: “This is the first time that a central agency is funding Patna University students to promote and popularise science subjects.”
Students and teachers are equally upbeat about the fellowships.
Nidhi Chiranya, a first-year botany student who has applied for it, said: “The amount that students will get through the fellowships will help them purchase books, stationery and study material. So, pursuing the course would be easier for them.”
But the selection process for the fellowship is stringent and highly competitive.
Around 110 students have applied for the fellowship this year.
Their academic records as well as marks scored in an examination for the fellowship would be taken into account before they are selected.
“Their results from matriculation to graduation as well as marks scored in a written test would be considered before awarding the fellowships,” said PU science faculty dean Sinha.
The written test for the two-year fellowship was conducted in the third week of September by the PU department of biotechnology. The final list of 10 would be announced within a week.
They will also have to attend classes regularly if they wish to continue to benefit from the fellowship.
“The students need to have 75 per cent attendance to avail of the fellowships,” said Sinha.
Nevertheless, the fellowships are expected to be a source of encouragement for the life science students.
Choudhary Sharfuddin, an assistant professor of the botany department, said: “This is a welcome move as it will encourage the study of life sciences among students.”
He added that there had been a decline in interest in the life sciences in recent years because of the shift of focus to vocational courses that allow them to bag jobs easily.
“But the morale of the students would get a boost with the fellowships and they would feel encouraged to pursue an academic career in the life sciences,” said Sharfuddin.
In November last year, the Union department of biotechnology had sanctioned Rs 5 crore for five years to Patna University to upgrade the standards of postgraduate courses and refurbish laboratories by improving infrastructure and purchasing equipment.
A three-member team led by M. Udaya Kumar, a senior official of the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, and senior officers of the Union department of biotechnology visited Patna University to interact with the students and teachers.
Patna University is also expected to utilise the approved funds to introduce new training programmes for the students, fund innovative research in different disciplines and increase the interaction and exchange between the academia and the industries.
The Union department of biotechnology was set up in 1986 to promote cutting-edge research in biology and biotechnology. It funds projects in diverse fields such as agriculture, healthcare, animal sciences, environment, and industry.
Monthly fellowship of
Rs 3000 for 10 life science students of Patna University
Marks scored in
Marks scored in
written test for fellowship conducted by PU
Two years, starting this
Will help in purchase of books and study material