Thursday, January 26, 2006

Swarnajayanti Fellowships

In the Golden Jubilee Year (1997) of India's independence, the P. Chidambaram (who was the Finance Minister in the then United Front government) announced the launch of a new Swarnajayanti Fellowship scheme.

Under this scheme a selected number of young scientists, with proven track record, are provided special assistance and support to enable them to pursue basic research in frontier areas of science and technology. The fellowships are scientist specific and not institution specific, very selective and have close academic monitoring.

The winners of these Fellowships for the year 2004-05 were announced a while ago (the entire list of winners from 1997-98 onwards appears at the end of the page).

Let me use this opportunity to extend my special congratulations to our good friends, neighbours and colleagues, Navakant Bhat (Engineering Sciences) and Vasant Natarajan (Physical Sciences), who have won this Fellowship this year.

The Swarnajayanti Fellowships are as prestigeous as the S.S. Bhatnagar Awards (which I described as the Oscars of Indian science), since the winners are chosen by a panel of peers. However, the two schemes differ in nature: the Bhatnagars are one-shot awards, while the Swarnajayantis go to to promising young scientists (age limit: 40 years) to support their 5-year long research program.