The Prime Minister’s Research Fellows (PMRF) Scheme was introduced in the Budget 2018-19 to improve the quality of research in numerous higher educational institutions of the country. This scheme strives to attract the best talent in research with attractive fellowship, thereby realising the vision of development through innovation.
Under this scheme, the selection of the candidates will be through a rigorous process, and their performance will be reviewed through a national convention. But, this scheme is applicable only in the areas of science and technology.
PMRF Granting Institutions and Seat Allocation
The institutes which offer the PMRF include:
- All the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology),
- All the IISERs (Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research),
- Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and
- Central Universities/NITs (National Institute of Technology) offering science or technology degrees and appearing in the list of top 25 institutions in the NIRF (National Institute Ranking Framework) ranking (overall) in the previous year.
The institutions mentioned above are referred to as ‘PMRF Granting Institutions’.
Every PMRF granting institutions are allocated PMRF seats as per the following rules each year:
- PMRF granting institutions that appear in the top 10 NIRF ranking get 3.5% of the existing PhD students strength on 1 May of the respective academic year as PMRF seats.
- PMRF granting institutions that appear in the top 11-25 NIRF ranking gets 2.5% of the existing PhD students strength on 1 May of the respective academic year as PMRF seats.
- Remaining PMRF granting institutions get 1.5% of the existing PhD students strength on 1 May of the respective academic year as PMRF seats.
However, the total seat requirement for a particular year should not exceed 1000. If it exceeds 1000, then the seat requirement will be scaled down proportionately based on the percentage mentioned above.
Eligibility Criteria To Apply For Prime Minister’s Research Fellows
As per the revised Guidelines for PMRF, from the academic year 2020-21, the candidates can apply through either Direct Entry Channel or Lateral Entry Channel.
The candidates selected for the regular PhD programme in one of the PMRF granting institutions can apply through the Direct Entry channel upon satisfaction of anyone of the following criteria:
- Pursuing or completed the final year of undergraduate or integrated M.Tech. or M.Sc. or undergraduate-postgraduate dual degree programs in Technology and Science streams from IISc/NITs/IITs/IIEST/IISERSs and centrally funded IIITs with a CPI/CGPA of at least 8.0 (on a 10-point scale) in the past three years, or
- Pursuing or completed undergraduate or integrated M.Tech. or M.Sc. or undergraduate-postgraduate dual degree programs in Technology or Science streams from any other Institute or University recognised in India apart from the institutions covered in the above point with a minimum CGPA of 8 or equivalent and a minimum score of 650 in the relevant GATE subject in the past three years.
- Qualified GATE and completed or pursuing M.Tech./MS by research at one of the PMRF granting institutions with a minimum of four courses having a minimum CPI or CGPA of 8.0 at the finish of the first semester in the past three years. For the candidates who apply after the first semester, the CGPA or CPI requirement of 8.0 is based on all the courses, thesis and labs that the candidate has completed.
The candidates applying through the Lateral Entry channel must satisfy the following criteria:
- Pursuing PhD in any of the PMRF granting institutions.
- A candidate should have completed at least 12 months in the PhD programme if he/she has joined the programme after a Master’s degree or completed at least 24 months in the PhD programme if he/she has joined the PhD programme after a Bachelor’s degree.
- A candidate can apply at most twice for PMRF through lateral entry.
- A candidate should have completed at least four PhD programme courses with an aggregate CGPA of 8.5 or higher.
The candidate should continue to work only in the host institute and cannot transfer to another PMRF institute. When a candidate is enrolled in a PhD programme through the lateral entry channel, he/she cannot apply for a direct entry channel in the subsequent year.
Prime Minister’s Research Fellows Application Process
The candidates who want to apply for the PMRF scheme must apply and get selected for a PhD programme in any of the PMRF granting institutions through a direct entry channel or lateral entry channel. If the candidature is found strong enough, the PMRF granting institute will nominate and make a strong recommendation of the candidate for the PMRF scheme on the PMRF web portal.
Upon nomination, an expert panel will examine the nominations and make a decision. The nominated candidates will be judged based on research exposure, performance in international competitions, publications, recommendation letters and grades.
Selection Process Under Prime Minister’s Research Fellows
After the PMRF granting institutes nominate candidates for the PMRF scheme by uploading the relevant documents and information on the PMRF web portal, the central discipline-specific selection panel will examine the application and make a decision. The shortlisting and selection of the candidate for the PMRF scheme is as follows:
- Each Nodal Institute (NI) appointed for an area of discipline consisting of a team of experts will assess the nominated candidates and prepare a shortlist of applicants.
- The shortlisted applicants’ list will be sent to the PMRF National Level Committee.
- The National Level Committee will send a link to the selected applicants to submit their application with details of academic background along with transcripts, research experience, research proposal, CV, list of publications and reference person who will write a strong letter of recommendation.
- The final selection of applicants will be made based on their application, and the National Level Committee will release the final allocation of the seats.
Benefits Provided Under Prime Minister’s Research Fellows
The fellowship provided for the PMRFs are as follows:
|Year 1||Rs. 70,000|
|Year 2||Rs. 70,000|
|Year 3||Rs. 75,000|
|Year 4||Rs. 80,000|
|Year 5||Rs. 80,000|
Apart from the above fellowship, each Fellow will be eligible for a research grant of Rs. 2 lakh per year, i.e. totally Rs.10 lakh.
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