NATIONAL SCIENCE CHAIR

Background

The landscape of Indian science has been expanding at an accelerated pace. It is therefore advisable to match the pace while providing opportunities for growth of senior scientists, even beyond superannuation too. In the absence of these opportunities, eminent academicians and performing senior scientists, at times face challenges to continue research. These scientists possess great amount of knowledge and more importantly the experience that they have accumulated over many years, a non-replaceable treasure that can be lost if avenues are not made available to them. These elites have an excellent track record as evidenced by their election to the prestigious Science and Engineering Academics as well as high impact publications, patents and recognition. Although, there is currently no systematic data regarding the highly knowledgable retirees productivity all over the world, a survey conducted in 2014 revealed that out of the superannuated medical professors from 20 countries, many continued teaching and more than 40% had published research papers and / or books of repute. There are a few chairs/professorships available in the country instituted by various ministries / departments/ academies with public funds. Considering the limited number of such opportunities, SERB has been catering to one such scheme - National Science Chair (NSC).


Purpose

The main aim of the scheme is to recognise active eminent senior resident Indian superannuated scientists for their outstanding contributions both nationally and internationally, in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and Medicine, to promote excellence and growth in R&D.


Implementation

The NSC will be implemented in two modes. In the first one, the support will be extended to those senior eminent scientists who after superannuation, continue to be active in research but do not possess a formal supporting arrangement. Thus, the need of a mechanism is required to utilize their expertise and let them sustain their efforts in research. The other mode will recognize outstanding superannuated scientists to establish a benchmark for stature, value and eminence in national and international Science & Technology (S&T) communities. Descriptive details of the basic rationale, primary objective and eligibility conditions for nomination for NSCs in Mode-1 and Mode-2 in respect of nominees (with > 65 years and superannuated- also those left with maximum six months period service to reach the age of 65 after the closing date of nomination):


Mode-1: Scientific Excellence

The performing senior scientists who have made outstanding contribution to research, as evidenced by S&T output indicators (i.e. publications, patents, technology transfer, software development or an impact on policy) and wish to continue their work in R&D will be recognized through this mode. SERB recognizes the need for utilizing the expertise of exceptionally meritorious senior scientists. Non-utilization of their expertise, in one sense, is a national loss and age should not be a criteria for performing scientists.


Objective

To extend continuance of support for excellence in R&D activities of eminent senior superannuated scientists who are passionate in research as evidenced by the S&T output.


Eligibility for nomination

  • The nominee should be an active resident Indian scientist/academician, with outstanding research track record in any one or more areas of STEM and medicine, partiularly during the last five years.
  • The nominee must have received recognition for his/her work from national / international scientific bodies such as fellowship in prestigious academies and S&T awards.
  • The nominee could be affiliated to an academic institutions / R&D lab or should have consent on the subject from the future host institution.
  • The nominee should not currently hold any administrative roles and functions and is not in receipt of any other honorarium/fellowship/salary from any other institute.

Mode-2: Science Leadership

This mode is more to do with recognition for thought leadership made by the awardee during the most active part of professional life and also in the recent period. The nominee will be an active researcher with tangible impact of work carried out and developing an international reputation as a Research & Development leader. This may include mentoring younger colleagues, conducting innovative research, publishing results in SCI journals and assist in policy formulation. The exact nature of work may be any one or a combination of all the aforesaid activities.


Objective

To recognize outstanding contributions made by any of the resident Indian superannuated Scientist towards excellence at the national and the global level.


Eligibility for nomination

  • The nominee should be a distinguished resident Indian scientist/ academician in any one or more areas of expertise in STEM and Medicine, particularly during the last 10 years.
  • The nominee must be a Science Leader and have recognition for his/her work from national / international scientific bodies such as fellowship in prestigious academies and S&T awards.
  • The nominee could be affiliated to an academic institutions / R&D lab or should have consent on the subject from the future host institution.
  • The nominee should not currently hold any administrative roles and functions and is not in receipt of any other honorarium/fellowship/salary from any other institute.

Advisory Committee

A committee referred to as National Science Chair Advisory Committee (NSCAC) has been constituted to oversee development of the Chairs, make recommendations for selection of the awardees, review their progress / extention, undertake assigned activities to ensure promotion, relevance and quality of R&D, as well as to meet the goal of the awards.


Nomination and Selection

Proposal in the prescribed form will be invited from the current and former Presidents of any of the national science academies (including Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine, etc.), Directors of premier instituites like IISc, Bangalore, IISERs, IITs, NITs, National Laboratories, etc., Vice-Chancellors of Universities as well as members of Scientific Advisory Councils to the Hon'ble PM & Cabinet and members of governing bodies of Science and Engineering Research Board and Secretaries to Govt. of India in Ministries / Departments. The proposed nomination duly completed in all respects (including the copy of research proposal in 5-6 pages providing broad outline/framework of the intended work: for Mode-1 only), signed, and routed through the Head of the Institution wherein a scientist/technologist intends to work or get associated with, should be submitted online at www.serbonline.in as and when the calls are announced. The proposals will be examined by the NSCAC to ascertain the merit. The recommendations of the Committee will be considered by the SERB to make funding decisions. Call for nomination will not be periodic in nature and will be made from time to time subject to vacancies available every year.


Number of Positions
  • The maximum number of Mode-1 positions is restricted to thirty (30), whereas in case of Mode-2, it would be restricted to a total of five (5).

Tenure and Commencement

The award will be given initially for a period of 3 years and is extendable for a maximum of another two years, subject to the recommendations of the NSCAC. Selected Chairs will have to join within a period of six months from the date of issue of the offer letter.


Nature of Support
  • An amount of Rs 1.5 lakh per month will be given to both modes of awardees as fellowship.
  • The Research Grant in case of Mode-1 and Mode-2 will be Rs 25 lakhs per annum and Rs 5 Lakhs per annum respectively.
  • The grant shall be used for manpower, equipment, travel (including international), contingency, etc. It needs to be utilised as per the norms of the Host Institute.
  • Items purchased out of the contingency grant will be the property of the Host Institute after the completion of tenure. However, in certain listed items, their retention by the awardee will be decided in accordance with the existing government rules and regulations on the subject. For overhead expenses, Rs. 1.0 lakh per annum will be given to the host institution.

Assessment Criteria

The assessment criteria for selection of awardee will be decided by NSCAC and it will be generally based on the following considerations:

  • Outstanding research track record of the nominee and international standing in the field.
  • Quality / originality of proposed research plan.
  • Ability to mentor young researchers and implement proactive approaches towards advancement of S&T talent in the country.

Obligations / Terms & Conditions
  • During tenure, the NSC will operate in affiliation to any recognised research institute / university located in India. All the grants pertaining to the NSC will be released through the Host Institute.
  • The Host Institute shall submit audited statement of accounts and utilization certificate to SERB. Release of subsequent grants will be subject to receipt of the necessary financial statements.
  • The position for Mode-1 will stand terminated from the date the NSC accepts any other position yielding regular salary/honorarium/fellowship in future. However, the awardee in both Modes-1 & 2 shall be free to seek additional funds for pursuing research from other funding agencies.
  • Support by SERB under the NSC Scheme should be acknowledged by the awardee in all publications, patents, etc.
  • The intellectual property rights arising out of the research work of the NSC will be governed by the norms of the Host institute.
  • The NSC shall furnish a detailed technical report on the work/activities carried out by him/her during the preceding year upto 31st March relevant to scientific direct contribution or promotion of scientific research. Final adjustment/settlement of accounts should be done by the host institute within a period of 60 days of termination of the position.
  • These rules and regulations of SERB may be revised or amended as and when found necessary.

Online Application Procedure

For successful online submission of the application the following points may be noted:

  • Nominee need to register in SERB online portal, www.serbonline.in  click here to register
  • After log-in, Nominee need to fill all the mandatory fields in Nominee Details section under User Profile which includes Photo, Institution, Address, etc.
  • Under Form Submission, choose Scheme: National Science Chair, and fill the National Science Chair nomination form which includes details of Nominee Details, Qualification Details, Employment Details, Professional Recognition/Fellowship, Scientific Research Index, Publication Details, Patent Details, Upload Documents, Nominator Details and Other Information etc.
  • Proposed area of research and brief outline of proposal of Nominee to be uploaded in single PDF file not more than 5 pages.
  • After filling the details, Nominee should click on "Send to Nominator".
  • Nominator would receive intimation via email with a link to SERB online portal, to view the filled-in National Science Chair Nomination form.
  • Nominator can choose to submit the nomination to SERB or resend the form to Nominee for any revision.
  • Once submitted, Nominee and Nominator will receive intimation regarding successful submission.

Documents required (in PDF) should be in prescribed format:
  • Research Proposal with brief Introduction, Objective, Methodology, Budget and expected outcome (upto five pages) (For Mode-1 nominations only).
  • Certificate from the Nominee
  • Endorsement Certificate from the Head of the Institution

Contact Details
Member Secretary
Pankaj Kumar Rawat, Scientist'D'
Science and Engineering Research Board
5 & 5A, Lower Ground Floor,
Vasant Square Mall,Plot No. A, Community Centre,
Sector-5, Pocket-5, Vasant Kunj
New Delhi-110070
Tel: +011- 40000308
Email: ns-chair[at]serb[dot]gov[dot]in
Alternate Email: pankaj[dot]rawat[at]serb[dot]gov[dot]in
Advisor / Coordinator
Dr. R K Mehajan, Scientist-G / Advisor
Email: mehajan[dot]rk[at]nic[dot]in


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: What is the mode to submit my nomination for National Science Chair (NSC) Award?

A1: The nominations are being accepted in online mode only through SERB online portal i.e. www.serbonline.in.

 

Q2: What are the eligibility criteria for applying for NSC Award?

A2: Please refer the section eligibility criteria given on the specific section of NSC Award at SERB website.

 

Q3: What are the mandatory additional documents required to submit a nomination?

A3:

  • 1. Research Proposal with brief Introduction, Objective, Methodology, Budget and expected outcome (upto five pages) (For Mode-1 nominations only).
  • 2. Endorsement Letter by the head of the Host Institute.
  • 3. Certificate from the Nominee.

 

Q4: I am >65 years having Indian Nationality working in a foreign country institution as a Professor from past 5 years. Can I apply for this fellowship?

A4: Yes, you can but after withdrawing your position from the foreign institution and getting a No Objection Certificate from the same institution to apply under NSC Award.

 

Q5: What are the areas covered under NSC Award?

A5: Researchers working in areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and Medicine are eligible to apply under this fellowship.

 

Q6: Who will review my nomination?

A6: Your nomination will be reviewed by an approved NSC Advisory Committee (NSCAC).

 

Q7: Who will decide on my nomination?

A7: The final decision on all nominations is based on the recommendations of NSC Advisory Committee. The high level committee comprises of eminent experts in the field of S&T. The SERB solely depends on the recommendations of the Selection Committee.

 

O8:Will I be notified of the selection?

A8: This will usually follow approximately four to six weeks after the selection committee meeting. Please note that we cannot provide any personalised information before this juncture so as not to delay the notification process.

 

Q9: Can I file a plea against the decision of selection committee for not recommending my nomination?

A9:Yes, you can but the decision on the plea will be taken, after thorough discussion and deliberations in the successive NSCAC meeting only.

 

Q10: Can I apply for Mode-I and Mode-II under NSC at the same time, if I fulfil the formal requirements?

A10:No, it is not possible to apply for both modes at same time. However, if your nomination is not accepted for recommendations, you may apply to any other program as long as you fulfill the eligibility requirements in the successive call(s).

 

Q11:What are the most important selection criteria?

A11: The essential aspect of the nomination is the individual nominee track record. Please refer to the eligibility and assessment criteria sections for more details on the selection criteria.

 

For NSC Awardee-

Q12: How/When can the individual start his NSC Award?

A12: A letter is sent by the SERB to the nominee as well as to the host Institute informing the award of NSC. After receiving the same the nominee has to join the chair within six months of the date of offer letter and to send his / her Acceptance Letter to the Host Institute, indicating the tentative Date / Month when the nominee wants to start the award. Then the Institute will forward his Acceptance / Joining Letter to Science & Engineering Research Board along with the updated details of the bank for transfer of fund through RTGS (in the prescribed format). Based on this letter, SERB will process the file for getting administrative and financial approvals and then a Sanction Order is issued to the Host Institute. The start date, as per joining letter date of the nominee, of the award will be mentioned in the Sanction Order.

 

Q13: Can I avail or carry on already granted other fellowships with the NSC Award at the same time?

A13: The selected NSC fellow, in both modes, cannot avail any other fellowship, during the tenure of the award but they are free to seek additional funds for pursuing research from other funding agencies excluding fellowship / honorarium / salary. However, if they want to switch over and carry out any other fellowship, then they are required to submit the surrender certificate first with other relevant documents i.e. final Statement of Expenditure, Utilization Certificate, Project Completion Report and unspent balance to SERB and then only they should start the other fellowship.

 

Q14: Can I delay the implementation date of the award which is mentioned in the Sanction Order?

A14: No, you cannot delay the implementation date after issuance of the sanction order for the award. Your joining date of the institute will be counted as the date of start for the fellowship.

 

Q15: Can I join two academic institutions to carry my research at the same time?

A15: It is strongly advised to have one host institution for fund transfer & account management. However, you may get into collaboration with any other institute or organization.

 

Q16: Will my host institute receive any additional funds for the costs it incurs in connection with my research stay?

A16: In general, the host institute will receive overhead @ Rs.1,00,000/- per annum, apart from this there is no provision to provide additional funds.

 

Q17: Is the grants received under NSC Award taxable?

A17: Yes, the Grant received under NSC Award is taxable as per I.T. rules.