Govt of India Science funding agencies MUST be transparent in distributing our tax payer's money to the research institutions.

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I wish to inform you that DST -SERB/C School on “Advanced Functional Magnetic Materials” will be held in Goa University during February 3 –21, 2014. The message that I would like to share with you is that they have selected only the students/young faculty members doing research in premier institutions (like IITs, IISc, R&D, etc) where they have excellent exposure in their respective fields. What are the mechanisms you have followed to select the candidates to participate in the workshop? ( as of 09.12.2013 at 4.00pm) What are the objectives of this School, whether to improve Science in India?; to uplift the under privileged researchers or to forecast the upper hands in science.   DON’T YOU FIND NOT EVEN A SINGLE CANDIDATE FROM A COLLEGE; we have countless number of colleges in India, everybody is publishing papers on par with the so called premier institutions, only the magnitude varies.

Please give PRIORITY to the students and faculty members working in the under privileged institutions/ colleges so as to improve the quality of Science and hence the pride of the Nation. You are spending our tax payer’s money. You all, always, are talking to “improve” the Science research in India, how? Please ask the planning committee members/ course directors of this school to reconsider the selection and let them post the details of the total number of candidates applied, who’s who. Make sure that everything is transparent. More Tendulkars are playing in the road side, but only upper hands are coming to the limelight. I am sure more Arvind Kejrivals will also come out in Science too if you people are making transparent and genuine decisions.

Dear Colleagues,

Greetings from a fellow colleague! This is about the experience I had with our Indian funding agencies that are responsible for the growth our country in Science and Technology. Hope, you are also sailing in the same boat.  As you, the teacher, working in colleges/institutions must be aware of these annoying situations in India. I would like to bring the following for your kind notice and immediate action and follow-up

i)                    DST had convened a meeting in Goa University couple of years ago where there were good number of principal investigators (PIs) have been invited to present their project proposals. Almost 90% of the PIs attended this meeting are from the so called ‘big’ institutions (IITs, IISc, IISER, NITs R&D labs ) and some Universities and a few colleges. I was one among the several PIs from a college. In my turn, the PACs have asked me to present my proposal. I did it well to my heart. The PAC members as usual, asked questions and I was answering to their weapon like sharp questions. Members were started squeezing me and scolding me like anything. The thing is that whether you fund my project or not, what is the point in hurting a teacher like me. At one point of time, some PAC members started asking me few embarrassing questions sarcastically that “you are the only person carrying out research in this area with 22 periods of workload per week”. It is true that, to my knowledge, we were the only group in India doing research in Ferromagnetic shape memory alloy (FSMA) polymer composites (as of 2010, my first paper appeared in 2005 in ‘smart materials and structure’) and we have published good number of papers too which are on par with the ‘big’ institutions. We did this work with minimal facilities (college teacher must be knowing the infrastructure of their institutes).  


ii)                  In the same DST proposal I wrote in the national status mentioning that “ this FSMA composite” work has yet to be carried out in India. Then couple of PACs members said, “see, this proposal is going to be submitted in the Govt. of India gazette, you are NOT supposed to write like this”…I just wrote the National status, in fact, the basics of FSMA have been carried out by a few groups only NOT the applications of this research. I tried to convince the committee, but you know, all members were the so called ‘big’ people, you will never satisfy these guys, why? They are underestimating the college teachers that new work must be initiated only by the ‘big’ people. Here, my question to the PAC members are i) How many funded projects you have completed from the date of joining of your parent institute? ii) How much is the quantum of money you received from various funding agencies in India? iii) What are deliverables you have submitted to the Indian Govt from the project grants? iv) How many papers you have published in reputed journals having impact factor more than TWO? v) Have you ever thought of the teaching workload which is allotted to you, it will be, I am sure, very little, say, 2-3 hours in a WEEK? vi) Do you know the teaching load of a college teacher, still, they are publishing papers on par with ‘big’ institutions with minimal or no facilities to carry out research? vii) Will the PAC members come to a remote college to work for one semester and publish papers? Viii) You know who you are that is why you people are asking sarcastic questions to the PIs.


iii)                Recently, another DST meeting for the same (where new PIs presented) was held at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar on 26.09.2013.  One senior most professor from SINP has asked me “ already you have carried out this project funded by CSIR and DRDO”, the pity is that without reading what is there in my proposal he was asking this question. Then, I politely answered him, sir that projects were on the basic science, the one I am presenting now is application oriented project…still, his body language conveyed a message to me like … ok …what to do, proceed? WHAT YOU MEAN BY THIS SIR? (I don’t’ want to mention his name, if required please refer the committee chairman who is heading a R&D organization in Bangalore).


iv)                In the same meeting, another responsible person of our IIT has squeezed me stating that the concepts you are proposing will not be worked and you cannot implement it systematically. If so, again, why you have invited to present my proposal, now question comes, again, whether you read my proposal before coming to the PAC meeting. I am sure it will be a big NO, because they will not find time to read these projects. Even during the presentations most of the members were on their mobile phones talking to “improve science in India”. This IIT Professor told me that “your proposed techniques cannot applied to this material”, I replied, sir there are good number of papers published in the same area using the same concepts, I showed him some publications too. He said, I will not accept it, then if this is the case this professor has to suggest what I have to do.  Another women Scientific officer from BARC has said, “ no no you cannot apply this to this material”, fine. Tell me something fruitfully. This Bhubaneswar meeting ends with delicious food and TA. DST members told us that the results will be announced in 30-40 days (meeting held on 26.09.13, this petition date is 11.12.13, DST announces its decision throuhg email on 16.12.2013). DST, asuaual, emailed to all the PIs (those who are not selected) stating that "your project proposal has not been recommended for funding"; fine. However, we are repeatedly asking the funding agencies including DST to give the reviewers' comments so as to improve our 'writings'. The national science funding agencies are not ready to listen to the teachers...please DST, send the comments to the respective PIs; why not funded and why supported.


v)                  “ARE YOU JOKIING MR FUNDING AGENCY”?


vi)                In a CSIR meeting of the similar kind, a senior most professor from IISc who has all the nano money of India, it seems, has shouted at me by comparing a few PIs of IITs. Still…to come…


vii)              UGC has a different view that in one of the mid-review meetings, the experts have asked me how many papers you have published, I said, two. Then they have instructed me to use the instruments sanctioned by the UGC and publish papers. The pity is that they have sanctioned 75000.00 (seventy five thousand rupees) for the instruments. I am asking the same question to these experts, will you please publish papers with the money what you have sanctioned? “ARE YOU JOKIING MR FUNDING AGENCY”?


viii)            I had a phone call from our DRDO office too..that is a very big story. Still, I have completed couple of projects funded by this agency…

Respected expert members please think of the situation of a college teacher, visit some colleges in India and work there for atleast one semester. If the members are positive you can do wonder in research if you could see the practicability and the potentials of good teachers working in colleges.  It will be good if you could try to fund quantum of money to all the teachers who are submitting project proposals. Atleast 80% of  the proposals can be funded; you can send a separate circular to all the colleges in India, NOT through its parent University.

1.                  The idea is that I am sure a particular 'teacher' will be able to publish atleast couple of papers during the project period. Think of the number of colleges in India. This will boost up the publications record of our Nation.  

2.                  Just to attract more teachers to submit project proposals, please think of giving honorarium to the Principal Investigators; this practice is there in most of the western and European countries.

3.                  Funds can be channelized to all instead of the "Premier" higher learning institutions.  

4.                  Requests the expert members (during the project presentation/ review meeting) not to hurt the presenters (mostly, sarcasm). This will affect the 'teachers' not to try again. I am sure we should be conscious in our stuff; still presenters are being squeezed like anything. Why?  

5.                  Your project proposal has "not been recommended", why? Please give reasons to improve our 'writings' and presentations. However, we used to receive comments from journals for our manuscripts.



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