Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) is an innovative programme sponsored and managed by the Department of Science & Technology for attraction of talent to Science. The basic objective of INSPIRE is to communicate to the youth of the country the excitements of creative pursuit of science, attract talent to the study of science at an early age and thus build the required critical human resource pool for strengthening and expanding the Science & Technology system and R&D base.
A striking feature of the programme is that it does not believe in conducting competitive exams for identification of talent at any level. It believes in and relies on the efficacy of the existing educational structure for identification of talent.
The strength of the innovation infrastructure of a nation has enormous significance in the competition among emerging knowledge economies.The realization of Vision 2020 calls for action and a well designed innovation infrastructure.
Generation and nurturing of a human talent pool capable of utilizing and developing first principles in science is both a pre-condition and integral part of such an innovation infrastructure. An India specific model for attracting talent with an aptitude for research and innovation, for a career in Basic & Natural sciences is required. INSPIRE is an innovative programme developed by the the Department of Science & Technology to attract talent to the excitement and study of science at an early age, and to help the country build the required critical resource pool for strengthening and expanding the S&T system and R&D base. It is a programme with long term foresight.
INSPIRE has three components:
- Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS)
- Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE)
- Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC)
Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS)
Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS) aims at attracting talented youth to study science by providing INSPIRE Award, to experience the joy of innovations, of Rs.5,000/- to one million young learners in the age group 10-15 years. There shall be annual Summer/Winter Camps for about 50,000 youth at more than 100 locations, for toppers in Class X board examinations for exposure with global leaders in Science, through INSPIRE Internship.
In order to seed and experience the joy of innovation, every year two lakh school children in the age-group of 10 to 15 years i.e., 6th to 10th standards are being identified for the INSPIRE Award. Each INSPIRE Award envisions an investment of Rs.5,000/- per child. The scheme plans to reach at least two students per secondary school during the next five years.
Basic Guidelines for MANAK Awards
INSPIRE Award shall have following guidelines for its implementation:
- The Award for the students in the class of 6th to 10th Standards.
- No examination in the identification process. Names of the Students will be nominated by the Principal/Headmaster/Headmistress.
- One million awards in five years spread over to about 4.5 lakhs Middle & Secondary level schools in the country.
- Each student will get an amount of Rs 5000 for making a Project and transportation cost for displaying the exhibits/ project in the exhibition.
- There will exhibitions at the District Level, State Level, Regional level and National
- Level for displaying the best exhibit/project of each level. Separate budget provision will be made to District/ State for arranging the exhibition of projects of INSPIRE
- Awardees at District & State level.
- Award money will be released directly to the Awardees by an arrangement with SBI.
- The concerned State will provide the list of all Middle & Secondary level Schools including in Government/Government aided/Private etc.
- Names of one selected student each from Classes 6th, 7th & 8th in one Group and 9th & 10th in another Group of each School with an indication of preferred one name from each Group, viz. 6th -8th Std. and 9th -10th Std. will be provided by the Headmaster/Headmistress/Principal of each School through respective State Education departments.
- State Education Department will exercise their convenient method of selection of students from each school in the State. Both academic records of the student and exhibition/project done by the student would be preferred in the selection process.
- Criteria used by the State will be shared with DST.
- DST shall bear the cost of organizing the Exhibitions at the District & State Level and also make the necessary arrangements for engaging Scientists/Academicians as Jury in these Exhibitions.
“Motivating talented youth to take-up research as a personal undertaking” by rubbing shoulders with global icons of science including Nobel Prize Winners, is the objective of INSPIRE Internship. This component of the programme aims at working as a life-long catalysing experience for the 11th graders in science stream.
Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE)
Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE) aims at attracting talented youth into undertaking higher education in science intensive programmes, by providing scholarships and mentoring through ‘summer attachment’ to performing researchers. The scheme offers 10,000 scholarships every year @ Rs 0.80 lakh per year to talented youth in the age group 17-22 years, for undertaking Bachelor and Masters level education in Natural and Basic sciences.
However, the 18 Science subject such as (1) Physics, (2) Chemistry, (3) Mathematics, (4) Biology, (5) Statistics, (6) Geology, (7) Astrophysics, (8) Astronomy, (9) Electronics, (10) Botany, (11) Zoology, (12) Bio-chemistry, (13) Anthropology, (14) Microbiology, (15) Geophysics, (16) Geochemistry, (17) Atmospheric Sciences and (18) Oceanic Sciences, either as major/honours or their combination in BSc/Integrated MSc/Integrated MS course will be under the scope of INSPIRE Scholarship. The main feature of the scheme is mentorship support being planned for every scholar through INSPIRE scholarship.
Assured Opportunity for Research Careers
Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC) aims at attracting, attaching, retaining and nourishing talented young scientific Human Resource to strengthened the R&D foundation and base by offering doctoral INSPIRE Fellowship in the age group 22-27 years, in both Basic and Applied sciences (including engineering and medicine). It also aims at assuring opportunities for post-doctoral researchers through a scheme (similar to the New Blood programme of the Royal Society of UK) through contractual and tenure track positions for five years in both Basic and Applied sciences areas through an INSPIRE Faculty Scheme.
INSPIRE fellowship aims at enhancing research fellowships for doctoral studies and opening up partnerships with private sector for topping the Government’s efforts in nurturing talents for scientific research. This scheme is applicable to Basic and Applied sciences as well as Medicine, Agriculture etc. with provision of multiple entries. The fellowship will be offered to (1) University 1st Ranker in a particular subject at PG level examination in Basic and Applied Science courses as well as (2) INSPIRE scholar, who have secured aggregate marks of 65 % are above at the 2 year MSc or 5 year Integrated MSc/MS.
INSPIRE Faculty Scheme
INSPIRE Faculty Scheme opens up an ‘Assured Opportunity for Research Career (AORC)’ for young researchers in the age group of 27-32 years. It is expected to augment high quality scientific manpower in scientific and educational institutions. It provides attractive opportunities to young achievers for developing independent scientific profiles and intends helping them emerge as S&T leaders in the long term. The Scheme offers contractual research positions. It provides career opportunities, but it is not a guarantee for tenure positions after 5 years.