Top academic brains celebrate the journey of ‘Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship’

Students, academicians, govt officials attended the eighth conclave of Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship organized by the National Institute of Plant Genome Research on behalf of Department of Biotechnology at New Delhi

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New Delhi: On the successful completion of ten years of Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) hosted 8th Conclave meeting to celebrate the achievements and revisit the journey of the programme over the years. The Conclave was organized by National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR) during 15th to 17th February 2018 on behalf of DBT at New Delhi.

On 15th February, Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DBT and Department of Science and Technology (DST) inaugurated the programme. In his inaugural address, he expressed his happiness in the success of fellowship programmes like Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship and Ramanujan Fellowships. He also added that “in the past tools of other streams of science were used to solve the biological problem. In today’s world tools of biology should be used to solve the problem of many other streams of science.”

In his keynote address former secretary of DBT, Dr M K Bhan, added that “Ramalingaswami fellowship has been successful in creating leader of science and innovation. He also emphasized the importance of providing an environment for creating true science leaders in the country.

Dr Ramesh Sonti, Director, NIPGR in his welcome address said that “Ramalingaswami Fellowship is a great success just because of support and effort of the DBT.”

Dr Meenakshi Munshi, Adviser DBT, gave an overview of the Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship. She informed that this Fellowship is a pioneer in initiating National Goiter Control Programme, National Iodine Deficiency Control Programme, Intra-uterine Iodine deficiency Control Programme, National Anaemia Control Programme, Discovery of new syndrome of liver diseases ‘non-cirrhotic portal hypertension’ and Indian Childhood Cirrhosis’.

Dr Munshi said that the programme was initiated in 2006-2007 with an objective of bringing back Indian scientists working abroad to pursue their research interests of national relevance.

The Conclave meeting monitors the progress of the fellows, provide a platform to interact, discuss and exchange innovative ideas. The program also covers keynote lectures and mentor lectures by eminent scientists of India. The mentor talks focus on how, despite all odds scientists are able to establish themselves and create a niche for themselves.

At the 8th Conclave, the scientists like Dr Deepak Gaur, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi; Dr Chetana Sachidanandan, Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi; and Dr Arnab Mukhopadhyay, National Institute of Immunology (NII), New Delhi shared their experiences as a Ramalingaswami Fellow.

The directors and vice-chancellors from universities across India had also been invited to discuss on improving the ecosystem provided to fellows to do good science at University/host Institution level.

The overall idea of the conclave was to provide a fertile environment to the fellows, who have returned to India on terms of resources and funding. The fellows were made aware of the current scientific scenario of the country and the pressing issues that need to be immediately addressed so that the enthusiastic scientists could work together for the progress of the country.