The University Grants Commission (UGC) has embarked on an ambitious project to retain the best talent in the research and teaching of higher education and to promote quality faculty in universities and colleges. The Commission has taken an initiative to expand its fellowship programme substantially to encompass Central and State universities, general students as well as those from socially disadvantaged groups.
The UGC also appointed a sub-committee to explore options. At the moment, the UGC offers about 1,600 Junior Research Fellowships under National Eligibility Test (NET) in Humanities and Social Sciences and Sciences, and another 50 in Engineering and Technology. It also operates about 2,000 fellowships for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes sponsored by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and 1,000 post-doctoral fellowships.
The expansion plans include fellowships for students pursuing M.Phil. and Ph.D. for all Central universities. The fellowship amount would be provided under development grant to be placed at the disposal of the Vice-Chancellors of the Central universities. There will be at least 3,000 fellowships for Ph.D. students in State universities. There will also be 1,500 fellowships for science education and more fellowships will be provided for social sciences. The UGC is also implementing the Rajiv Gandhi Fellowship for SC/ST students pursuing their Ph.D.