The i3c BRIC-RCB PhD Programme in Biosciences
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The i3c BRIC-RCB PhD Programme in Biosciences

Introduction

A need was felt to establish a nationally cohesive, interdisciplinary Ph.D. programme in biosciences to expand the scale of generating highly skilled, globally competitive human resource. It was envisioned that the trained human resource produced through this programme would be better equipped to provide bioscience-based pioneering solutions to contemporary problems relevant nationally and globally. The main objective of the proposed programme would be to foster greater academic and research interaction among the institutions of the DBT BRIC (iBRICs), RCB and ICGEB, and to increase the professional networking opportunities for the Ph.D. scholars.

Programme Overview

The objectives of the i3C BRIC-RCB Ph.D. programme in biosciences will be catalysed by enrolling highly talented Ph.D. scholars in foundational coursework along with training in high-end technology platforms for the first semester at RCB. The new Ph.D. programme would be on the blueprint of the ongoing RCB Ph.D. programme but with significant novel content, while leveraging the academic and infrastructural strengths of RCB and the iBRICs. The programme will be governed by RCB statutes, ordinances and regulations, while aligning with the latest UGC regulations in terms of eligibility, duration, and coursework credit requirements. The Ph.D. programme would

also include a relevant immersion programme (field internship) for an additional three months immediately following the first semester of coursework. This immersion programme is expected to provide practical exposure to the scholars in areas of societal need to enable them to productively integrate into the professional biotechnology enterprise and create a transformative human resource pool that will shape the future. The doctoral research with the respective supervisors in the iBRICs, RCB or ICGEB will follow the coursework and internship.

About The i3c BRIC-RCB Ph.D. Programme

A need was felt to establish a nationally cohesive, interdisciplinary Ph.D. programme in biosciences to expand the scale of generating highly skilled, globally competitive human resource. It was envisioned that the trained human resource produced through this programme would be better equipped to provide bioscience-based pioneering solutions to contemporary problems relevant nationally and globally. The main objective of the proposed programme would be to foster greater academic and research interaction among the institutions of the DBT BRIC (iBRICs), RCB and ICGEB, and to increase the professional networking opportunities for the Ph.D. scholars.

Key Highlights

  • The collaborative initiative between the Institutions of BRIC (iBRIC), RCB and ICGEB aims to promote excellence in biotechnology research and education in India.
  • The programme provides extensive learning opportunities in the fields of life sciences and biotechnology through classroom and online teaching, workshops and hands-on training in high- end technology platforms.
  • It offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. programme in Biosciences to students with a Master’s degree in Life Sciences as well as Medicine graduates & BTech/BE in non-biological sciences.
  • It includes a three-month immersion programme, supported by a generous additional grant, to expose students to real-world challenges and aims to foster a culture of innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship among young scientists.

The new i3C BRIC-RCB Ph.D. programme is expected to include highly talented students from backgrounds in the broad fields encompassing biotechnology, medicine and engineering. There will be two proposed tracks of entry into the programme.

Track I

Number of seats: Up to 70

Fellowship emoluments: As per extant fellowship norms of the respective funding agency

Educational qualification: Indian/ international (e.g. TWAS) students with an MSc/ MTech in any of Life Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, MPharm, MVSc, MBBS or an equivalent degree would be eligible to apply. An aggregate score of 55% or an equivalent grade in the preceding qualifying degree examination would be a necessary qualification (with a 5% relaxation for SC/ST/OBC- NCL/differently-abled allowed as per extant statutory norms). Four-year undergraduates from all of the above disciplines are also eligible as per UGC guidelines.

Selection Criteria:

Admission to the i3C BRIC-RCB Ph.D. programme in biosciences would require qualification in a national level fellowship examination such as the DBT-BET, CSIR-JRF, UGC-JRF, ICMR-JRF, or similar, which provides a five-year valid fellowship for pursuing a Ph.D. tenable at any of the iBRICs, RCB or ICGEB. Eligible applicants will be screened and shortlisted for interviews to be conducted around June-July each year.

Track II

Up to ten additional fellowships are likely to be instituted to encourage engineering (BTech/BE) and medicine graduates (MBBS) to apply to the programme. Undergraduates in any branch of engineering (BTech/ BE) or medicine (MBBS) with 55 % aggregate marks in the preceding qualifying degree examination would be a necessary qualification (with a 5% relaxation for SC/ST/OBC-NCL/differently-abled allowed as per extant statutory norms). The selection process will involve a separate written examination and/or an interview.

Allotment of institution and Ph.D. supervisor

The selected students will be assigned iBRIC institutions and Ph.D. supervisors along with their admission offer. The assignment of supervisors and iBRIC institutions will be made based on the interview merit scores and the students’ preferred research areas and supervisors, which would be submitted by the student prior to the interviews. It is expected that about five students from the programme will join each iBRIC/RCB/ICGEB in the first year, totaling about 75 students. All students inducted into this programme will receive their Ph.D. degree from RCB.

Registration and enrolment

The selected students will take admission at the assigned institutions and report to RCB Faridabad for registration and the first semester of coursework. A one-page description of the Ph.D. project, prepared in consultation with the assigned supervisor in a prescribed format, would need to be submitted along with the registration. Selected students will be housed at RCB- administered accommodation for the first semester, during which all campus facilities available to RCB students will be made available to the selected students. These include twin shared, off- campus leased accommodation, transport to and from the campus, meal facilities in the mess and cafeterias, access to campus medical facilities, and access to library, IT, and sports facilities.

Allotment of institution and Ph.D. supervisor

The selected students will be provided counselling at RCB and assigned iBRIC institutions and Ph.D. supervisors along with their admission offer. The assignment of supervisors and iBRIC institutions will be made based on the interview merit scores and the students’ preferred research areas and supervisors, which would be submitted by the student prior to the interviews. In order to streamline the process, each iBRIC would be requested to provide the available list of supervisors before each admission cycle. It is expected that about five students from the programme will join each iBRIC/RCB/ICGEB in the first year, totaling about 75 students. Since all students inducted into this programme will receive their Ph.D. degrees from RCB, BRIC/ each iBRIC would be required to maintain an academic affiliation with RCB. Similarly, each iBRIC supervisor is also required to be an adjunct (affiliated) faculty of RCB.

Registration and enrolment

The selected students will register with RCB immediately after admission and be required to activate their Ph.D. fellowships. A one-page broad description of the Ph.D. project, prepared in consultation with the assigned supervisor in a prescribed format, would need to be submitted along with the registration. The selected students will also be required to activate their respective Ph.D. fellowships directly through their respective parent iBRICs. During the scholars’ stay at RCB in the first semester, RCB will provide the monthly attendance record to the respective institutions to facilitate fellowship disbursement from the funding agencies. Selected students will be housed at RCB-administered accommodation for the first semester, during which all campus facilities available to RCB students will be made available to the selected students. These include twin shared, off-campus leased accommodation, transport to and from the campus, meal facilities in the mess and cafeterias, access to campus medical and counselling facilities, and access to library, IT, and sports facilities.

The courses offered in the first semester at RCB (~August to December) will be taught by RCB and iBRIC faculty members and external experts. In line with current UGC guidelines, students will be expected to complete 12 (twelve) mandatory credits during the coursework. The overall structure of the course is outlined below:

Compulsory courses – 9 credits

  • Research methodology (4 credits) – theory
  • Science communication and ethics (2 credits) – theory
  • Biostatistics with computation (3 credits) – theory
  • High-end instrumentation

Optional (elective) courses: one mandatory

  • Biochemistry (3 credits)
  • Molecular biology (3 credits)
  • Cell and developmental biology (3 credits)
  • Microbiology (3 credits)
  • Basic neuroscience (3 credits)
  • Basic immunology (3 credits)
  • Basic plant biology (3 credits)
  • A selection of online courses

The three-month mandatory immersive field internships will follow the first semester of coursework. Students will be required to submit a report to RCB and the concerned iBRIC at the end of the internship.

High-end platform technology courses in modern biotechnology

Training modules will be provided on high-end instrumentation facilities at the Advanced Technology Platform Centre (ATPC) of RCB and iBRIC facilities. The purpose of this module is to acclimatise scholars to the latest technology platforms being used in modern biosciences, such as protein purification, optical imaging, flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, data analysis, next-generation genomics.

These modules will be taught by dedicated, qualified technical personnel who will be recruited for this purpose. These training modules represent a novel component of the doctoral coursework pioneered through this programme.

Monitoring Ph.D. research progress

The supervision of the thesis will be conducted by the designated Ph.D. supervisor at one of the iBRICs/ RCB/ ICGEB. A thesis committee (student advisory committee, or SAC), constituted for each student as per RCB norms, will regularly monitor the research progress.

An annual conclave will be held for scholars and supervisors at iBRICs/ RCB/ ICGEB in rotation. Each registered scholar will be required to participate in two such conclaves during the third and fifth years of their Ph.D. tenure. Third year students will present posters of their research. Fifth year students will make oral presentations of their research work. Poster and oral presentation prizes will be presented to recognize meritorious work. Participating students may meet the expenses related to attending the conclave from their respective fellowship contingency funds.

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1 COMMENT

  1. If we don’t have any clearance of exam like any kind of jrf… So can we apply it or not?

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