University of Delhi professor Sathyabhama Das Biju, also popularly known as the “Frogman of India,” has been named among the fifty worldwide Radcliffe Fellows at Harvard University for 2023-2024. This fellowship will allow him to extend his research on the conservation of amphibian species in the Indian subcontinent at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study in the upcoming academic year.

The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University is a highly prestigious research institution that selects fifty fellows each academic year who “demonstrate an extraordinary level of accomplishment in their work” and grants them a year-long stipend to fulfil their respective projects amidst an interdisciplinary setup and the immense resources of Harvard. It is a highly competitive fellowship, with acceptance rates falling as low as three percent. Amidst this statistic, the University of Delhi professor, Sathyabhama Das Biju, who is currently the head of the Systematic Labs at the Department of Environmental Studies, has been named for the award for the academic year 2023-2024.

It can be noted that this year’s Radcliffe cohort is highly diverse and involves talented minds from around the globe, with one fellow from India in Biological Sciences, Professor Biju. With an interdisciplinary focus, the Fellowship Programme brings together scholars from a range of fields such as the humanities, arts, sciences, and even writers and journalists to pursue their work in a concentrated way amidst the intellectual and resource-rich, vibrant environment of the Harvard-Radcliffe community. Past fellows have included intellectuals and academicians like Jill Lepore, Samantha Power, Zadie Smith, Elizabeth Warren, and the Nobel laureate Michael Kremer.

After kick-starting his career as a plant systematist at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute in 1992, Professor Biju quickly shifted to amphibian research in 2000 and joined Franky Bossuyt at the Amphibian Evolution Lab in Brussels. From then on, his career faced an upward progression, with him discovering 100 new species and formally describing 96 new species, eight new genera, and two new families of amphibians in the span of a decade. His work came into international limelight with the creation of his conservation projects, namely, the Western Ghats Network of Protected Areas of Threatened Amphibians (WNPATA) and the Lost Amphibians of India (LAI), to save rapidly vanishing amphibians in the South Asian subcontinent. Moreover, his works were advanced in terms of collaborating molecular techniques with traditional methods, thus coinciding with international practise in amphibian research. His efforts have also resolved long-standing taxonomic issues in difficult amphibian groups like those of frogs.

At Harvard, Prof. Biju will be able to pursue his work on species conservation and identify further amphibian biodiversity hotspots in the Indian subcontinent while engaging in on-site collaboration with Harvard faculty, postdocs, and students and exploring the Museum of Comparative Zoology in the upcoming year.

Professor Biju is the sixtieth fellow representing Biological Sciences in the 23 years of this programme and only the second fellow in this discipline from India, a reflection of his vast contribution to the arena of amphibian research and exploration and his immense passion and potential to save India’s shrinking amphibian biodiversity in the future.

Read also: DU Professor Nominated for Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence Programme

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Priyanka Mukherjee

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The National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) has announced the launch of a fellowship on public policy, the “Future of India”, which would start in June.

A press statement dated 2nd of May 2018, by current in-charge of NSUI, Ruchi Gupta, who is also the Joint Secretary of the All India Congress Committee, announced the launch of this new initiative by NSUI. The fellowship is open to all students and young professionals under the age of 30, the statement said.

When asked about the manifestations of this four-week fellowship, Ruchi Gupta said, “The fellows will get an opportunity to interact with thinkers and practitioners such as P. Chidambaram, Salman Khurshid, Sam Pitroda, Jairam Ramesh, Shashi Tharoor, Sachin Pilot among others.”

The DU Beat correspondent was informed by the members of the NSUI that the applications for the course would be open from 1st May 2018, and shortlisted candidates will be informed before 31st May 2018. The course is scheduled to be held from 11th June to 6th July 2018, in Delhi. They told DU Beat that interested students can apply for the fellowship through the official website of the NSUI.

According to the sources, some of the topics to be covered during the fellowship include public administration and management, bridging the “Bharat vs. India” divide, the legal system, the role of the state (in ensuring equality), the fundamentals of democratic countries, conflict management in a democracy, electoral management, and power politics.”

The fellowship is aimed towards providing the youth not just an overview of the key policy challenges facing our country but also the tools to deconstruct, analyse and understand the politics behind the policies.

The fellowship, whose course will combine theory with field visits and practical assignments, will focus on developing an understanding of the political considerations and the implications of different policy choices to build a new generation of liberal and democratic young leaders across India.

Feauture Image Credits: The Asian Page

Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

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Born and brought up in Delhi, 24-year-old Mallika Arya took the fellowship of Teach For India (TFI) with the humble thoughts of bringing a change in the lives of underprivileged children. She did her schooling from Vasant Valley School and graduated in B.A. Psychology Honours from Lady Shri Ram College for Women. She worked with TFI for two years before taking a gap year to travel. She is currently pursuing her masters in sustainability from the University of Sydney.

In conversation with her, she answered these questions:

Q. What made you decide to join the fellowship?
A. I was a volunteer in a TFI classroom when I was in college and also a part of Project Leap (which later became I Foundation) and that’s when I decided that I wanted to do the fellowship once I graduated. I wanted my own class, my own students, and I wanted to create the change that I had seen in so many classrooms with TFI fellows. I worked with the mindset that I would lead the change and create magic for those kids. I came out of the fellowship with a totally different view – I only went in there as an enabler,and in the end I didn’t create the magic. The kids did it on their own, and the journey with them was life-changing not just for them but also for me.

Q. What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
A. The challenges I faced included not being accepted by some stakeholders. I was extremely lucky to have a co-fellow who had similar dreams. Both of us worked hard together to build relationships with the other teachers. We would make conscious efforts to sit with everyone else during break time and share our ideas, lesson plans, and assessment sheets. Another challenge for us had been to get the parents of the students to understand some of our unconventional teaching methods. There were regular community visits and we were often involved in calling the parents and going home for surprise visits or even just inviting the parents to come and sit in some of the classes.

Q. When did you start seeing changes (that you set for yourself) in your students? Could you recall any exact moments?
A. Looking back at the fellowship now, I think the kids taught me more than I taught them. They taught me to be patient and brought out a creative side to me which I didn’t know even existed! I hated math and science in school, maybe because of the way it was taught, but those were my favourite lessons with my kids. We would go outside and study under the trees. We started a little community garden to see how we could make compost with food waste and that really showed the kids that the solutions to a lot of problems can be found in the little things we do everyday. There were difficult days as well, but on those days it was the kids who pushed me through the rough times.

Q. What did you learn from the fellowship and the children? How did the fellowship help you in your next steps?
A. The fellowship was monumental in helping me decide what I want to do for the rest of my life. It was through our science lessons that we really started to dive deep into environmental issues around us today. I started doing extra research and we spent days following the COP21 news and hours learning about waste and pollution. My kids understood it all so well and wanted to do something about it so badly that it made me introspect my role towards saving the environment. I was immensely passionate about it, and here I am now doing my masters in sustainability in Sydney! It all goes back to my experiences in the classroom and if I hadn’t been a teacher to those 25 amazing little beings I don’t know where I would be today!

Inspired by Mallika’s story? Apply to be a fellow. Last date of application is 4th February 2018.


Feature Image Credits: TFI

Delhi University recently floated its guidelines for the UGC Non-Fellowship scheme. The Scheme is applicable for M.Phil. and Ph.D. students who are not in receipt of any financial assistance from anywhere and are also registered with the University under various departments.

The award and its extension shall be subject to “actual release of funds” from the UGC and all the conditions must be conformed with in order to avail it. The University holds the right to cancel the fellowship and recover the amount paid if the candidate doesn’t meet the terms stated.

For M. Phil. students the maximum number of fellowships to be granted will be 25+1 PWD (the maximum admissible limit including English Department). They will be awarded Non NET fellowship of Rs 5000 per month with contingency of Rs 10000 per year for Science Students and Rs. 8000 per year for Humanities and Social Science students.

Ph. D students will be entitled to Rs. 8000 per month as Fellowship and contingency of Rs. 10000 for social students and Rs 8000 for Humanities and Social Science students.

For fresh awards, scholars are required to submit their application to the “Scholarship Cell, recommended by DRC and forwarded by the concerned Head of Department within six months of registering in the programs.  The maximum span will be 4 years for Ph.D. and 18 months for M.Phil or completion of viva voce or dissertation, whichever is earlier.

The rejected applicants can apply afresh next year for Fellowship. The rejected period will be counted towards Fellowship span period.

The Fellowship will be cancelled if the candidate fails to qualify in semester exam and the Fellowship will be suspended till he/she is qualified. No Fellowship shall be paid for the period taken to qualify it but it will be counted towards total Fellowship span.

Maximum leave granted for the scholars shall be 30 days in a year excluding the public holidays (making them ineligible to take vacations). Women candidates are eligible for maternity leave of 135 days at full rates of fellowship provided they meet the criteria of attendance as per rules. While in other cases leave without Fellowship is restricted to a period of three months only and not more than that.

The award can be cancelled in case candidate is found:

  • Guilty of misconduct
  • Scholar found ineligible later
  • Scholar switched from full time to part time course
  • Unauthorized leave other than admissible
  • Unsatisfactory progress report and recommendation of cancellation by department

For other rules and regulations, please visit the official Delhi University website.

The Vice Chancellor Fellowship Programme for the calendar year 2014 has been announced by the University of Delhi. This programme aims at drawing academic talents amongst the faculty base of Delhi University. Permanent academic employees of DU under the age of 45 have to undergo a rigorous process to be selected among the 10 Vice Chancellor Fellows. These ten fellows are then based at Cluster Innovation Centre and conduct learning and research work for Delhi University.

The fellowship majorly aims at creating technology based open learning modules for massive numbers of students on open platforms in partnership with leading institutions on a worldwide basis. It also looks at “developing meaningful ideas, ways and means of providing instruction in the Foundation and Application Courses under the new undergraduate programme through technology based platforms or through production of reading/learning material in collaboration with leading international institutions.”

For this fellowship, about 95 academics applied for the programme that was announced in November 2013. The selected teachers for this year are Mahima Kaushik (Ramjas College, Chemistry), Monika Koul (Hansraj College, Botany), Neha Sharma (Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Computer and Electronics), Anant Pandey (Sri Venkateswara College, Physics), Swarn Singh (Sri Venkateswara College, Mathematics), Priyanka Pandey (Gargi College, Botany), Pankaj Khanna (Acharya Narendra Dev College, Chemistry), Suman Dudeja (Acharya Narendra Dev College, Chemistry), Meetakshi Pant (Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Commerce) and Shankar Kumar (Hindu College, History). Sri Venkateswara College is the only college with two fellows in this programme.

“I am very elated and excited to work at this level among sharp people from different backgrounds in a good and conducive working environment. It is an exciting opportunity to look beyond one subject and produce something in a trans-disciplinary way”, said Mr. Shankar Kumar, Associate Professor at Hindu College who is selected for the fellowship. He also happens to be the only professor from humanities background among the ten chosen academics. On the research related to FYUP for the fellowship he said,” I see myself as someone associated with FYUP from its inception and the idea is to infuse the changes by content building, collaborative research and technological platforms by reaching out to a multitude of students.”

These 10 teachers will be relieved of their responsibilities at their respective colleges once they start working for the fellowship. These fellows are expected ‘to provide big impulse to five flagship programmes of Delhi University’ and ‘create learning programmes and activities that are significantly in tune with modern technology based programmes’ as per the announcement made by the Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University.

Daryaganj is a bittersweet journey. As the day commences, it reminds us of a past that seems within our grasp, and as the sun sets, a far-away past who’s good is interred with its bones. Fittingly then, on Lord’s Day, there is a resurrection, but of a different kind. Push-carts and cartons spill over with history, of tales of our truth and lies. The footfalls on the path increase in all kinds of volume, some tales are picked up while the others get buried again, only to be re-told on another day. And we scurry along, to capture this graveyard shift, to stitch it again with the fabric of the city.

Faint stirrings of the dawn when the dead awaken…
…Man sits up to a distant rumbling.
The streets begin clearing with the coming of the hour…
But the bearer still sleeps with his feet in the clouds.
The cobwebs melt away with the morning dew…
With which the undertaker stirs his magical brew.
The doors open, drawing out another world of truths and lies…
…Of forgotten dreams that broke on forgotten mornings, the hearse ferries them to life.
The merchants of sacrilege, burst the coffins open and the tomes rise.
The doors are locked in vain as the pages continue to proliferate; The passerby looks on in horror.
And the outnumbered man, in dismay.
But, the brew is ready to be served and the graveyard shift is in motion.

About the project: When a banker, an architect, a space designer, a pharmacist and two engineers come together, they capture poetry in pictures. Project Daryaganj is a product of the visual communication initiative by the Young India Fellowship Programme. 100 fellows from diverse backgrounds have come together to capture the essence of Delhi under the banner project of “Dastaan Ae Dilli”. For more such work on the Delhi we love, do visit  https://www.facebook.com/YIF.Dilli.

With the whole campus shifting its focus to the global scenario: international internships, foreign exchange programmes, internships with MNCs et al doing the rounds, a rural fellowship programme is quick to turn a few heads and raise a curious eye.

Poultry and pastures are perhaps the first thing that would come to ones mind when asked to define the term ‘rural’. However,a rural fellowship and the projects associated with it venture much deeper. Rural fellowships give you a chance to explore as well as study rural India in actuality. Also, the fellows are given an opportunity to work on the various issues directly concerning the particular region assigned to them. These projects generally address a range of issues  from microfinance, education, health and sanitation to child labour and agriculture .

What makes this programme so unique from is that one gets a first hand experience: instead of working on the issue from the comfort of your air conditioned room like any other ordinary work, you will the get the opportunity to reside with your host NGO in the village itself and work and live with the people, like the people, and study the problems of rural economy upfront.

iVolunteer India, in partnership with Sir Ratan Tata’s Trust, selects up to 20 students every year to go for a youth fellowship programme for six weeks to villages across the  country. The primary aim of all the fellows is to help make a difference in rural India by virtue of their talent and education.  As part of this year’s recently held fellowship programme, students from all over the varsity including colleges like Kirori mal college, Sri Venkateswara College St. Stephens. ,worked on  a variety of projects such as child rights in Dehradun ,microfinance and livelihood, Shubhangi Shukla from Miranda House is still helping to promote art as a subject in the region of Kumaon where they children have never seen a set of crayons in their life. States Udisha Saklani, a second year student of St. Stephens who worked in on a water and sanitation project in Uttarakhand, “This exposure should be mandatory for every student, as it helps you both on a personal and professional level and sensitizes you towards bigger, more real issues that apparently sixty percent of our economy suffers from. This fellowship helped me become aware of the same.” Deepti Khera, a mass communication student from Mumbai worked in the village of Kolwan, Pune with autistic and schizophrenic people. “It was a life changing experience. I initially felt odd living with the special friends 24/7. I was also hit by an autistic person. But I realized how much more sensitive these special people are than us. “, she says. The fellowship also further inspired her to get into rural reporting. Also, her experience helped her gain admission in one of the top five mass communication institutes of India. Thus, one cannot deny that a rural fellowship does wonders for your CV., especially if seeking a scholarship in universities abroad.

For those dynamic ones ready to sample India for what it really is, rural fellowships are an excellent avenue providing a zing to your resume and an opportunity to do something meaningful with your time.