19 Apr : From time to time you may have noticed interesting. That – reputed institutions in a majority of the professional courses have been facing a considerable dearth of well-qualified and able teachers. Even premier institutions like IITs, IIMs etc. have been facing this trouble time and again.
On the other hand we all know very well that today’s is the age of ‘information’ and ‘information is power’. Unless we keep ourselves updated with the latest developments in the field of every profession we will be professionally doomed. These, along with a few other factors are the main causes behind a new resurgence of interests of people at different levels for involving in ‘research’ – both pure and applied. This is to contribute to their own personality and thereby passing on the benefits to the society in the end.
Thus we can see a much better emphasis on research by various institutions – academic teaching institutions, dedicated research institutions, professional organizations and what not. The field is growing at several levels.
The Central government through its various academic and academic-administration related bodies are promoting serious research into both applied and pure areas.
So we can say that nowadays research is fast emerging as a lucrative career option for any upcoming young educated person anywhere across the country. A serious-minded person bent on making a profession out of research in different fields may do so with a lot of ease than otherwise as many opportunities are coming to the fore in the recent times.
Let us look at the potential in this field now.
A research study involves several persons from the beginning to end. First – the main investigator or coordinator under whom assistant or deputy investigators or coordinators work. They are supported by senior / junior research fellows, assistants, field investigators who actually carry out a major part of the data collection work under supervision of the research fellows or investigators etc.
This is up to the time of completion of data collection in field or libraries or wherever any source of data may be located for that specific area of research.
Following this, another breed of professionals is required to complete the job that is – data entry and analysis if it is a survey research. This means entering into the computer each and every response from the questionnaires in the subjects of humanities and social sciences. This is a painstaking and minute job.
Thus you can see that a whole lot of different types of jobs are available or involved in the profession of research.
Let us look at a few of the opportunities offered by different bodies for short as well as long term research. Most of you may be aware that an examination called the National Educational Testing (NET) for teaching and Junior Research Fellowship is conducted by University Grants Commission (UGC) twice every year for humanities, social science and commerce streams. The same for science subjects is conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
If a person qualifies for the JRF position he or she is awarded an adequate monthly fellowship along with lump sum annual contingency money from the time of joining a Ph D programme in any university or research institution recognized by these bodies. This is tenable for at least three years.
Further, many universities, academic and research institutions treat JRF / NET qualification as the requirement for considering a person’s candidature for any research study.
Not only this, other bodies like Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR), Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR), Indian Council for Philosophical Research (ICPR), Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru etc. also offer a good number of fellowships to postgraduates with full-time master degree courses from recognized universities. There is a provision in them also for awarding short term research fellowships for durations like six months to one year.
Reputed institutions involved in professional studies in management, mass communication etc. also regularly carry out research studies in different fields of interest in their world.
The scheme of Fellows is also important for institutions which are not conventional universities. The title of Fellow is equivalent to a Ph D degree of a conventional university.
In the recent times, this author has seen many lucrative offers being made by Indian institutions, universities for attracting people with a bent of teaching and research.
For example, institutions like National University Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA, deemed university status), New Delhi, NCERT, IGNOU, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, Bareilly, UP, are offering quite a good amount of stipend for research studies.
In other words we can say that a boom in research studies is opening up in the recent few years and is set to continue for at least for some years now. A major factor behind this is the realization among the various levels of society that there is no alternative to acquiring knowledge. And research is a major and foremost way of achieving this feat. Hence, most of the serious-minded institutions and organizations are going for research studies with short as well as long term goals to be achieved.
The terms and conditions of engagement in these studies are good enough. A junior research fellow in the initial period of joining can expect to get a monthly stipend of anything between Rs 6000 to Rs 12,000 / Rs 15000. As one becomes experienced with a few years of research one’s salary / stipend can be expected to go up to Rs 20,000 and even beyond.
This author has noticed several advertisements from reputed business schools of the country offering Rs 25,000 per month for carrying out Ph D studies which is quite a comfortable amount by any standard even in today’s times.
Nowadays there are so much of such opportunities that a person who would not like to be tied down by a regular job may keep oneself engaged by this type of short and long term research studies for many years. Besides, successful completion and publication of a certain number of research papers in reputed refereed academic and professional journals are equated with the earning of a degree of Ph D by authorities concerned.
Successful completion of this course can land you up in a lucrative and meaningful career in a related field.
Recently, this author has gone through an advertisement announcing Fellow programmes in management by IIM Calcutta with stipend ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 24,000 per month with contingency and other grants in addition to stipend.
The Bhopal-based Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) also offers good stipend for its Fellow programmes and also for short term six month special projects.
Another emerging and interesting field of research study with a good career option is the study of Forensic Science. The Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan Institute of Forensic Sciences under the Central government offers several fellowships every year for Ph D studies in the field.
Recently, this author has also seen a fellowship from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, New Delhi which has been introduced on a special occasion of golden jubilee of science communication in the country. A total of 20 fellowships are on offer for one year with Rs 12,000 per month and Rs 16,000 if the applicant is a Ph D and some amounts additionally to be paid as contingency and travel grants.
In short, this can be said that there is a large amount of scope for engaging oneself in a meaningful career in research studies. And the good thing is that a good portion of these opportunities are being offered for doing Ph D also. That is, a person is getting paid a regular stipend or salary for working towards a Ph D degree. Nowadays, Ph D being the alternate qualifying standard for consideration for posts of lecturers in universities and colleges across the country, this is a highly well-meaning career option which our upcoming students should consider seriously.
Some of these institutions including IGNOU offer a blended programme termed as Research and Teaching Assistantship (RTA). Under this programme, a selected candidate will pursue Ph D studies and also help the institution by actively assisting the regular faculty in classroom activities. So the person gains both ways – carrying out Ph D work as well as acquiring teaching experience also.
There are two major benefits in it. First of all this is definitely a respectable and meaningful profession contributing something concrete to the issue of unemployment. Further, it is also contributing a lot towards furthering the existing knowledge bank of the society for future development.
Besides, there are many industries and commercial houses which sponsor research studies into some specific aspects related to their products and markets etc. which are usually conducted through academic institutions and also at their in-house laboratories.
For example – the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) – the public sector oil giant has a full-fledged department dedicated for this purpose and employ persons on regular basis for such jobs.
Even though qualifications for all these opportunities are definitely different from each other, yet a basic postgraduate degree in any of the fields of social sciences, humanities, commerce, science, engineering, technology etc. are usually a minimum prerequisite. Further, a good exposure to statistical techniques, a special software called SPSS is surely a welcome qualification mainly for those studies involving surveys and quantitative data collection. And above all, a good exposure to computer skills will be definitely a preferred addition.
Some of the Academic Staff Colleges in different universities under UGC conduct short term courses and full Refresher Courses in research methodology. Further, the ICSSR through its supported institutions (probably there are 13 in all) across the country also conduct such courses for benefit of young upcoming researchers mainly for persons from humanities and social sciences from time to time.
The Sarba Siksha Abhiyan Mission in different states of the country from time to time conduct detailed research surveys for verifying and cross checking how much of their plans and policies are being implemented successful in reality.
In addition to all these opportunities mentioned here, many universities and academic and other institutions offer adequate scholarships and fellowships from time to time from their coffers for attracting talented personnel.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs of Government of India also encourages similar research studies for assessing the effectiveness of their various schemes.
It will suffice to say that opportunities are immense. Only thing one needs is to tap the potential and the ability to look at the right direction and sources.
Anyone interested in this field should regularly keep looking for these opportunities in different outlets like The Employment News, The University News (a weekly publication of the Association of Indian Universities, New Delhi) websites of the institutions mentioned here etc.
We can also say that in spite a growing scale of unemployment in the country, there is some scope always there for those who know how and where to look for it and also preparing himself or herself for those opportunities.