Dr.Amit Asthana,Ramalingaswamy Fellow, CSIR-CCMB
I obtained the doctoral degree in chemistry in 2000 from Barkatullah University, Bhopal while working as senior research fellow (CSIR) at Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute (CSIR-AMPRI), Bhopal. As a part of my doctoral research, I worked at the University of Amsterdam as guest researcher under an Indo-EC joint research project. Before moving back to India in July 2011, under the prestigious Ramalingaswami "return" Fellowship of the DBT, I was a senior research officer at Australian National Fabrication Facility-QLD Node, AIBN, University of Queensland, Australia. Presently I am working as Ramalingaswamy Fellow at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CSIR-CCMB), Hyderabad.
Actually, I was looking at coming back to India because of family commitments. Hence I have been on the lookout for opportunities in India. I came to know of the Ramalingaswamy Fellowship through an advertisement in Naturejobs. It was a rather good experience in all sense while applying for Ramalingaswami Fellowship. DBT is doing an excellent job in pulling some of the talent back to India. It is a very highly regarded fellowship in academic institutions. Moreover, one has lot more freedom in fellowship in using the funds and choosing the institute. Especially, the concept of Annual Conclave of Ramalingasamy Fellows has helped a lot in overcoming most of the minor problems associated with the fellowship. Discussion with fellow colleagues and advice and supports from mentors, assigned by DBT, during the conclave not only help fellows but also help DBT to improve the fellowship to a great extent despite all the bureaucratic and administrative problems DBT officials have to face at times. Hats off for excellent team of DBT officials involved in this exceptional fellowship program.
Experience in India so far
Well! This is my third (and hopefully final) attempt to return back to India. Previous two were not that smooth, however, this has been a smooth transition so far. You cannot expect "zero" hurdle while you are in India. We still need to overcome many of the administrative problems and make the process fluent.
Until now, my experience has been rather satisfactory; partly because I am more mature now (age-wise) and partly because I chose a correct place to start the work--CSIR-CCMB. Before moving back to India, I reminded myself of all the previous "bad experiences" and made my mind so for the upcoming hurdles which could agitate me or come as a shock. However, to my surprise, everything was sleek with few problems here and there. The CSIR-CCMB is a well established organization and has a completely different work culture when compared to other Indian institutions. There are almost negligible administrative problems despite the fact that I am the first Ramalingaswami fellow in the institute.