In a first, IIT-Roorkee to have full-time fellowship for
female students in PhD programme

In a first, IIT-Roorkee to have full-time fellowship for<br>female students in PhD programme

The Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT-R) has initiated the SAKUNTALA (Scheme for Aspirants of Knowledge Under Talent Advancement) Fellowship to facilitate higher education for female engineering students in the institute. Under the initiative, they will be given an opportunity to pursue PhD in their chosen field.

The fellowship — to be rolled out with the start of the autumn semester at IIT-R — will be for a duration of five years. In the first two years, students will get a stipend of Rs 31,000 while in the next three years, they will get a stipend of Rs 35,000 per month, officials said.

The benefits of this fellowship will only be given to those female students who have pursued (or are pursuing) either of these four courses — BTech, BE, BArch, or BDes — from any of the centrally-funded technical institutes (CFTIs). In addition to this, a student must have a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) score of 8.5 or higher (out of 10) to be eligible for the fellowship.

However, candidates do not need a GATE/CEED/National Level examination score to apply for the fellowship. The selection for
the fellowship will be made on the basis of individual interviews. Also, there is no upper cap on the number of students who can avail of the fellowship. All eligible candidates who clear the interview would be given the stipend

The proposal for the fellowship was tabled during the 52nd meeting of the IIT-R research committee on November 30, 2021. Later, on December 9, it secured approval from the panel.

“SAKUNTALA is a first-of-its-kind initiative to advance the engineering careers of aspiring female students. This will benefit many deserving and talented female graduates from CFTIs who do not appear for GATE/CEED and other exams due to various reasons. A fellowship like this will help in bridging the gender gap as well,” said Professor Apurbba Kumar Sharma, dean of academic affairs, IIT Roorkee.

Echoing a similar opinion, Professor AK Chaturvedi, director of the institute, said, “IIT-Roorkee has taken this initiative to improve the number of women research scholars in our engineering departments. We expect the fellowship to make a visible