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Scientific Careers And Opportunities In India: An Overview

India is the new citadel for the scientific community. Opportunities are huge. Dramatic expansion of India’s research infrastructure is seen. Academic and non-academic R&D facilities are being set up. Here, we take a look at scientific careers and opportunities in India.

Academic Jobs 
Seven IISERs, nineteen functioning IITs and four planned and 47 Central Universities, TIFR, TISS, and the IISc have opened gates for the best minds. Many other new research and teaching institutes are planned. Fund allocation in 12th 5-year plan (2012-2017) has been tripled since the 11th plan. Funding available in India for research is more than there has ever been. This is the ideal time for well-trained, competent scientists working in a wide variety of disciplines to start a research career in India.
According to revised pay scales Asst. Professors in IITs earn between 60,000 Indian rupees and 90,000 Indian rupees per month. Salaries vary among institutes. But in India – still a low-cost country – those salaries allow a comfortable, middle-class life, for now at least.

Comparison with West
Compared to the West, in India funding seems modest. But there is a twist. Most compensation for personnel, including Ph.D. students, is paid by the institute and not from grant money. In the U.S., nearly 70 percent of the grant money goes for the salaries. 30 percent of funds go for actual research. Whereas in India, it’s the other way round. Getting funds in the West is very challenging too.

Difficulties in India
Some of the difficulties faced in India include slow and complex procurement of supplies and equipment. Waiting for the import and customs clearance procedures can mean weeks or months of frustration. Grantees must spend money in the fiscal year when it is awarded. There are often delays in the release of the funds. Getting extensions is even more difficult. The result: A mad scramble to spend the money as the end of the fiscal year approaches. Some feel “In India, we spend the money, we don’t utilize the money”. Obtaining permits to do field research takes a long time. Conference travel is frowned upon; administrators often see it as a vacation or unnecessary junket. Scientific community is too small. Despite such disadvantages certain facilities are at par with the best in the world.

Private R&D facilities
Along with exclusive R&D labs, a lot of development centers hire Ph.Ds with more or less research lab salaries. R&D facilities are the Tata Group, Mahindra Group, Bharat Forge, Rolta India Ltd and others.

Consulting Jobs
Another interesting trend has emerged in the last fifteen years. A disproportionate number of Ph.D. and Post graduates in computer science are joining the finance and business consulting industries. Some of the jobs that they are hired for are analysts, consultants, and auditors. The finance industry uses their superior analytic capabilities. They are compensated very well for the services that they render!

So, scientific careers and opportunities in India look bright and plenty.

If you’re interested in research, you might want to know about IISc. Read about this hub of research here.

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