Generation and nurturing of a human talent pool capable of utilizing and developing first principles in science is both a pre-condition and integral part of such an innovation infrastructure. An India specific model for attracting talent with an aptitude for research and innovation, for a career in Basic & Natural sciences is required. Department of Science & Technology (DST) has developed an innovative programme named Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) to attract talent to the excitement and study of science at an early age, and to help the country build the required critical resource pool for strengthening and expanding the S&T system and R&D base with a long term foresight.
Government of India has approved the INSPIRE Scheme in November 2008 at a total cost of about Rs 1979.25 crores in the 11th Plan Period and Honourable Prime Minister launched the programme on 13th December 2008. The programme is continuing in the 12th Plan period at a budgetary allocation of Rs. 2200 crores.
INSPIRE has three components:
(i) Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS), (ii) Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE) and (iii) Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC). the component wise details can be found here. http://www.inspire-dst.gov.in/INSPIRE_Brochure.pdf
(i) Scheme for Early Attraction of Talent (SEATS) aims to attract talented youth to study science by providing INSPIRE Award of Rs 5000 to one million young learners of the age group 10-15 years, ranging from Class VI to Class X standards, and also by arranging summer camps for about 50,000 science students of Class XI with global leaders in science to experience the joy of innovations on an annual basis through INSPIRE Internship.
(ii) Scholarship for Higher Education (SHE) aims to enhance rates of attachment of talented youth to undertake higher education in science intensive programmes, by providing scholarships and mentorship. The scheme offers 10,000 Scholarship every year at Rs 0.80 lakh per year for the talented youth in the age group 17-22 years, for undertaking Bachelor and Masters level education in natural sciences. The main feature of the scheme is the mentorship support provided to every scholar.
(iii) Assured Opportunity for Research Careers (AORC) aims to attract, attach, retain and nourish talented young scientific Human Resource for strengthening the R&D foundation and base. It has two sub-components. In the first component i.e. INSPIRE Fellowship (age group of 22-27 years), it offers 1000 fellowships every year, for carrying out doctoral degree in both basic and applied sciences including engineering and medicine. In the second component i.e. INSPIRE Faculty Scheme, it offers assured opportunity every year for 1000 post- doctoral researchers in the age group of 27-32 years, through contractual and tenure track positions for 5 years in both basic and applied
This scheme offers 10,000 scholarships every year @ Rs.80,000/- each for undertaking Bachelor and Masters level education in the Natural & Basic sciences, possessing any of the following criteria:
Students who happen to be among the top 1% in 12th standard at their respective Board Examinations and are pursuing courses in Natural and Basic sciences at the B.Sc. or Integrated M.Sc. levels. Courses are not included other than Natural and Basic sciences in the current scheme in view of the focus on research in Basic sciences.
Students who have secured in the Joint Entrance Examination of JEE-Advance top 10,000 ranks, JEE-Main (top 10,000 ranks) plus those clearing NEET (top 10,000 ranks), and who also opt to study Natural and Basic sciences in any academic institute or university leading to graduate and post-graduate degree, would be eligible for scholarship.
Students admitted to Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER), Department of Atomic Energy Centre for Basic Sciences (DAE-CBS) at the University of Mumbai or happen to be Kishore Vaigyanik Protsahan Yojana (KVPY), National Talent Search Examination (NTSE), Jagadish Bose National Science Talent Search (JBNSTS) scholars and Science Olympiad Medalists, opting to undertake courses in the Natural & Basic sciences leading to B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees are eligible for "SHE" scholarship.