Not getting opportunities to present research work at international forums is troubling a section of faculty members and scientists at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The past six months have been worse, claim several researchers in various departments of the institute, as they have been refused permission to present their research papers apparently because the abst-racts submitted for approval were 'not up to the mark'.
"On one hand, they call AIIMS a research institute and then discourage faculty members and scientists from presenting research before the global fraternity," said a senior scientist from the institute, requesting anonymity."Also, favouritism is rampant as there is no dedicated committee for the approval of research abstracts. It is not possible for one person to have enough knowledge on all subjects to be able to either approve or reject a proposal," the scientist added.
AIIMS authorities, however, call the allegations baseless. "It's not correct to say that AIIMS does not allow its faculty members and scientists to go abroad to present research work," said AB Dey, dean of research, AIIMS, who scans the applications along with the sub-dean. "The final approval on the applications comes from the AIIMS director, though," he added.
Additional professors and professors are each entitled to one international and four national conferences. All assistant and associate professors can apply for one international conference every alternate year and four national conferences.
"Of the 290 applications that we received in the past 10 months, we rejected only 10. Of them, 121 trips were institute-funded. On an average, approval is given to about 30 requests per month. This year, in April alone, AIIMS has funded 25 international research presentations," added professor Dey.
Hospital sources said the allegations are a handiwork of certain vested interests that use research paper presentation as an excuse for making free foreign trips, usually sponsored by private companies, including pharmaceutical firms.
"It is tax payers' money that we are talking about and the brief from the finance committee is very clear that only presentation of the research work must be funded. The government and Medical Council of India guidelines also clearly prohibit junkets offered by pharma companies," said a source.