The Australians are out hunting for the best Indian brains. A grant of AUD$90,000 each is being offered to top academic performers who want to do a PhD and take advantage of the excellent research facilities in that country.
This is the second round of the Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships announced by the state government of Victoria, in collaboration with the Australia India Institute. If you have been a consistent grade-A student, have a great research proposal and have demonstrated leadership qualities, you can apply for your PhD to the Australian Catholic University, Deakin, La Trobe, Monash, RMIT, Swinburne, and the universities of Melbourne, Ballarat and Victoria and get selected for the award.
Seen as a good move, the awards are also expected to create greater awareness among Indian students about academic opportunities in Australia. The country had been at the receiving end of bad press following incidents of violence against Indians there.
An increase of 30% in Indian student applications compared to last year in Victoria has put a positive spin on things. Nationally, too, says Australian High Commissioner Peter Varghese, “we have seen a 16% increase in applications. These are the figures till the end of March (2012) and have come up after three years of sharply declining numbers. So I think what we are beginning to see now is a turnaround in the trend line for applications from India.”
Commenting on the first round of the scholarships, Geoffrey Conaghan, Victorian government Commissioner to India, says, “We got such fantastic Indian scholars that the premier of Victoria said we should do it again and the announcement was made as part of the Super Trade Mission (to India) in February 2012. There are 10 PhD research scholarships on offer, which are funded by the Victorian government for up to AUD$90,000 each, which means AUD$ 30,000 for a year. The universities have also agreed to waive all fees, which adds up to an additional AUD$30,000 a year – so it totals to about AUD$180,000 each.”
The scholarships will be awarded on merit in any field of study which can be as diverse as archaeology or mathematics or history or politics. A three-stage process leads to the award, says Prof Amitabh Mattoo, director, Australia India Institute, which is managing the award with the Victorian government. At the first stage, candidates can apply to one of the nine universities mentioned or through the Australia India Institute’s website (www.aii.unimelb.edu.au) or the Victorian Government Website (www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au) from August 1 onwards, indicating that they want to be considered for the scholarships. Stage two is when the university admits the candidate and nominates him or her for one of the 10 scholarships. Eighteen scholars will then be short-listed. In the third and final stage, a selection committee comprising experts from the universities and officials from the Victorian government will draw up a list of 10 scholars on the basis of their academic qualifications and the strength of their research proposals.
Who can apply
To be eligible for the Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships, you must be a citizen of the Republic of India, accepted into a doctoral programme at a participating Victorian University, intending to complete the majority of your doctoral work on Victoria, not holding a qualification regarded to be equivalent to an Australian research doctorate and willing to be an ambassador for the Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships
When to apply for your PhD
Detailed guidelines available at www.studymelbourne .vic.gov.au by August 1
Applications open on: August 30, 2012
Applications close on: October 31, 2012