US university launches APJ Abdul Kalam grant

  • Aanchal Bedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 15, 2015 18:15 IST
Ralph C Wilcox, University of South Florida’s (USF) provost and executive vice-president. (HT photo)

The University of South Florida (USF) in the US has launched the President APJ Abdul Kalam Postgraduate Fellowship “to honour him and his vision” for Indian graduate students seeking to pursue a PhD degree in at least 14 subjects and disciplines.

Aanchal Bedi from HT Education spoke to Ralph C Wilcox, USF’s provost and executive vice-president.

Here’s an excerpt:

What is the purpose of your visit to India?

Our engagement with India has seen an upward swing in the past few years. The number of applications and enrolments from India have multiplied — from about 200 to 800 this year. During my visit, I met our Indian partners to take the relationship to the next level, interact with Indian students planning to study at USF and catch up with some of our alumni. There is one more purpose also, which is perhaps closest to my heart, ie to launch the President APJ Abdul Kalam Postgraduate Fellowship. We instituted this fellowship to honour him and his vision.

Tell us more about the fellowship.

The student award will be offered to an Indian graduate student seeking to pursue a PhD degree in the following subject and discipline at the university: applied anthropology, applied physics, business PhD programmes, cell biology, microbiology and molecular biology, chemistry, computer science and engineering, engineering, criminology, integrative biology, marine science and psychology.

The fellowship provides a tution fee waiver for up to four years, a stipend of $18,000 over the nine months of the fall and spring semesters ($2,000 per month) for up to four years. The provost’s office will pay a nine-month stipend for the first year with the department/college contributing a teaching/research assistantship for an additional three years. The total stipend amount will be payable by USF once the scholar is enrolled at the university for his/her first term. All other costs such as airfare, housing at USF, etc will be met by the awardee.

What are the new developments at USF that are specific to India?

The most recent ones would be our College of Engineering’s development of the “NEWgenerator” for India, which converts waste into nutrient fertilizers, renewable energy and clean water, providing a modular and self-sustaining machine that operates completely off-grid, requiring no water, power or sewer system.

Please tell us about significant recent/upcoming partnerships with Indian institutes as well as industry partnerships for research etc.

The collaborations already in place are in the areas of public health, management and engineering. Our partners include Delhi Technological University, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Manipal University, Government Medical College in Surat and several others.

Similarly, on one hand we have Indian students coming to study at USF each summer for the past six years, and on the other we have been sending American students to the Infosys campus in Mysore to learn from their faculty.

Last year, 15 USF students visited Arunachal Pradesh to engage with projects of the Research Institute of World’s Ancient Traditions, Cultures and Heritage (RIWATCH), which has been recognised by the United Nations as a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. We are planning a similar trip in 2016 as well.

Click here for details and online application forms. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2016.

Read more: Jalandhar girl wins prestigious Dr APJ Abdul Kalam IGNITE award

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