Chennai, Oct 13 (PTI) Stepping up its cooperation in the field of science and technology, India today announced fully- sponsored academic fellowship to scientists and researchers of neighbouring countries.

The 2018-India Science and Research Fellowship (ISRF) scheme will provide a fully-paid fellowship to researchers, scientists and academicians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka, Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said.

To support PhD scholars, a new element has been added in the 2018-India Science and Research Fellowship scheme.

“The scheme for the first time will also include doctoral students in science, engineering and medical fields to undertake project-related research work in any premier research and academic institution in India up to a period of six months,” Vardhan said.

He made the announcement at the India International Science Festival (IISF) here, which was attended by Afghanistan’s Minister of Higher Education Abdul Latif Roshan and Bangladesh’s Minister of Science and Technology Yeafesh Osman.

The IISF, which began today, concludes on October 16.

Two hundred travel slots every year were announced for the researchers from these countries to be supported by the Department of Science and Technology to enable them to make the best use of these advanced training programmes offered by India.

“This would help in capacity building and will also foster research networks with Indian scientific institutions in these countries,” Vardhan said.

India is engaged in active cooperation in the field of science and technology with more than 44 countries, including advanced, emerging and developing nations.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.