Purdue Welcomes New Cohort of Indian Researchers Under Prestigious Fellowship Program


(February 2021)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University has a long-standing strategic focus on higher education collaboration with Indian institutions and researchers. The University’s alliance with India’s Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) is a key pillar of the Purdue-India Partnership. This alliance has resulted in 50 fellowships for visiting PhD students through the Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship (OVDF) Program since Purdue and SERB signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2017. Fellows in the latest cohort of 25 have begun arriving at Purdue and will continue to arrive through July to begin their 12-month research fellowship, allowing for additional flexibility due to the global pandemic.

“OVDF is intended to build long-term R&D linkages and collaborations between Purdue faculty and accomplished scientists and researchers in India. Engaging in world-changing research is core to Purdue’s mission as a land-grant university, and as articulated in the Purdue Moves. The research projects to which the Fellows are contributing are helping Purdue set itself apart as a leading institution that is dedicated to tackling global challenges. It is inspiring to see the dedication and passion that these young researchers have for their work and the strong and sustainable ties that they are building with Purdue that I am certain will endure beyond the end of the fellowship period.”

- Heidi Arola, Director, Office of Global Partnerships

SERB annually sends abroad just 35 Doctoral Fellows from leading Indian institutions through this prestigious and competitive program; 25 of them will be heading to Purdue in 2021. Several projects from this year's cohort involve seeking solutions to mitigate pressing global issues like Climate Change from the standpoints of engineering and science. Projects span the breadth of Purdue’s many disciplines and fellows from 16 different Indian institutions will be working in 14 different Purdue departments this year. Examples of project topics include: Understanding Tropical Cyclones; Studying the Impact of Climate Change on Agricultural Productivity; Investigating Viral and Protein Interactions in the Zika Virus; Modeling for Urban Floods; and Developing Protocols for Scaling Bitcoin, just to name a few. The diversity in topics is mirrored in the diversity of its participants. This year’s cohort is 56% female (up from 32%) and, overall, 28 leading Indian institutions from across the country have sent fellows to the program.

Reflecting on their one-year stay at Purdue, past fellows expressed their appreciation for the program:

“The OVDF program gave me a glimpse into an internationally competitive research environment, which will aid me in achieving new heights in my career. Purdue is one of the top institutes ranked amongst the best in the world and has always been a dream destination for young researchers like me.”

- Vedita Singh, OVDF Fellow ‘19, IIT Roorkee, Purdue Advisor Professor Richard Kuhn

“Purdue has helped me to think more independently, improve my research problem-solving skills and work as part of a multidisciplinary research team. My goal is to become a visionary, hardworking, wexperienced, and dedicated researcher with the hope of mending the gap between “benchside and bedside” anti-cancer research and healing.

- Souvik Debnath, OVDF ‘19, Jadavpur University, Purdue Advisor Professor Sophie Lelievre