Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship

As per the Memorandum of Understanding between Purdue University and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) of India, SERB will sponsor 12-month research visits to Purdue by visiting doctoral students who are pursuing their doctorate degrees at Indian Institutions under the Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship program. Students must be enrolled in PhD programs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (including Medicine, Pharma, Agriculture and related S&T area disciplines). The program aims to provide meaningful international research experiences for top PhD students enrolled in Indian institutions while fostering collaborations between research groups in order to strengthen institutional partnerships between Purdue and Indian higher education institutions.

Stay tuned for the next call for applications (expected April 2022). 

Purdue Welcomes New Cohort of Indian Researchers Under Prestigious Fellowship Program

PalwinderKaur Palwinder Kaur from the 2021 cohort is seen here making battery cells. Palwinder’s project was conducted under Professor Vilas Pol of the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering. Her Indian advisor is Associate Professor Amol P. Bhondekar, from AcSIRCentral Scientific Instruments Organization.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Overseas Visiting Doctoral Fellowship (OVDF) Program allows doctoral students in Indian institutions to complement their PhD studies with research and project activity conducted under the auspices of leading scientists and researchers at Purdue University.

The program became possible through a Memorandum of Understanding between Purdue University and India’s Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) in 2017. It is a key pillar of the Purdue-India Partnership, which includes a well-established long-term commitment and strategic focus on collaboration with Indian institutions and researchers.

Now in its third edition, the annual program has fostered a total of 74 fellows from 38 leading Indian Institutions. Twenty-five fellows comprise this year’s cohort--52% of whom are female; the entire group has now arrived and begun their 12-month research fellowships.

SERB annually sends abroad just 40 doctoral fellows total from leading Indian institutions through this prestigious and competitive program; Purdue is proud to serve as the only U.S. institution to host them.

Venn Diagram. 2022: 52% female. 16 Purdue departments. 20 Indian institutionsVenn Diagram. 2019-2022: 74 Fellows. 26 Purdue departments. 38 Indian institutions.
Abhay Kumar 022 Fellow Abhay Kumar from IIT Kharagpur, whose project is in Rubber Technology and Tire applications, at a universal testing machine. Abhay is working with Associate Professor Marcial Gonzalez from Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering. Professor Santanu Chattopadhyay is advising Abhay from India.

“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

Projects from this year's cohort involve a diverse array of specialties and subjects ranging from in health-related applications, forestry, to engineering, and computer science.

These research projects span the breadth of Purdue’s many disciplines and fellows from 20 different Indian institutions will be working with faculty from 16 different Purdue departments this year. Projects include, for example, the study of innovative rubber compounds for tire technology; ecological patterns related to mammals; neurological pharmaceutical design; and the development of better battery materials. Two of the 25 projects are also related to Alzheimer's research.


Monika Malik Monika Malik from BITS Pilani is seen here exchanging the media of plates of human embryo kidney, or HEK293 cells, using tissue culture system to study the multiple roles of LIMK2 in various types of cancers. Monika is working with Walther Professor Dr. Kavita Shah in the Department of Chemistry. Her Indian Faculty advisor is Professor Dalip Kumar.

Fellows from the 2021 cohort expressed their appreciation for the program; their experiences exhibit the strong cross-cultural and research linkages the program was designed to cultivate:

“The OVDF program has provided me with an opportunity to work and interact with professors and peers who have done commendable work in my field of research. I have been following Professor Chandy and his group's research work since I joined my Ph.D. program at IIT Madras and it has always been a dream to be a part of this group. It has made me see that I can do beyond what I envision and expand my objectives, amend them and basically play around with them only to achieve the best possible outcome for my experiments and analyses."

- Sweta Baruah, OVDF 2021 fellow

“The most important effect of this program on my field was changing the vision towards my subject. I work in Genetics and Plant Breeding and I was just doing what was taught to me back in India. However, since I came here, I carry the confidence to manage my experiments on my own. The program helped me to mold myself into a budding scientist from a confused Ph.D. student. I got results of many experiments which [previously] I failed almost every time. It is because I got the freedom to work and think independently -- this was not possible before."

- Arushi Arora, OVDF 2021 Fellow

"I consider myself fortunate to have been awarded a fellowship to assist me in pursuing my passion, which has enabled me to become not just a successful student, but also an excellent researcher and entrepreneur in the agricultural sector. The OVDF program introduced me to an internationally competitive research environment in the field of agricultural storage engineering which will support me in achieving higher professional and industrial startup ideas altitudes. Purdue is one of the premier universities in the world, and being selected to such a prestigious university to work as a researcher has been a dream come true for young researchers like me. Being a farmer’s daughter, I aim to be an academic and entrepreneur who can assist farmers alter the way they think and work. I hope my research helps to convince one farmer, who convinces another.

This is my first experience as a student abroad. Coming to a completely new environment, far away from my family, at first I was not sure how would I handle all of the things. I was astonished by the welcoming atmosphere."

- Nileshwari Yewle, OVDF 2021 Fellow