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This week, the Mittal Institute announced the launch of its inaugural India Fellowship – a unique opportunity for two postdoctoral researchers to be based at the Mittal Institute’s New Delhi office and have access to Harvard faculty and the university’s vast library system from India. The Fellowship will commence on March 15, 2022, and aims to support research projects that focus on India or are connected with India. The Fellowship prioritizes scholars who have never received any opportunities or access to Harvard resources and those who have primarily been educated at institutions in India. Applications are due on November 30th, 2021, 11:55 pm IST.

The Mittal Institute sat down with Sanjay Kumar, India Country Director at the Mittal Institute, to learn more about this exciting new opportunity.


The Creation of the Fellowship


Mittal Institute: Sanjay, what were the motivations in developing this Fellowship opportunity? Why is this opportunity so important?

Sanjay Kumar: As we are strengthening the India office, we are coming up with programs that support research in India. Although we have fellowship programs at the Cambridge office, we can only support a small number of researchers. There is a financial constraint in inviting researchers to Cambridge for a year and, therefore, we came up with the idea to support postdoctoral research fellows who could utilize our office in New Delhi and have access to Harvard resources. Each researcher would have a faculty mentor to support and guide them. One of the mandates of the Mittal Institute is to develop and strengthen two-way exchanges of scholars between Harvard and South Asia and I think this fellowship shows our commitment towards this mandate.

The India Fellowship emerged to support postdoctoral scholars from any area of the humanities or social sciences to undertake research that engages with critical issues in India or related to India.

Mittal Institute: Can you describe some key traits that you are looking for in potential candidates?

Sanjay Kumar: We are looking for scholars who wish to deepen their understanding of various issues in India and can also support the intellectual life at the Institute’s India office. At the same time, we wish to provide opportunities to scholars who have not had access to Harvard resources or exposure to foreign universities in the past. We would also like to encourage scholars from rural regions to apply who do not have access to high-quality research opportunities.

Mittal Institute: Each Fellow will receive a stipend and be mentored by a Harvard faculty member in their area of research. What do you hope the Fellows will gain from this one-year experience?

Sanjay Kumar: Through the course of the year, we hope that the fellowship provides fellows with an enriching experience by facilitating an exchange of ideas between them and Harvard faculty members. We hope that the access to Harvard library resources will provide necessary research materials to the fellows that will enable them to produce high-level research outputs, including the publication of a research paper.

About the Mittal Institute India Fellowship (MIIF)

The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute India, an office of Harvard Global Research Support Centre India, is pleased to offer the Mittal Institute India Fellowship to host two Postdoctoral scholars in India. As a fellow, scholars will have the opportunity to avail Harvard’s vast resources to contribute to self-driven, independent research. Applicants from any area of the humanities or social sciences are encouraged to apply, provided their studies are focused on India or connected with India.

The Mittal Institute India Fellowship is meant for recent postdoctoral scholars who have completed their studies in the last five years. For this year’s application cycle, applicants must have obtained their Ph.D. between June 1, 2016, and November 29th, 2021. Those who have not had opportunities in the past to access Harvard’s resources and who have primarily been educated at institutions in India will be prioritized.

Fellows are expected to reside in New Delhi (India) and its vicinity for the fellowship duration of one year to actively participate in the events and intellectual life of the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, India. Participation includes grant review, hosting seminars, and engaging with Harvard faculty and affiliates. Fellows will be mentored by a Harvard faculty member in their area of research. The research produced will be widely disseminated for public benefit in India.

The Fellowship begins on March 15, 2022, and offers a stipend of INR 1,00,000 per month for the Fellowship period(one-year). This amount is to cover living costs, medical allowance, books, and research materials during the Fellowship period. For candidates outside of New Delhi, economy travel expenses for a round-trip from the recipient’s home to New Delhi will also be provided.

All reimbursements and stipends are limited to the dates of the appointment.

Applications will be due on November 30th, 2021, 11.55 pm IST. 

Please note that from next year, this annual fellowship shall begin in September 2022.