city anchor: Bucking trend, CBS students opt for careers in research

Going against the grain, the first batch of 19 students that graduated from Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (CBS), Mumbai, this year has opted for a career in research.

CBS, a joint initiative of Department of Atomic Energy and Mumbai University, was started in 2007. The institute offers a five-year integrated MSc programme in basic sciences after Class 12.

"Most students have stayed back in India to pursue research," said Prof S M Chitre, chairperson of the CBS academic board.

Debunking the perception that youth study only to get a job, 16 students from the first batch have opted for top research institutes in the country, while two have gone abroad. One student is teaching at Khalsa College, Mumbai.

"I was interested in computational physics and wanted to go deeper into the science. Hence, I rejected a job offer. My parents were initially hesitant and suggested I take up the job, but they are happy with my choice," said Udaya Maurya, who is pursuing PhD in astrophysics at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai.

'Trends in Higher Education Creation and Analysis of a Database of PhDs', a study released in 2010, had concluded that only 0.25 of those who enrolled at the graduate level went on to do PhDs in India.

PM Manmohan Singh had also rued recently that India's position in the world of science "had been declining" and it had been overtaken by countries such as China.

"Ambiance makes a huge difference. It is important to create an environment where students are excited about a research career. Students who graduated this year were driven to do research. They were not driven by money," said Prof R V Hosur, director of CBS.

While two students are pursuing PhD in life sciences/biology at National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore, two have opted for theoretical sciences at Harish Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad.

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