SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship Program 2020-21 for India

SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship 2020-21: SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship falls under the purview of the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). The SERB is a statutory wing of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. The program aims to provide postdoctoral fellowships to candidates pursuing frontier areas of science and engineering. These are areas of interest to India as the research done here can potentially revolutionize current technology and practices. Interested candidates must have secured their PhD in science and engineering not earlier than the two preceding years from a government recognized Indian institution.

However, a two-year relaxation period is granted for candidates who are pursuing regular employment. Essentially, selected candidates are assigned to highlighted areas* and are sent to leading institutions around the world (other than the USA). The selected candidate is required to communicate with the proposed host institution about intimating the postdoctoral work. The candidate is required to follow up with the intimation by producing a letter of acceptance from the host institution and the merits of the said institution.

Graduate, Post Graduate Students and Research Fellows can also find more Fellowship Articles to explore various fellowships across India to know the funding opportunities.

SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship Highlighted Areas

Advanced Manufacturing High-Performance Computation in Physics
Algorithms and Combinatorial Optimizations Humanoid Robotics
Big Data Imaging
Bio-energy Mathematics
Biology Mechanobiology / Physical Biology
Chemistry Mechatronics
Cognitive Science Mental Health
Complex systems Modelling
Cybersecurity Petroleum and PetroChemical Engineering
Encryption and decryption Quantum Computing and Spintronics
Energy Science of Climate Change
Genetic to Physiology Sustainable Chemistry
Glaciology Theoretical Mathematical Science

SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship Eligibility Criteria

Interested Candidates must ensure that they fulfil the following criteria to be deemed eligible for the fellowship

  • The candidate must be an Indian National
  • Candidates must have completed their Ph.D. degree in science and engineering not earlier than the preceding two years from a recognized Indian institution.
  • The above-mentioned criteria may be relaxed for researchers who are in regular employment. However, they must be under 35 years of age. (5 years relaxation for SC/ST/ OBC, physically handicapped and women candidates)
  • Candidates must have also acquired the offer letter from the overseas host institutions (except the USA).

SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship Selection Process

Candidates are required to seek admission to postdoctoral programs in institutions abroad to be eligible for the selection process. Moreover, the candidate must undertake their research  in the following fields:

Biology, Cognitive Science, Health, Mental, Quantum Computing and Spintronics, Glaciology, Theoretical Mathematical Science, Cybersecurity, Sustainable Chemistry, Big Data, Bio-energy, Genetic to Physiology, Science of Climate Change, Encryption and decryption, Mathematics, Complex systems, Mechanobiology / Physical Biology, Chemistry, Algorithms and Combinatorial Optimizations Materials, Petroleum and Petrochemical Engineering, High-Performance Computation in Physics, Humanoid Robotics, Imaging, Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Modeling, and Mechatronics. Furthermore, the candidate must also submit a research proposal in any of the above-mentioned areas. The research proposal will be scrutinized by a selection committee.

SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship Agreement Bond

Interested candidates are required to sign a bond stating that their fellowship will be treated as a loan if they fail to come back to India or discontinue their course midway. Furthermore, penal interest would also be changed to these candidates.

SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship Amount

  • Candidates who are selected will be paid a monthly fellowship amount of USD 3,000.
  • They will also be eligible for a one-time preparatory or contingency allowance of INR 60,000 to cover insurance, visa and airport charges.
  • Furthermore, the candidates will be provided with the shortest route in economy class airfare from India to the host institution and back.

SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship Guidelines

Candidates must follow the given guidelines to ensure that their application is not rejected:

  • The application for consideration under the SERB OPDF can be furnished only when the call for application is made
  • The format of the application must strictly adhere to rules and format provided by the board as per Annexure 1
  • The duration of the fellowship is 1 year, with the chance of extending one more year if the candidate exhibits good performance. Hence, the total duration of the fellowship will not extend beyond 2 years.
  • Fellowships with a duration of fewer than 6 months will not be entertained. However, exceptional cases may be accepted.
  • Researchers who are employed, rules governing salary and other benefits, such as GPF,  gratuity and pension of the university/ organization or institution to which the candidate belongs would continue to be applicable.
  • The selected candidates are required to commence their research within three months of being given the offer letter. If the candidate fails to commence their research, their candidature will be cancelled and no communication will be entertained thereafter.
  • If an employed candidate wants to pursue the fellowship, the application for SERB OPDF must be sent through the head of the department/ organization where the candidate is employed
  • The candidate must also submit a letter of approval of the research plan from the host.
  • The candidate must submit three copies of applications printed on both sides of an A4 sized-sheet to the program coordinator.

Program Coordinator
Overseas PDF Science and Engineering Research Board
5 & 5A, Lower Ground Floor
Vasant Square Mall
Sector ­B, Pocket ­5
Vasant Kunj, New Delhi­ 110070

Documents Required for SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • Filled application form
  • Candidate’s biodata
  • Letter of acceptance from the host institution
  • Letter of acceptance of research plan by the host
  • Statement from the employer (For employed candidates)
  • The candidate’s summary

Link to the aforementioned documents 

FAQ’s on SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship

Question 1.
Are foreign nations Eligible for SERB OPDF?

No, only Indian nationals are eligible

Question 2.
What is the upper age limit to apply for SERB Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship?

Candidates have to be under the age of 35 years to be deemed eligible. However, candidates belonging to SC/ST/ OBC, as well as physically handicapped candidates and women are eligible for a 5-year relaxation.

Question 3.
What is the fellowship amount provided under this fellowship?

Selected Fellows will be paid a monthly fellowship amount of USD 3,000. Furthermore, they will also be given a one-time preparatory or contingency allowance of INR 60,000 to cover their insurance charges, visa expenses and airport charges.

Question 4.
What is the official website to apply for the fellowship?

Candidates can access the application form on

Question 5.
What is the duration of the fellowship?

The initial duration of the fellowship is 1 year, with the chance of extending one more year if the researcher exhibits good performance. However, the total duration of the fellowship is a maximum of 2 years.

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