In order to improve its global rankings, the University of Delhi (DU) is planning to upscale its research and development activities. The university was recently declared as an Institute of Eminence (IoE) because of which it has received large funding from the government.
The IoE funds will be allocated to professors from all colleges and all departments. DU professors previously also used to get funds from the government for research work. However, this practice was stopped in 2015 under the then Vice-Chancellor PC Joshi.
Pankaj Garg, former academic council member and an associate professor said- “There was a time when project proposals for teachers were made after screening by experts, which has now stopped. Because of that, the research quotient has fallen. We do not even see many conferences and seminars in DU. The varsity can utilise the IoE funds for pushing research, both at the department and college levels.”
According to the Times of India, DU acting vice-chancellor PC Joshi said- “There is an IoE governing council where teachers can apply with their projects and be vetted. We have already allocated around Rs 5 crore.”
Even as this comes as a piece of good news, a section of teachers in the executive council (EC) meeting last week raised concerns regarding the funds’ allocation. They claimed that the social science department may not be given any grants.
Seema Das, an EC member, said, “We have heard that the university is allocating funds to teachers for R&D. We raised this issue last week and requested the university to look into the problems faced by the social science researchers.”
Abhijit Kundu, associate professor in sociology at Sri Venkateswara College, said, “For social science teachers, generating funds for research is difficult. The focus on higher education is to support research and project on their instrumentality and purpose. Social science is more relevant in current times. We should also be considered so that we do not look for external funding. We hope the university understands that if teachers do not do enough research, they will not get the necessary points required for promotion.”
Contradictory to these claims is that of prof PC Joshi who claims that plans are afoot to restart grants for research in social science departments at both the university and college levels.