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PhD researchers` woes

THE Higher Education Commission initiated a programme Start-up Research Grant Programme (SRGP). Fresh PhD faculty appointed under interim placement of fresh PhDs (IPFP) is eligible to apply for a research project that enables them to experience developing basic research infrastructure.

The applicant becomes in-charge of the project, technically called principal investigator, whereas principal investigator is the permanent faculty member from the institution where the principal investigator is inducted.

The execution of the project that includes release of funds, purchase of items, setting up experiments, optimisation of protocols, etc., takes at least nine to 10 months, hence little time is left for actual research as IPFP agreement is only for 12 months.

The HEC tells the universities that the IPFP appointees should be given a chance to continue by advertising the position and follow the selection procedure. But this is exploited by the universities and positions are hardly advertised. Even they are advertised the IPFP appointees are not preferred.

The situation becomes worse when the IPFP faculty has to leave the university and the project is shifted to co-principal investigator. All the benefits go to the institution`s permanent faculty leaving the IPFP faculty nowhere.

The new principal investigator (permanent faculty member) completes the project, produces MPhil or PhD students and gets credit on his/her curriculum vitae at the cost of intellectual property of the young IPFP.

The principal investigator should be given time to complete the project and submit the final report followed by publication. The original principal investigator should have the right to publish the research paper as main corresponding author of the any publication that comes out from the proposal submitted by the IPFP grantee.

This will provide some justice to the young PhDs at the start of their career.

The HEC should ensure that IPFP appointees are given a fair chance.

Title : PhD researchers` woes
Author : Dr Nazia Kanwal
Type : Column
Role Performer : The Author
Subject : Higher Education Commission
Publisher : Dawn
Publication Place : Lahore
Date : 2019-04-22
Language : English