ICMR STS 2016 Declared: BDS Students Supported No Longer

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has opened up calls for its Short Term Summer Research Studentships (STS). The details are available on their website.

The ICMR-STS is one of the premier and most widely sought after student research grants for medical students interested in undertaking a short term research project. According to the ICMR website:

The Indian Council of Medical Research initiated the Short Term Studentship Program in 1979 in order to promote interest and aptitude for research among medical undergraduates. The main objective of this program is to provide an opportunity to undergraduate medical students to familiarize themselves with research methodology and techniques by being associated for a short duration with their seniors on ongoing research program or by undertaking independent projects. It was expected that t his may serve as an incentive for them to take up research as a career in the future.

In my previous updates about this program,  I have highlighted how this is one of the most premier programs for medical students to apply for. I shall also take this opportunity to re-post a vlog I made a while back, discussing how to go about setting up a research question for medical student research:

ICMR STS used to be a big draw for dental students as well. However, this year, they are in for a shock as the ICMR has decided to discontinue support for the dental students citing a lack of discipline-specific expertise to screen and rate the projects that are being submitted. The following letter appears on the site, addressing BDS Students:

icmr_bds notice

Whilst it is regrettable that the increasing demand, offset by a lack of discipline-based expertise is the reason behind the withdrawal of support, it also indicates a fundamental flaw in our medical/dental education system.

Whilst this is not the post to go into all of the details, this malaise runs deeper than it seems. Unfortunately, most BDS students do not seem to share a bright outlook on the future, owing to the fact that there are too many graduates fighting for too few post-graduation seats (apparently the ratio is worse than for the medical side) and the available employment channels for BDS graduates are not rewarding enough, either from the angle of monetary or job satisfaction profiles. It stands to reason that when the DCI promulgated the thought of creating a “bridge course” to turn BDS students into MBBS graduates, there were a lot of buyers for the idea. In fact, most of the BDS students who happened to comment on a post I wrote on the topic, seemed to favor the idea.

To me, this seems to indicate a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the dental profession within the future dentists in the nation, a sort of disillusionment, which this “abandonment” by ICMR is likely going to exacerbate.

That being said, the ICMR has indicated its willingness to provide support to the DCI should they promulgate a similar program of sorts, but given the impression one carries about the supreme regulatory body for the dental sciences, I would not be holding my breath.

Just to close what has turned out to be a rather depressing post overall (I really did not see this post to be turning out this darkly), let me just add to any medical students who might be reading this, and who might be interested in attempting to submit a proposal for the ICMR STS: I would be glad to help you within the reasonable limits of my abilities. This is one of the best ways to apply for research support in India and you should definitely make the most of it!

One thought on “ICMR STS 2016 Declared: BDS Students Supported No Longer

  1. I have taken up the sts prigramme in microbiology department of my college.. We have nice facilities for the research and willing faculties.. Can you suggest a few topics for research in microbiology that can get selected?


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