In a good news for students of the science stream, Government on Thursday decided to double the number of scholarships to 12,000 for doctoral studies in science.

The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, approved a proposal for increase in the number of Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) through CSIR-UGC National Eligibility Test (NET) in the country.

“The main objective of the JRF-NET is to identify talented students who could be enrolled for Ph.D programmes in specific science domains, across the country’s scientific and academic institutions,” a government spokesman said.

The CSIR had decided to offer 6,000 Junior Research Fellowships during the Tenth Plan period and the same has been increased two-fold for the Eleventh Plan.

The total cost of providing fellowships to about 12,000 students in the Eleventh Plan is estimated at Rs 444.34 crore.

The increase in intake of JRF-NET fellowships with good remuneration would help in attracting talented youth to take up scientific research as a career, the spokesman said. It would also help address the issues related to shortage of scientific manpower in the country, he added.

Universities and scientific institutions are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries of this initiative as they would be able to attract bright minds for their scientific programmes.