Syngene and Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) launch scholarship program for women in STEM*
- 25 women students from all over India have been selected in the firstyear of the program
- Program aims to increase the number of women choosing STEM careers and create a self-sustaining network of women professionals in STEM
Through this initiative, women who are currently studying at various institutes will receive scholarships to enable them to work on scientific projects in research institutions or companies and receive mentoring support. Twenty fivescholarships have been awarded in the first year of the program. Over time, this program aims to create a self-sustaining network of women professionals in STEM.
As part of the scholarship and mentoring program, participants will be provided with:
- Opportunities for experiential learning through internships at well-established R&D institutions and industries in Hyderabad
- Mentoring by young scientists currently pursuing a career in STEM
- Participation in seminars and industry visits
The program was rolled out at an inaugural event held at T-Hub 2.0 in Hyderabad. It was graced by the presence of Mr. Jayesh Ranjan IAS, Principal Secretary, Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana government, Ms Rashmi Pimpale, CEO - Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad, DrMahesh Bhalgat, COO, Syngene International, along with Dr Anupama Shetty, Mission Director – Biocon Foundation.
Currently, women make up about 43% of all STEM graduates in India, one of the highest percentages in the world.However,their representation in STEM jobs is a mere14% in India.While there isunder-representation of women worldwide in the area of STEM, India stands out as being exceptionally low. Thoughmore women are enrolling in STEM academic programs each year, this increase is not reflected in employment statistics.According to reports by the Ministry of Education, between 2011-2016 ‘the percentageof female enrolment in higher studies in science have seen a steady rise, however, post enrolment, the problem of drop-outs before completion remains persistent. Thus, the rising education levels in women not translating into employment or relevant job opportunities is a concern that needs to be addressed through consistent education and mentorship programs.’
As per experts, societal stigma,biases, and social norms have a profound impact on the standard of education that women receive and the subjects that they study. These are also the factors that lead to the under-representation of women in STEM roles. This disparity in career choices represents a lost opportunity and results in an imbalance insociety becauseconstraints hold back one gender.
According to a NITI Aayog poll of women in science, 30% of them believed that their careers had a negative impact on their commitments to their families and home duties. In addition, 47% of the respondents said that family responsibilities prevented them from accepting a demanding job offer.
"In keeping with Telangana government’s progressive policies, this initiative is another step forward for women empowerment. The program is designed to make interventions at the right stages of the career that will help open up opportunities for women students in STEM-related fields. It will benefit not just the women students but also the institutions and industry by providing them with an excellent pool of candidates and adding diversity to our workforce.” said Mr Jayesh Ranjan IAS, Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce and Information Technology Departments of the Telangana Government.
Commenting on the launch, Dr Mahesh Bhalgat, COO, Syngene International, said, "There is a structural impediment for women when it comes to STEM; thus, a life-long learning approach is needed along with regular interventions with regards to work/study environment, overall quality of academic resources, support services, research productivity, and professional excellence.Women in STEM will be a game changer in the coming years ascorporations recognize the benefits of having a diverse workforce to drive innovation and growth. It is important to act now to establish policies and initiatives aimed at educating and retaining women in STEM fields. Giving women equal opportunities will improve their economic security and allow the skills of the whole workforce to be fully utilized.”
“We are keen to build a science and technology ecosystem in Hyderabad with rich opportunities for STEM talent, and are confident thatthe initiative being launched today in collaboration with Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) will make a significant contribution."
“Despite the growing number of women graduates in STEM, these fields are known to be male-dominated when it comes to STEM careers. This program is aimed at providing opportunities for women students from various institutes and regions to explore experiential learning, mentoring, and collaborative projects. Through this program, our endeavour is to start a movement which will create a nurturing ecosystem for women in STEM careers and education.” said Ms Rashmi Pimpale, CEO RICH.
As a part of the outreach for the program , RICH, Syngene and Biocon Foundation received support from ecosystem partners such as EdVenture Park (Business Incubator), TASK (Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge), Tribal Welfare Department, Telangana (TRICOR) and Osmania Universityfor reaching out to a wider audience of women currently pursuing their education in STEM subjects. The candidates were finalised through a rigorous selection process involving a nationwide call for application followed by shortlisting through one-on-one interviews and final selection by an expert committee. The 25 selected women candidates will be sponsored and mentored for a period of 3-6 months.
Biocon Foundation, the CSR arm of the Biocon Group, is the funding partner for the program with RICH being its implementation partner.
Words by scholarship recipients
HarshithaVadlapudi, B.Pharma, Sarojini Naidu Vanitha Pharmacy Maha Vidyalaya, Osmania University.
I attended the interview for the Internship offer, Scholarship and Mentorship Programme for Women in STEM education and careers and got selected. As a Pharmacy career aspirant who wants to constantly learn and grow productively in this massive pharma field, this opportunity definitely takes me a step closer to my professional goals. Career advancement in STEM needs a lot of effort in terms of mental and financial preparations and opportunities like these will help me to move from socio-economic boundaries. This internship offer made me envision my strength and added great value to my career and this will make me move ahead. And, I strongly believe this program will make a significant difference in my career growth. Ultimately, I cannot RICH enough for this opportunity.
Ms. Sreejani Sen, MSc. Zoology, Maulana Azad College, University of Calcutta.
Women constitute a significant proportion of the labour force in our country, both in the formal and informal segments. By providing financial aid and excellent exposure to research, RICH has helped several girls and women to tap their hidden potential in STEM. This program will enable us to explore the world of science beyond the theoretical knowledge of textbooks. I am eagerly looking forward to starting my journey of learning and consider myself fortunate enough to have been selected for the internship.
Syngene International Ltd. (BSE: 539268, NSE: SYNGENE, ISIN: INE398R01022) is an integrated research, development, and manufacturing services company serving the global pharmaceutical, biotechnology, nutrition, animal health, consumer goods, and specialty chemical sectors. Syngene's more than 5200 scientists offer both skills and the capacity to deliver great science, robust data management, and IP security and quality manufacturing at speed to improve time-to-market and lower the cost of innovation. With a combination of dedicated research facilities for Amgen, Baxter, and Bristol-Myers Squibb as well as 2 Mn sq. ft of specialist discovery, development, and manufacturing facilities, Syngene works with biotech companies pursuing leading-edge science as well as multinationals, including GSK, Zoetis, and Merck KGaA. For more details, visit www.syngeneintl.com
Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH)
Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH) is the nodal agency for the Hyderabad Science & Technology (S&T) Cluster, an initiative of the Office of Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India.Launched in 2017 by the Government of Telangana, RICH acts as a facilitator and aims to foster greater collaboration between various entities in the research and innovation space. RICH operates in close coordination with the S&T Cluster Apex Committee and the Prime Minister's Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
About Biocon Foundation
Biocon Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Biocon, Biocon Biologics and Syngene International, is working to empower marginalized communities since 2005. Biocon Foundation partners with the society to promote social and economic inclusion. It has thus made significant investments in enhancing access to quality healthcare, education and civic infrastructure along with environmental sustainability initiatives. These programs create a momentum to elevate the vulnerable and underserved sections of the society. The Foundation has built a strong reputation for the quality of its programs and their impact in addressing social, humanitarian and environmental challenges faced by the communities it serves. The programs have contributed to realizing the vision of empowering and integrating the underprivileged into the social and economic mainstream of India.