Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) 2021 – Updated Eligibility & Selection

PMRF or Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship scheme aims to attract the talent pool of the country to doctoral programmes of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs), Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institute of Technology (NITs) and Central Universities for carrying out research in cutting edge science and technology domains, with focus on national priorities. If you are interested to pursue PhD studies in the field of science and technology, PMRF is a golden opportunity for you to get started at reputed institutions in India. The fellowship is offered by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India. 

Live Scholarships

As per the latest announcement made by the Ministry, the eligibility conditions for the fellowship have now been changed. From 2020-21 onwards, the students can apply for the fellowship through two channels namely, Direct Entry Channel and Lateral Entry Channel. 

Who is eligible for PMRF? How can a student apply for PMRF? What is the selection process? What kind of financial assistance does a student receive under this scheme? Find an answer to all these questions in details in this article. It highlights every important and relevant information about the PMRF such as its eligibility, application process, selection process, abstract submission and much more.

PMRF – Key Dates

The key dates for the fellowship are given in the table below.

Key Dates for PMRF



PMRF 2020 deadline


PMRF deadline for direct entry

Similar to the deadlines of PhD applications at PMRF granting institutions

PMRF deadline for lateral entry

Within 12 months of joining PhD (for master’s degree holders)

Within 24 months of joining PhD (for bachelor’s degree holders)

*Tentative dates. Subject to change on the discretion of the provider.

Scholarship Registration, Get Scholarship Update

PMRF – Key Eligibility

From the academic year 2020-21 onwards, the eligibility criteria have been changed for the fellowship. As per the new guidelines, the candidates can now apply for the fellowship through two channels namely, Direct Entry Channel and Lateral Entry Channel.

PMRF Eligibility – Direct Entry Channel

The applicants should adhere to the following eligibility conditions to apply for the PMRF through Direct Entry Channel.

  • They must be pursuing or completed the final year of Bachelor’s or Master’s or dual degree in Science and Technology  streams from IISc/IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIEST with CGPA/CPI of 8.0 or above on a 10-point scale, OR
  • They must be pursuing or completed the final year of Bachelor’s or Master’s or dual degree in Science and Technology streams from any other recognised Indian university/institution (not covered in the above point) with a CGPA of 8.0 or equivalent and a minimum score of 650 in respective GATE subject, OR
  • The students must have qualified GATE and be pursuing or have completed M.Tech./MS by Research at one of the PMRF Granting Institutes having a minimum CGPA or CPI of 8.0 (on a 10-point scale) or above at the end of the first semester with a minimum of four courses.
  • They must apply and get selected in the PhD programme in one of the PMRF granting institutes. 

PMRF Eligibility – Lateral Entry Channel 

The applicants are required to adhere to the following eligibility conditions to apply for the PMRF through Lateral Entry Channel.

  • They must be pursuing a PhD in one of the PMRF granting institutions.
  • The students who have joined the PhD programme with a master programme should have completed at most 12 months in the PhD programme.
  • The students who have joined the PhD programme with a bachelor’s degree should have completed at most 24 months in the PhD programme.
  • They are required to have completed at least four courses in the PhD programme (each of which should be a full-semester course) with CGPA of 8.5 or above on a 10-point scale.
  • A candidate can be considered at most twice for the fellowship through lateral entry channel.

PMRF – Scholarship and Host Institutions

The applicants who fulfil the eligibility criteria, and are finally selected through the specified selection process, will be offered admission to the PhD programme in one of the IISc/IISERs/IITs/NITs/Central Universities. Besides this, the PMRF also offers suitable financial assistance to students that include a fellowship of INR 70,000 per month for the first two years, INR 75,000 per month for the 3rd year, and INR 80,000 per month in the 4th and 5th year. There will be a rigorous examination of the performance of Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship holders and continuation of the next year fellowship shall be contingent upon successful assessment.

The students who are selected for the PMRF will receive a fellowship award in the following manner. 

Year-wise fellowship disbursement details

YearScholarship Amount (INR)
Year 170,000
Year 270,000
Year 375,000
Year 480,000
Year 580,000

The selected fellows are also eligible for a research grant of INR 2 lakh per annum (total amount of INR 10 lakh). The tenure of the fellowship is four years for students from integrated courses and five years for B. Tech. students. However, for students selected through lateral entry channel, the fellowship and its obligations will continue only for the remaining doctoral programme. Industry participation in the PMRF programme would be explored through CSR funding so as to enable the industry to sponsor the maximum number of fellows. Some key facts about the programme include –

  • Admission under the PMRF will be made in 19 broad disciplines.
  • For each broad discipline, one IIT or IISc will coordinate the admission process and will be referred to as the Nodal Institute for that broad discipline.

19 Broad Discipline covered in the fellowship program:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Agriculture and Food Engineering
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Design
  • Interdisciplinary Programs in Science and Engineering
  • Material Science and Metallurgical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mining, Mineral, Coal and Energy Sector
  • Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture
  • Textile Engineering
  • Physics

PMRF – List of Host Institutions

The following host institutions will host the candidates for the PhD program:

  • IISc Bangalore
  • All IITs
  • All IISERs
  • National Institute of Technology (NIT), Tiruchirappalli
  • Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)
  • Banaras Hindu University (BHU)
  • University of Hyderabad
  • Aligarh Muslim University (AMU)
  • Jamia Millia Islamia
  • The University of Delhi (DU)

PMRF – Application Process

With the advent of technology, everything is now available online and so is the application process for PMRF. The applications for this fellowship will be made through the respective PMRF granting institutes. The candidates are required to apply for a PhD programme either through direct entry channel or through lateral entry channel at one of the granting institutions and the institutions will further make a strong recommendation on PMRF web-portal. How can you apply for the fellowship? What are the steps to be followed for the successful application? Get a step-by-step detail of PMRF application process hereunder.

Step 1: Visit the official web page and read the instructions carefully before applying.
Step 2: Apply for a regular PhD programme (either through direct entry or lateral entry channel) in one of the PMRF granting institutes.
Step 3: In the case of direct entry, if selected, the institute will further nominate the candidates for the fellowship. However, in the case of lateral entry, the candidates will get nominated through the institute in which they are pursuing the PhD programme.
Note: The institutes make the recommendation on behalf of the candidates and upload all relevant information on the PMRF web portal.

PMRF – Documents Required

While applying for a PhD programme at one of the PMRF granting institutes, the candidates may have to attach the following documents:

  • Passport size photograph
  • Scanned copy of mark sheets/grade sheets/transcripts
  • Scanned copy of GATE qualifying certificate
  • Abstract copy (max 1,000 words in a PDF file)
  • CV limited to two A4 pages and submitted only in pdf format. The CV should emphasize only academic achievements and skills, e.g. ranks, merit certificates, internships, publications, research-related software skills, etc.

PMRF – Selection Process

With the change in the eligibility criteria, there is a slight change in the selection process as well. From 2020-21 onwards, the selection will also be made through two channels i.e. Direct Entry Channel and Lateral Entry Channel. Under the direct entry channel, the granting institution, where the candidate has been admitted, will strongly recommend candidates keeping in mind their merit. The final selection will be made on the basis of the following factors –

  • Research exposure
  • Publications
  • Performance in international academic competitions
  • Grades
  • Recommendation letters

Furthermore, under the lateral entry channel, the granting institution, where the candidate has been admitted, will strongly recommend the candidates on the basis of merit demonstrated by him/her during the first 12-24 months (as relevant) of the program. The final selection will be made on the basis of the following metrics –

  • Strength of the research proposal
  • Publications record
  • Grades

Note: Due preference will be given to candidates with publications in reputed journals/conferences.

PMRF – Terms and Conditions

  • Each fellow will be given deliverables to be achieved each year at the time of joining. The deliverables will be decided by the assigned guide and the department which the fellow is joining.
  • To continue receiving the fellowship, the fellows are required to undergo an annual review. If their performance is found satisfactory by the review committee, the fellowship will continue.
  • The process of review is rigorous and thus can be done in the form of a national convention (for each discipline).
  • Each fellow is expected to teach once a week in a nearby Polytechnic/ ITI/ Engineering College as per the modalities approved by the Government.
  • In case, the fellows fail to achieve the deliverables, the fellowship could be brought down to institutional level fellowship or even discontinued. 
    Scholarship Registration, Scholarship Status, Find New Scholarship


✔️ What is the deadline for direct entry application?

To apply for PMRF under direct entry channel, there is no separate deadline. The students are required to keep track of the deadline for applying to the regular PhD programme in the PMRF granting institutions.

✔️ What is the last date to apply for PMRF lateral entry?

For lateral entry, the candidates fulfilling eligibility conditions must be nominated by the granting institute within 12 months of joining the PhD programme (if the candidate has joined after Master's degree) or within 24 months of joining the PhD programme (if the candidate has joined after Bachelor's degree. Furthermore, the candidates can apply for PMRF lateral entry at most twice.

✔️ Is there any reservation quota for PMRF?

No, there is no reservation quota applicable in this fellowship

✔️ Who is eligible for PMRF?

As per the latest announcement, the eligibility for the PMRF scheme from 2020-21 onwards has been changed. Now, the selection for the fellowship will be made through two channels namely, Direct Entry Channel and Lateral Entry Channel. The detailed eligibility for both Direct and Lateral entry channel has been given in the 'Eligibility' section above.

✔️ What is the PMRF deadline for this year?

Considering the exceptional circumstances, there can be several rounds of selections this year. This first nomination deadline will be sometime in August. All granting institution will be notified about the deadline in advance.

✔️ Who should a candidate approach for lateral entry nomination, if he/she is PhD student in one of the PMRF granting institutions?

In this case, the point of contact for such candidates is their supervisor, head of department and PhD coordinators.

✔️ Will there be interviews conducted for the selection of PMRF?

No, there will be no interviews conducted for the fellowship. The selection committee will look into all the nominations received from each institute and select suitable candidates on the basis of their application.