UGC plans to suggest focus areas of research work to varsities

In an effort to give research activities a major thrust, the University Grants Commission (UGC) is planning to suggest core areas and subjects on which researches by doctoral students can be encouraged in different universities across the country.

“There have been concerns that research work being carried out in our universities is not of very high quality, repetitive and socially relevant,” UGC chairman D P Singh was quoted as saying by a news agency.

The UGC is in the process of consultations with subject experts in various disciplines post which it will prepare a list of major thrust areas to suggest to universities.

“We want all the research work to be very focused and socially, locally or nationally relevant. For example, universities in tribal-dominated areas should come up with work that helps in tribal upliftment and lens relevant information and data for the government to frame policies,” he said, adding, “Similarly universities in places where Ganges, for instance, flows through—research works by students can explore subjects that include water pollution and ways to deal with it.”

A list of some of the focus areas which were sent to central and state universities will be ‘advisory’ in nature and the UGC will ask the varsities to adopt them from ‘utilitarian’ point of view.

According to data available from the Ministry of Human Resources Development sources, there were over 1,23,712 students enrolled in PhD programmes in the country in 2016-17 — maximum PhDs are enrolled in state public universities, followed by institutions of national importance.

While 41, 566 students enrolled in the state public universities for 2016-17 academic session, 26,012 of them had enrolled in institutions of national importance. A total of 17,715 students had registered for PhD in central universities in the year where as 16,595 of them enrolled in private universities, the MHRD data showed.