Research at Ashoka spans a diverse range of approaches in various broad areas of basic sciences, humanities, economics and social sciences. The Research Development Office (RDO) has been established to connect faculty and researchers with multiple resources.
In the academic year 2020-21, the office supported the effort of various faculty members and researchers on more than forty extramural research proposals.
Thirty-two of these proposals have received approvals from reputed national/international funding agencies, and eight are pending decisions. Generous internal seed funding has been provided to faculty with the primary goals to achieve excellence in research. During 2020-21, RDO established active MoUs with reputed places such as IITD, NCBS, IGIB, Emory Vaccine Research Centre, etc., also initiated “ASHOKA -IITD Collaborative Project Proposal Scheme” and funded six start-up research projects involving researchers from both institutes.
This year, the team provided support to set up much-needed chemistry lab, computational facilities, insect facilities with centralised CO2 channels and CO2 controlled working stations, Type II A2 biosafety facility, tissue culture facility, and imaging facilities with complete dimensions following proper lab safety guidelines. Other notable instruments include Flash chromatography, Nucleofector, Qubit, Fluorescent microscopy etc.
The initial work for setting up an Archaeology lab, Media lab, Maker-Space have been started. The equipment purchases for developing the Trivedi School of Biological Sciences (TSB) has also been initiated. The RDO currently facilitates 102 PhD students, 6 post-doctoral researchers, and 86 research-project staff across various departments.
Scholars in the programme include both Ashoka funded and external government-funded (UGC, CSIR). Our PhD scholars come from different Indian states, and women comprise 53% of the cohort. All scholars receive a monthly stipend, house rent allowance, and an annual contingency grant. The university also provides medical insurance and generous financial supports to PhD scholars for attending international conferences.
“The 21st century’s research ecosystem has to deal with a different kind of complex environments. Researchers have to master the art of raising and managing funds from diverse sources, navigating ethical considerations, doing science and research in large consortia, evaluating the research impact and addressing the social problems through inter-disciplinary. Setting up a proper research management infrastructure within the universities is the hour's need. The Ashoka Research and Development Office (RDO) has been created to provide dedicated centralised support for Ashoka faculty and researchers towards academic, applied and translational research activities,” says Dr. Anirban Chakraborty, Director, Research & Development, Ashoka University.
The RDO aims to bridge the gap between science and society and create an impact on Ashoka’s research by making it accessible for all. The focus of the Research Communication unit is also on effective liaising between Research, Business and Outreach Offices for the smooth running of outreach and fundraising events.
The team is regularly updating Ashoka’s marketing collaterals and is significantly contributing to the conceptualisation and execution of Ashoka’s various public engagement initiatives.