yim 2024 notes

11 min readMar 25, 2024


In the second part of this report, we shall discuss the takeaways from interactive ‘Ask Us Anything’ panel discussion, ice-breaker sessions, and proceedings from the PDF satellite meeting that followed the YIM 2024.

  1. Ask us anything panel:

1. Entirley in India- hiring- are we on par with those who go abroad?

  1. Go out to meetings.
  2. Earlier mindset- not good enough to go abroad
  3. Mentors- talk to directors when they go to different institutes
  4. Can go to EMBO grants for a month or so
  5. Interdisciplinary research. Person from multiple backgrounds- which department to apply?
  6. UG teaching curriculum- atleast one training. Tell them these are the courses I am ready to teach
  7. Research institute- give value to interdisciplinary experience
  8. After you get a job, where will you get students from?
  9. You have to change what you do based on the local environment
  10. Dual departments. Get students from other department.
  11. Is your CV competititve?
  12. Retirement- 60/65. So if you join at 40 institution wont gain much . Age bar in application
  13. Do IITs/IISERs hire at assoc professor? OBC recruitment. Backlog positions.
  14. Programme manager to help Yis
  15. Moving on from previous publications to trans disciplinary research:
  16. Getting first grant is easier.
  17. Reasons to eliminate project since there are less funding.
  18. Helps to have a co-PI
  19. Get another second grant to keep the lab going
  20. Purchase processes:
  21. DBT now has only one recurring head.
  22. Procurement.
  23. Employ a person in your department by pooling together money from 2–3 labs.
  24. Purchase committees with senior people. Learn institutional mechanisms.
  25. Reentry fellowships:
  26. Ramanujam, Ramalingswamy, inspire
  27. Institutional flexibility- allow PhD students.
  28. After PhD- independent researcher.
  29. Plan for not being absorbed.
  30. Use it as a currency to apply to other places.
  31. Co-PI grants. YI. Co-corresponding authors. No paper with single corresponding author.
  32. Tell panel it is interdisciplinary and you have to collaborate.
  33. Biologists- very specialised.
  34. Financial release close to March end:
  35. Order, don’t wait. Balance sheet is negative for a while.
  36. Govt looks at other spending as well. Get you the money just in time due to interest rate
  37. Be prepared for end of FY spending.
  38. Be friends with vendors.
  39. Whats the highest impact factor?
  40. Paper with the largest number of citations.
  41. List by impact factor? Although not allowed.
  42. Feedback from PhD students on mentorship:
  43. Social media as feedback,
  44. Students wrote to conference and speaker was removed!

13. Collaborations.

Vini- IISc- YI. Lots of responsibilities as YI? Really difficult to manage.


Talk to department chair and deans- structural time commitment.

Can the onus be on them?

14. Applying for grants- peers are doing it. Why committee behaves the way they do?

Don’t read grants before coming in. Don’t make decisios properly.

More applications than money.

15. Startup funding- one year. Cant apply to other grants as well.

Amounts of funding have not grown.

Granting agencies have not grown in their infrastructure.

Institutional safety net- startup mechanism.


  1. Describe in 5 words
  2. Story-building
  3. Group discussions
  4. How to maintain a friendly environment in the lab?

Day 4 and 5- PDF satellite meeting

Introduction to the PDF Satellite Meeting by L S Shashidhara, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru

Institutional representatives of National institutes, IITs, IISERs, research institutions, private univerisities and state universities

40 postdoctoral fellows

The institutional talks covered the different facilities and amenities in the institute, the hiring process, and the expectations of the institute from new faculty.

The PDFs gave ‘lightning talks’ of 5 minutes to present their research.

Open discussion session on start-up funding and faculty fellowships, project administration and grant management in life science in India

Ask us anything interactive panel

Takeaways in bullet points

PDF day 1 open discussion:

  1. Research proposal
  2. Combine PhD and postdoc experience so that you do not compete with your advisors
  3. Customise proposal according to the university you are applying to
  4. Check which institutes have which responsibilities and facilities
  5. Cover letter- mention institute correctly
  6. Informal visit while coming for a holiday or during conference is encouraged
  7. Be specific- dont just asy I will collaborate, mention the name of the person with whom you will collaborate. Contact them before writing proposal.
  8. Only apply if you think you will be a good fit. You will be there for 30 years
  9. Incubation period for faculty
  10. Only if we can accommodate them later
  11. What about their students?
  12. Look out for these terms- paylevel, paygrade, AGP
  13. scientist d/e/f/g
  14. Recruitment cycle:
  15. IISc- rolling. 1 special recruitment drive going on. If you come under the special category, apply through that only, not the open category.
  16. IITB- 6 month recruitment cycle
  17. Special recruitment drive for women.
  18. Collaborations for interdisciplinary research
  19. Research proposal and grant proposal are different
  20. Dont have to include too much preliminary data or research methodology
  21. Prefer research hospital for clinical collaborations
  22. Transferring cell lines, plasmids etc
  23. SNU- Material transfer before coming here
  24. Check National Biodiversity Authority
  25. Institutional level MTAs. Get NOC from old institute
  26. Getting industry funds:
  27. IISc- office of development and alumni affairs
  28. Check donors
  29. Check CSR website
  30. Template MOU- Identify companies that can support your research. Negotiate royalty.
  31. IISc- one day a week consulting
  32. BliSc- philanthropy grant
  33. IITB- can get lots of alumni funds for translational research.
  34. Weightage of teaching plan
  35. BHU- due weightage.
  36. Can you design independent course
  37. To teach in the zoology department, you must have a zoology degree.


“I want to do this for my country”- Rashna. There are many challenges and it’s slow. Figure out how to take it slow while being internationally competitive.

Start-up funding and faculty fellowships in life science in India

Key takeaways from the open discussion to be mentioned in bullet points here.

Project administration and grant management

PDF day 2 open discussion:

  1. What if 1st aim of the grant does not work?
  2. Mention alternate hypothesis in grant
  3. PrelimiNARY data helps
  4. Make sure grant is not over ambitious and can be finished within the timeframe of the grant
  5. Get it checked by a senior colleague from a different field
  6. Having a flowchart summary helps
  7. Logical series of aims; Not 3 different projects.
  8. Transparence of department fund distribution to faculty
  9. Young faculty get more typically
  10. Dept sits together and funds are allocated mutually
  11. Publication fees:
  12. NIBMG pays pub fee > 3.5l
  13. ARI- contingency
  14. Ask for waivers since India cant afford
  15. Publish in good society journals that are free
  16. Women in science:
  17. What if in a men full of room womens voice not heard?
  18. Repeat your point, be persistent.
  19. Duty of authority to sensitise others
  20. Some responsibilities are more difficult for women. Ex: Meeting in delhi, acco not confirmed
  21. 10 years ago when this discussion happened at YIM, men left the room.
  22. Since women are only 16% PI and committees have a mandate of 30% women members, they are put in more committees and have to work more.
  23. Patternity leave.
  24. IITB- men complaint against women taken up too.
  25. Ombudsman
  26. Formal complaint- both parties must be heard out.
  27. Institutional complaint committee.
  28. On paper things are supposed to be confidential, but it does not work that way.

Closing remarks to the PDF Satellite Meeting by Rashna Bhandari, Board Member, IndiaBioscience

16th YIM

11/3/24 to 15/3/24

Courtyard by Mariott, Bhopal and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal

Session wise notes- Sindhu

Day-1: Moderator: Karishma Kaushik, IndiaBioscience

  • Welcome note by LS Shashidhara, Board member, IndiaBioscience
  • He made the case for state-sponsored science on basic sciences with the example of India attaining self-sustainability in agriculture.
  • He also briefed the audience about the recent efforts of the Government of India, such as the New Education Policy and the National Research foundation to promote multidisciplinarity, internationalisation of science and promoting collaborations between academia and industry.
  • Talk by Karishma KaushikExecutive Director, IndiaBioscience on Engaging communities, enabling change and Talk by Arushi Batra, IndiaBioscience on Digital footprint at YIM 2024
  • Karishma: Initiatives of IndiaBioscience. Opportunities and outreach available at IBS.
  • Arushi highlighted the digital initiatives of IndiaBioscience such as podcasts, webinars and audio and video snippets. Importance of digital networking in her career and how it can help other too.
  • Mentor talk by Ramray Bhat, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru on Seeking form and patterns in cancer; trials, twirls, and thrills and Mentor talk on My dog diaries and silver linings by Anindita Bhadra, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata
  • Ramray Bhat shared with his audience his journey as faculty at IISc and the challenges and lessons he faced. While starting his group he faced issues with grant portals, shortlisting JRF applications with superfluous CVs, issues with getting samples from patients.
  • Shared her career journey of over 20 years that began with her PhD and postdoc at IISc and her journey to IISER Kolkata. She joined the institute during its initial years and juggled her time between research, designing lab modules and coursework curriculum and acquiring equipments.
  • Special talk 1 Life science funding in India Sanjay Mishra, Senior Advisor, Department of Biotechnology, GoI
  • Shared tips on writing research grants from the perspective of the funding agency and warned the audience against some of the common pitfalls.
  • The icebreaker at YIM 2024
  • Story whisperer. The story began with a postdoctoral fellowship looking for a job, and then looking for a grant as a PI and powered through obstacles along the way.
  • 5 words
  • Young Investigator huddles- Building a positive lab culture in India. Leveraging digital networking.
  • EMBO Guest lecture series From a non-model organism to models and back: How to ignore misleading top-down strategies from funding agencies by Frederic Berger, Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology GmbH, Austria
  • He talked about the different initiatives of EMBO such as postdoctoral fellowships, courses and workshops, young group leaders and the EMBO press that supports open science and Review commons, a preprint review platform of EMBO. He also charted his research journey that spanned continents and had valuable advice for young investigators. He urged them to ensure that lab members
  • Networking mixer
  • Dinner

Day 2: IISER Bhopal- Moderator: Varun Chaudhary, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal

Day 3 Moderator: Ragothaman Yennamalli, SASTRA Deemed to be University, Thanjavur

  • Mentor talk on
  • Membrane protein barrels: Biophysical and functional studies by Mahalakshmi Radhakrishnan, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal and
  • Mentor talk on Sequences, structures, systems and data science: My journey through the evolution of bioinformatics by Andrew Lynn, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
  • Mentor talk- Aspiring minds: Journey as an academic scientist pioneering meaningful innovations in bone health by Ritu Trivedi, CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow. Ritu talked about her journey from being a young student and then switching fields and securing a postdoc position at NIH and coming back to India with her husband and securing her position at CDRI while
  • Talk
  • Science Communication at IndiaBioscience by Ankita Rathore, IndiaBiosciencE
  • Bachelors- biomed sciences
  • Masters- toxicology
  • JRF- nanotrchnology. Research regulatory officer

Best awsar story

Cactus- freelance science writer

Thsti faridabad- 6 month internship. CYC workshop.Phd- S&T communication

Assistant manager operations metro

Around India with IBS



Ideas for posters/ resources

JOYI 2024 compendium

Can write about life science events/ conference

  • IndiaBioscience Outreach Grants at 5 years by Manjula Harikrishna, IndiaBioscience
  • Outreach grants
  • Sci communicator, educator, postdoc community, Yis
  • IOG- Yis. Seed funcing- 1lakh.
  • Virtual, online, podcasts, webinars
  • First time grant and extension grant.
  • YI= <8 years.
  • Collaborate and communicate your science to the society outside.
  • 1lakf for a tenure of 1 year.
  • Extension grant- sustaibility of outreach grant. 1.5 l per year.
  • India asks why
  • Game by sheshadhri
  • Talk to a scientist project
  • Online webinar
  • CARBON Exhibition-in-a-Box by Ahalya Acharya and Shelwyn James, Science Gallery Bengaluru
  • Ahalya Acharya, the communications manager at SGB and Shelwyn James, learning associate at SGB brought the Carbon exhibition of SGB from Banglaore to Bhopal in box and explained the idea behind the concept of ‘Exhibition-in-a-box’.
  • Group Photo | Tea | Coffee | Light refreshments
  • Special talk
  • The road towards making research human-relevant: Status quo and challenges in India by Surat Parvatam, Humane Society International
  • She highlighted the various aspects of moving away from animal models to models that mimic the human body better such as organ on a chip, organoids, computer models. Besides collaboration between engineers and scientists to develop such platforms, policy and refulatory changes to enable the translation of research done on human-relevant models.
  • - Design thinking for life science research environments by Vikash Kumar, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida
  • Lunch
  • Spotlight talk
  • Exploring perspectives: The influence of Large Language Models (LLMs) in research and publishing by Neelanjan Sinha, TNQ Technologies
  • Power of translation in science: Inventions to profitable technologies by Ramjee Pallela, Atal Incubation Centre — Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad
  • Networking break
  • Virtual talk- YIM: 15 years on by Ron Vale, Janelia Research Campus, HHMI, US
  • The first YIM was very much an experiment in science culture. It was an unusual meeting without any predenect anywhere in the world.”
  • Dinner conversation- 3 other juniro faculty at NCBS
  • Experience of transitioning from a postdoc to an independent research group.
  • Not a problem specific to NCBS.
  • To get young scientists to meet one another.
  • Not just new building or equipments. Science is built on the success of other people.
  • How to get grants
  • National and international issues in science
  • Enlightening for policy makers to hear what was on the minds of young scientists
  • “Even now some of the famous scientists had some the same struggles that early career scientists now have”
  • “We’ve been away from India for so long and didn’t go what was going on. This meeting was enlightening as to what is happening in India”
  • Instead of one year- all year round- IndiaBioscience website/newsletter
  • YIM lessons:
  • Sense of community is palpable
  • Intellectual and collborative environments
  • Joy, resilience and support
  • The lab- creating community. Made coming to lab more joyful and made people to do better science. Rather than just training them to do experiments.
  • Creating community- courses
  • Hhmi values
  • “India as a community. The more the people can interact throughout India”
  • “Young scientists can be agents of intentioal leaders and building a sense of community”
  • “It is the hunger of being part of osmehing bigger than yourself and being part of community is a major driver of YIM being successful and still going”


Fav yim moment- 3rd year- field trip- buddhist caves- late- miss panel session- panel discussion in the buddhist cave

Collaborations that go forward- formally

  • Round up Summary of YIM 2024 and the year ahead for IndiaBioscience by Karishma Kaushik and Shwetha C, IndiaBioscience
  • All activities of IBS
  • Talk- closing remarks by Roop Mallik, Board Member, IndiaBioscience
  • Yim- dinner conversation idea
  • Note of collaborations that arose from yim YIM
  • Ice breaker session was new and good.

Ajay Kumar Jha:

American Chemical Society (India): Enabling science for everyone


Publishing workshop

Empower community rather than downgrade standards

Growing open access publication

ACS author lab- vertificate course

Early career editorial board

Day 4- open discussion session:




Poetry and some random words. Grad student trying to document my PhD journey semi-anonymously.