These questions are based on my students’ inputs and typical questions that I get from prospective students! Do write to me if you have more questions.
1) Do you have a diversity statement?
We strive to achieve diversity of people in the lab. We strongly encourage members from underprivileged and underrepresented groups in Indian science to apply to our lab.
2) Do you encourage international students to apply?
Yes, absolutely. We have had one intern from France who even published a paper with us (reference). Take a look at the following website to know the procedure, including deadlines for applications (which are often not the same as the deadline for Indian nationals). http://iiscp.iisc.ernet.in/ircell/internationalstudents-fulltime.html
3) Are you available during non-work hours?
On most days I am physically not available beyond office hours. On most days as well as weekends, I am reachable over email, phone, messages (sms, whatsapp, etc) even during non-work hours if there are important matters and deadlines for students. Of course, there could be exceptions; so it’s preferable to plan your work assuming that I won’t be available in evenings and weekends (especially if there are recommendation deadlines, etc).
4) Do you expect students to be available during non-work hours?
In general, I dont have such an expectation. I do sometimes* email lab members at non-work hours, with the typical expectation that they respond when they begin their next work day. The only exception to this is when there are pressing/unavoidable deadlines like a grant proposal submission, etc; even in such cases, I try my best to avoid inconvenience to students. (*I used to do this very frequently in the past, but have reduced now considerably due to family commitments).
5) What are working hours in the lab?
Official IISc working hours are (approximately) from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. In our lab, students manage their own work-hours and thus, varies from student to student. In general, I would like that students are available during working hours. Key thing to note is to have substantial overlap with working hours of everyone else (for example, if your work hours are from 7pm to 7am, its a problem but if its from 11 am to 8 pm, its okay!). You should discuss this with me at the beginning of joining the lab.
This is a tip: Aim for eight solid working hours per day, that makes it 40 hours per week. If you do this, I can reasonably assure you that your productivity will be one of the highest among your peers! This eight hours includes discussion time, seminars, thinking time, writing time, coding time, etc but not leisurely chatting time. You will realise how difficult it is to have 8 proper working hours per day – it often requires you to plan for a bit higher like ten hours and it naturally comes down to eight hours.
6) Leave policy.
Broadly, very flexible, as long as you are meeting the mutually agreed upon timelines for progress on your research. There may be instances when you will be asked not to take leave if there are upcoming deadlines like paper submission, conferences, etc.
Official IISc policy allows a maximum of 3 week (21 days) holiday per year for students, with additional one week medical leave. It’s important to email me about absence on any working days, especially if you are travelling out of station. As per institute policy, unnotified absence from lab for more than two days will be taken seriously.
These things change fast, in good and bad ways, so this is the situation when this was written (Jan 2018):
Postdocs may be hired on grants or can join the lab through their own grants from funding agencies. The latter is a better option given the current funding climate.
PhD students in our lab are supported directly by IISc or a national scholarship. This scholarship is available for 5 + 1 years. Students also get some travel money from the Institute (2 lakhs for their duration of PhD). There are various travel grants that you can apply to as well.
Interns are typically funded via KVPY, INSPIRE, Academy Summer Science program, etc. We often provide some small stipend for the unsupported students.
For research expenses, I have typically supported all research expenses of students/postdocs. But given that funding is getting difficult, you are encouraged to aim for student grants as well.
8) What is the nature of the role you play in the courses that students in your lab take? Do you have a say in what courses a student should choose? Do you keep track of the student’s progress in these courses?
I advise what courses to take but much of this responsibility lies with students. I dont keep track of their progress in courses except during annual review of the students at the end of first year. It is students’ responsibility to complete all course credits and academic requirements.
9) What about other lab activities?
Apart from regular lab meetings and general leisurely tea time meetings, we don’t have any. Do you want to start one?
10) I want to apply for project assistantship. What is procedure and expectations for the same?