9 Indian scholars in Gates Cambridge University Class of 2021

Aditi Khanna
·3-min read

London, Apr 14 (PTI) Nine Indian scholars have been selected among 74 worldwide candidates for the prestigious Gates Cambridge Class of 2021, the University of Cambridge’s leading international postgraduate scholarship programme.

The Gates Cambridge scholarship programme, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary, was established through a USD 210 million donation to the University of Cambridge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 – the largest single donation to a UK university.

'This year has been extraordinarily challenging, but it has highlighted the importance of the international, outward-looking and socially committed approach of these diverse and outstanding scholars,” said Professor Barry Everitt FRS, Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust.

'Like their predecessors, this year’s cohort are an extraordinarily impressive and diverse group who have already achieved much in terms of their academic studies and leadership abilities and have already shown their commitment to improving the lives of others in multiple ways,' he said.

'We are sure that the 2021 class of scholars will flourish in the rich, international community at Cambridge and will make a significant impact in their fields and in the wider global community,' he added.

The list of Indian scholars includes Ila Ananya, an MPhil Social Anthropology student who completed her Masters in Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London. Rishabh Bajoria is a PhD student in Legal Studies who wants to pursue a doctoral project interrogating the historical trajectories of international law through the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960.

US-based Tathagat Bhatia is pursuing an MPhil in History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine and hopes to “better understand how we might bring a historical sensibility to our contemporary discussions about remediating the climate crisis'.

Other Indian scholars on the list include educationists Surya Deka and Nikita Jha and epidemiologist Anwesha Lahiri from Cambridge University. Psychology graduate Mishika Mehrotra, astronomy student Arnab Sarkar and genetics scholar Samarpita Sen complete the Indian class of 2021 for the scholarship.

Indian students have a good track record with the Gates Cambridge programme, with 11 selected in 2008 and 10 in 2001. Apart from the US, India has the highest share of Gates Cambridge Scholars-Elect this year.

Besides, there are a number of Indian-origin scholars on the list as well, including Indian American physical sciences student Venkata Chaluvadi, radiologist Tanvi Rao, healthcare expert Veeraj Shah and English Literature student Meena Venkataramanan.

Since the first class in 2001, Gates Cambridge said it has awarded over 2,000 scholarships to scholars from 111 countries who represent more than 600 universities globally and more than 80 academic departments and all 31 Colleges at Cambridge.

The Gates Cambridge Trust said that in addition to generous funding to do their research, with no age limit on candidates, the scholars-elect will benefit from the strong sense of community and identity that has been forged by their predecessors and an absolute commitment to improving the lives of others. The 74 new scholars will be joined by up to 10 scholars who are deferring from 2020, to form a class of 84 this October.

They come from 30 countries and are studying subjects ranging from post-violence narratives of resistance and the development of contextually relevant curricula and pedagogy with marginalised schools and communities to clean energy access and development and the transportation of nucleic acids into cellular environments.

The 2021 cohort comprises 42 women, 31 men and one non-binary scholar. PTI AK ZH ZH