JOIN THE BIODIVERSITY LAB
I am currently looking for Post-doctoral Research Fellows, PhD students, Junior Research Fellows and trainees to join the lab. I am especially looking for experienced people who are well-versed in bioinformatics, molecular biology methods, phylogenetic methods, or field ecology. Students with degrees in genetics, biodiversity, zoology, entomology, biostatistics, biochemistry, biotechnology and bioinformatics will be at an advantage, although students with degrees in any field of biology are encouraged to apply to join my lab. Please contact me if you have the qualifications and interest to participate in the kind of research that is done in my lab. You will have the freedom to choose whether or not you want to work on ongoing projects, and how much time you want to devote to those projects. You will also be free to work independently on a new research project or study system provided that your project is: (a) scientifically interesting and on a solid footing, and/or (b) related to biodiversity research and conservation in the Indian Region, and thus in line with the long-term goals of my lab (remember that the definition of biodiversity is broad, and I am interested in research that spans from the fields of community ecology to molecular genetics). Potential lab members who will bring considerable experience and/or expertise with a particular scientific method or group of organisms, or bring new exciting projects and collaborations to the lab, are very welcome and will be especially valued.
Before contacting me with any queries, you are advised to read about various opportunities and ways to join the lab, as well as general expectations and guidelines, given below. Separate guidelines are given for students at different stages, so please read this entire page carefully.
GENERAL GUIDELINES AND ADVICE: The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) is one of the leading research institutes in India for all areas of the biological sciences, and hosts some of the highest-regarded life scientists. The academic environment is exceptionally enriching for people at all levels, from visiting undergraduate interns to faculty members. NCBS is well-funded, the infrastructure is top notch, and the research facilities are world-class. Considering all this together, NCBS offers arguably the best academic experience in India. The only downside of this is that it is a competitive place. It attracts the best students, and choosing between them is sometimes difficult. So, read all the relevant information that is available on the NCBS website and on this lab website, and try to prepare the best case for yourself before contacting me with queries to join the lab. Here are a few things that will help you in making your case stronger:
(a) Mention briefly why you are particularly interested in my lab. Let me know if anyone I know specifically recommended that you contact me.
(b) Prior research experience and publications will be a huge plus, so emphasize these things in your first email.
(c) Let me know if you have qualified the UGC-CSIR or other national fellowships, and/or you have other significant scholarships and fellowships that may support your application.
(d) Briefly mention your long-term career goals, so that I know where you are headed. It is fine if you do not yet know this, but some idea will help.
Also, if you applying for Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Junior Research Fellow or Lab Technician jobs, please mention the range of time period for which you are willing to join the lab.
POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOWS: Several positions are available but at present I can accept Post-doctoral Research Fellows only if they have their own DST or DBT fellowships or other funding support. Post-doctoral Research Fellows are expected to make substantial progress on a current research project they choose in the lab, and also develop their independent research projects. The normal tenure of Post-doctoral Research Fellows in my lab is expected to be two to five years. Consult the detailed information about Post-doctoral Research Fellowship opportunities at NCBS before contacting me. Contact me if you do not have a DST or DBT Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at present but wish to develop a research proposal with me.
PHD AND INTEGRATED PHD STUDENTS: Currently I am accepting PhD and Integrated PhD students. PhD students in my lab are expected to: (a) choose an ongoing research project in the lab as a start, and (b) develop their own ideas and independent research project(s) within the first few years of their PhD programme. The first expectation will ensure that PhD students get trained on a broad range of topics and that they will author at least one or two papers whether or not some of their independent projects and ideas work out. The second expectation will ensure that by the time PhD students defend their PhD theses, they will have a clear idea of their future research programmes, and that they will be an independent scientist. All prospective PhD students must either pass the NCBS entrance examination and be selected through the interview process or have their own UGC-CISR Junior Research Fellowships before they may be considered to join the lab. Students who come through the NCBS entrance examination will get their degrees through TIFR, others with their own UGC-CISR Junior Research Fellowships may register either at Manipal University or SASTRA University where I am registered as a PhD advisor. The normal tenure of PhD students in my lab is expected to be four to six years. Consult the detailed information about NCBS's PhD programme and integrated PhD programme before contacting me. Mention specifically if you want to be co-advised by me for your PhD degree.
LAB TECHNICIAN: One position is currently available. Lab technician is expected to hold a Masters degree. (S)he will be responsible for routine lab work, including DNA extraction, PCR, sequencing, sequence analysis, and maintaining butterfly populations. I will give preference to people who are looking for long-term (three to five years) lab technician jobs, although I will also consider applicants who are looking for short-term positions (one to three years).
JUNIOR RESEARCH FELLOWS: Several positions are available but at present I can only host JRFs who have their own UGC-CSIR or INSPIRE JRF fellowships. JRFs are normally expected to work on current research projects in the lab, and are required to make substantial progress on their projects during their tenure in the lab. JRFs are normally not enroled in any degree programmes, but some may register in a Masters programme (read about Masters programmes at NCBS) or PhD programmes outside of NCBS. Consult information about NCBS research fellowships on the NCBS website. I will give preference to JRF applicants who can make a commitment for two years or longer. The normal tenure of JRFs in my lab is expected to be two to five years.
INTERNS/SUMMER TRAINEES: I am no longer accepting applications for summer internships 2017. Students interested in the summer internship 2018 should contact me between 1 and 15 January 2018, with their CVs and a statement of interest that specifically applies to my lab. I DO NOT ACCEPT AS SUMMER INTERNS STUDENTS FROM THE INDIAN INSTITUTES OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH (IISERs) AND THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH (NISER) UNTIL THEY HAVE FINISHED AT LEAST THREE YEARS OF THEIR BS/MS COURSES.
I am still accepting applications for long-term (at least 6 months) internships from MSc/MTech students for their Masters theses from January-May 2017, and July-December 2017.
Normally, I consider internship applications from students enroled in BSc, BTech, MSc and MTech programmes (both regular and Integrated programmes). Interns are expected to train and work in the lab for two to six months, depending on the time of the year and your educational requirements. I can only accept interns who have their own summer trainee fellowships or other research funding such as from INSPIRE and Indian Academy of Sciences fellowships. I do not accept interns for less than two months for summer internships, and less than five months for thesis internships for Masters programmes. I do not accept any other kind of interns for any duration. Consult the page, training at NCBS, before contacting me. Also note that as a matter of policy, I give reference letters to past interns only for future internships and other training programmes. I give reference letters for PhD programmes in India or abroad only if students have done research in my lab for a year or more. Otherwise I can't judge the ability of students to do well in primary research labs and therefore can't write an honest and strong reference letter.
I can arrange a visitorship or other type of internship with my extramural research funding in case you are outside the standard academic framework or are not at a stage to go through the formal application process to which average lab members are subjected. For example, you may be an amateur, either working in a company or still in school, but interested in butterfly natural history and taxonomy. In this case, all the information in the above paragraphs will not apply to you, but you may still want to work in my lab, get some research experience and contribute to science. I encourage such interaction because most of the best naturalists I know developed through such interactions. So feel free to contact me with whatever you have.
— Krushnamegh Kunte. 20 January 2017.