Pune: BCIPL and PKC Launch Round 2 of WEnyan Scholarship Program Empowering Women in Maharashtra

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Pune, 5th July 2023: BASF Chemicals India Private Limited (BCIPL) and the Pune Knowledge Cluster (PKC) have jointly announced the launch of Round 2 of the WEnyan Research Scholarship & Mentorship Program for Women in Maharashtra. This program aims to empower women in scientific fields, particularly those from marginalized communities and low-income groups, by providing them with opportunities to pursue undergraduate and master’s projects in Chemistry and allied areas.

WEnyan, which stands for “Women in Education” and “Knowledge” in Marathi, is a comprehensive scholarship program that promotes gender equality in the scientific workforce. It offers mentorship and monitoring by women in leadership positions from scientific fields who actively participate in the selection process. The initiative also includes prototyping grants for early-stage women entrepreneurs, along with sustenance money and six months of incubation support.

Priya Nagaraj, the Chief Executive Officer of Pune Knowledge Cluster, expressed her enthusiasm for the program, stating, “PKC envisions WEnyan as a flagship program to increase the enrollment and retention of women in scientific streams, creating a more gender-equal workforce.” She further added that the scholarship program focuses on Applied Natural Sciences, Specialty Chemicals, Agri-Chemicals, New Materials, and Sustainability.

In the previous round (Year 2022-23), the WEnyan program successfully awarded scholarships to 21 women in Maharashtra. Among them, seven undergraduate students received Rs 10,000 per month for three months of project work, ten postgraduate students were granted Rs 15,000 per month for six months, and four PhD students in the Entrepreneur category received Rs 15,000 per month for six months, along with an additional prototyping grant of 6.5 Lakhs.

The call for applications for Round 2 opened on April 1 and will close on August 25, 2023. Interested candidates, who have completed or are pursuing undergraduate or master’s degrees in Chemistry and allied fields, can submit their applications through the PKC website (www.pkc.org.in). The application must be accompanied by a project proposal or idea, which needs to be routed through a project guide. Candidates applying for the prototyping grant as entrepreneurs should submit an idea or proof of concept for their product. Additionally, applicants are required to provide details of their annual income or a non-creamy layer certificate, whichever is applicable.

To increase awareness about the program among students, multiple awareness sessions have been organized across Maharashtra. The 20th awareness session was organised on July 4 by Dr Ritika Ganguly, Project Manager at PKC.

In addition to the WEnyan program, Pune Knowledge Cluster has also launched a new initiative called LEAD (Learn, Explore, Access, and Discover). Under this capacity-building vertical, LEAD provides vocational exposure and networking opportunities to undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD students. Through study tours, field visits, and interactions with experts from various knowledge-driven sectors, students gain insights into the Science and Technology ecosystem in the Pune region, including research institutions, startups, and industries, said Gayatri Kshirsagar, Assistant Program Manager at PKC.

The first study tour under LEAD will take place on July 19, 2023, at Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI), Pune. Students pursuing degrees in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Biotechnology, Botany, and Environmental Science can register for the tour, which offers a chance to visit state-of-the-art research laboratories and interact with industry experts and researchers. The tour aims to provide students with exposure to cutting-edge technology, explore internship opportunities that can enable employability relevant skills.


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