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UK science centre names scholarship after Indian botanist

The Janaki Ammal scholarship will be awarded to post-graduate research applicants who wish to study plant and microbial sciences.

One of Britain’s leading centres for research and training in plant and microbial science has launched a new scholarship for post-graduate students from developing countries in honour of a botanist who was among the first women from India to obtain a PhD in botany.

The John Innes Centre in Norfolk, in the East Anglia region of England, chose to honour Dr Janaki Ammal for her work at the John Innes Horticultural Institution first in the 1930s and then between 1940 and 1945.

The Janaki Ammal Scholarship Scheme will award scholarship to post-graduate research applicants from 88 eligible countries who wish to study plant and microbial sciences at the John Innes Centre.

“We take great pride in our international alumni…and we are delighted to name this new scheme in her honour,” said Professor Dale Sanders, director of the John Innes Centre. The scheme has been set up to reduce the financial impact of UK tuition fees on international students from less developed and lower income countries, including India.

“At the John Innes Centre, we strive for a level playing field on which all students compete on scientific merit, irrespective of nationality, economic status or gender. For this reason, we’ve established this mechanism to support students from low income countries with their tuition fees,” added Sanders.

The award applies to graduate students from least developed, low income or lower middle-income countries as defined by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This includes sub-Saharan African countries and India, but excludes middle-income countries such as China and many Latin American countries.

Janaki Ammal’s research linked with the John Innes Centre led to the publication of the ‘Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated Plants’, which she wrote jointly with the then Director, CD Darlington. She ultimately returned to India to continue a distinguished career in science before she passed away in 1984.


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