WINStep Forward (WSF) is a nonprofit based in Madison, WI with a mission to build a bridge between the United States and India through research, science and technology. WSF was founded by Dr. Aseem Ansari, Professor of Chemical Genomics and Synthetic Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014.WSF is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) agency organized under the laws of the State of Wisconsin. The inspiration sparked after Dr. Ansari spent some time on his managing the Khorana and SN Bose Scholar Exchange Programs, and saw the potential for reaching greater heights with more people working to help develop the programs. With the support through partnership with the Government of India (Department of Biotechnology -DBT and Science and Engineering Research Board -SERB) and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).,WSF Forward was born.
Since its inception,WSF has grown from only managing Scholar Exchange Programs to initiating a new training program called “Technology Transfer,” to partnering with Indian Organizations focusing on agricultural sciences in a movement referred to “Rural Development,” and head starting Sci-ROI, a nonprofit that promotes science and technology between India and the USA amongst post PhD graduates and policy makers in India. TheWSF Forward Team is a small, dedicated group of members.
The Khorana and Bose programs, through an annual nation-wide search, identify the top Indian students in STEM fields and place them in research internships at U.S. universities for a period of 10-12 weeks. In addition, the exchange component of the S.N. Bose program identifies U.S. students who are interested in research internships at leading institutions in India. The Khorana and Bose programs provide travel and stipends to scholars. The goal of the programs is to nurture talent and create a seamless community of scientists, engineers and technology leaders between US and India.
History on Khorana Scholars Program and SN Bose Scholar Programs
Founded in 2007, by University of Wisconsin-Madison Professors Aseem Ansari and Ken Shapiro, the program honors Har Gobind Khorana, the Indian-born scientist whose research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison led to the Nobel Prize and ushered in the era of Biotechnology and Synthetic Biology. Khorana epitomizes the value of global exchange of ideas and partnerships. The Khorana program focuses on three key objectives to build deep-rooted bridges to strengthen the strategic partnership between US and India; providing US and Indian scholars with a transformative educational and cultural experience, engaging partners in rural development and sustainable food security programs, and facilitating mutually beneficial public-private partnerships between US and India.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), the Government of India (DBT), and Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) jointly created the prestigious Khorana Program for scholars. This partnership is a first of its kind, and reflects a strong commitment to fostering creativity, excellence and seamless exchange of ideas. In its first four years, nearly 50 students, representing the top 0.008% of the Indian student pool, have conducted research in leading UW laboratories. Many scholars were recruited back to top US universities for graduate research. In parallel, nearly 15 US students were placed in leading academic and industrial laboratories in India. The US scholars developed long-term networks and a unique appreciation for the nature of scientific endeavor in India.
In order to promote fellowships in not only biotechnology but all STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as well as Medicine, Pharma, Agriculture, Wild life and Climate Changed based fields, the S.N. Bose Program was adopted. The S.N. Bose Program was a natural extension of the Khorana Program that was initiated in order to nurture future innovators and thought leaders in multiple academic disciplines. The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW), the Government of India (DST), and the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) once again partnered to develop a dynamic and transformative student exchange program between premier scientific institutions in India and the United States. The Bose program mirrors the prestigious Khorana Scholars Program for biologically related sciences, initiated in 2007 at UW-Madison. The program is named in honor of Satyendra Nath Bose (1894 – 1974), a visionary Indian physicist best known for his work on quantum mechanics in the early 1920s. The class of particles that obey Bose-Einstein statistics, Bosons, was named after him.
The program has now expanded beyond the University of Wisconsin-Madison to partner universities from the West Coast to the East Coast and countless Universities in between. Currently, the Programs typically receive over 5,000 applications each year for the opportunity to study with Universities and organizations throughout the US and India for the summer. A joint India-U.S. selection committee evaluates each and every application and the final students that are selected are among the top 1.5% of the best scholars across India and the US.
The programs are named in honor of Professor Har Gobind Khorana, a pioneer chemical biologist, who shared the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine at University of Wisconsin-Madison for helping decipher the genetic code and for developing methods for nucleic acid synthesis and Professor Satyendra Nath Bose, a visionary Indian physicist best known for his work on quantum mechanics and postulation of the Boson in the early 1920s.