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COMMENTARY
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 64  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 421-424  

Funding opportunities for health research in India – A technical scan


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, India
2 Associate Professor, Department of Physiology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, India

Date of Submission03-Feb-2020
Date of Decision02-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance05-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication11-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Jean Fredrick
Department of Physiology, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_9_20

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   Abstract 


Health research plays an integral part in scientific and academic innovation in health care. India, a rapidly developing country, showed a tremendous increase in the number of health research projects and publications in recent years. Given the broad spectrum of health research areas and a vast number of funding agencies that fund specific areas, it is difficult to gain knowledge about them from a single source. Hence, we scanned the various funding opportunities which exist in India for healthcare research. Various agencies fund health-care research on their thrust areas of national importance. Choosing the funding agency depending on the area of interest and following the guidelines given by them ensures a successful proposal for funding. This article enlists various funding agencies and gives overall information about the nature of support and fund provided for health research in India.

Keywords: Funding, grant, health research, Research and Development


How to cite this article:
Srinivasan K, Fredrick J, Gupta R, Singh N. Funding opportunities for health research in India – A technical scan. Indian J Public Health 2020;64:421-4

How to cite this URL:
Srinivasan K, Fredrick J, Gupta R, Singh N. Funding opportunities for health research in India – A technical scan. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 22];64:421-4. Available from: https://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2020/64/4/421/303108




   Introduction Top


Health research plays an integral part in scientific and academic innovation in health care.[1] India, a rapidly developing country, showed a tremendous increase in the number of health research projects and publications in recent years.[2] The research outcomes depend on many factors such as the study design, variables measured, and available funding opportunities. Funding can help the researcher do comprehensive research in an area by increasing the study variables, sample size and using sophisticated state-of-the-art equipment, which increases the reliability and validity of the obtained data and outcome.[2] According to estimates, the availability of funds for health research in India is meager, and only a small proportion is being utilized for public health research.[2],[3] Since appropriately targeted utilization of available funds has a significant impact on the project outcome, it is paramount that the present-day researchers are well abreast of the current funding opportunities.[4] Given the broad spectrum of health research areas and a vast number of funding agencies that fund specific areas, it is difficult to gain knowledge about them from a single source. In addition, there exist only a limited number of articles on details of funding for health research in India. Hence, we scanned various funding opportunities available in India for health-care research and enlisted the research programs offered by various funding agencies. Thrust areas supported by the research programs, nature of support, duration of support, and amount/grant awarded are tabulated in the [Supplementary Table 1].




   Agencies/Organizations Providing Research Grants Top


Council of Scientific and Industrial Research

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is a premier Research and Development (R and D) organization of India and is among the world's largest publicly funded R and D organization.[6],[24] CSIR supports research proposals focusing on basic sciences and of applied nature attempting to solve problems in newer and complementary fields of science and technology. It provides grants to regularly employed professors/experts in the universities, IITs, postgraduate institutions, recognized R and D laboratories both in public and private sectors.[24]

Science and Engineering Research Board

Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) was initiated in the year 2008 with the mandate of promoting basic research in science and engineering and of matching the best global practices in the area of promotion and funding basic research.

  1. Core Research Grant scheme of SERB provides core research support to the active researchers to encourage emerging/eminent scientists in the field of science and engineering working in a recognized academic institution or any other recognized R and D institution in India[6]
  2. Start-up Research Grant (SRG) scheme is a one-time career grant provided to assist scientists to initiate their research career in their institution. Researchers holding a regular academic/research position and working in cutting-edge areas of science and technology are eligible to apply[7]
  3. SERB Women Excellence, a one-time award is given to women scientists below 40 years of age who have received national recognition such as Young Scientist Medal, and Young Associate[8]
  4. Scientific and Useful Profound Research Advancement (SUPRA) is a scheme for high-quality proposals with a new hypothesis that provides out of box solutions. Projects that focus on the quantum of advances and challenges in new areas and concepts are considered for this scheme. The applicant must hold a regular academic or research position in a recognized academic institution or national laboratory or any other recognized R and D institution in India with at least 5 years of service remaining[9]
  5. Empowerment and Equity Opportunities for Excellence in Science is a research grant scheme provided to researchers who belong to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category and hold a PhD in science or engineering to research advanced areas of science and engineering.[10]


Department of Biotechnology

Department of Biotechnology (DBT) provides several fellowships and research grants for outstanding scientists in the field of biological sciences and biotechnology. Applicants should possess an outstanding record of publications along with PhD, MD, or an equivalent degree relevant to biomedical genomics. DBT also provides funding in collaboration with other agencies such as welcome trust, full bright scholarship to motivate research and to explore new areas of research.[11],[12]

Department of Science and Technology

Department of Science and Technology (DST) is the nodal department for organizing, coordinating and promoting S and T activities in the country. DST supports research through many schemes which on one hand promote high-end basic R and D of cutting-edge technologies while on the other hand, through the development of appropriate skills, service the technological requirements of the common man.

  1. Innovation of Science Pursuit for Inspire Research (INSPIRE) is an innovative scheme proposed by the DST for the attraction of young talents to science. INSPIRE Fellowship offers fellowships every year for researchers between 22 and 27 years of age to pursue doctoral degrees in both basic and applied sciences while INSPIRE Faculty Scheme offers postdoctoral fellowships every year in the age group of 27–32 years[13],[14]
  2. Science and Technology of Yoga and Meditation (SATYAM) funds proposals whose primary focus is on comprehensive research on yoga and meditation with an interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience, medicine, and psychology[15]
  3. Women Scientists Scheme of DST aims to support women scientists who desire to return to the mainstream after a break in their career and are between the age group of 27–57 years. Women scientist scheme-A (WOS-A) supports research in Basic/Applied Sciences. Women scientist scheme-B (WOS-B) supports S and T interventions for societal benefit. Women Scientist Scheme-C (WOS-C) aims to train women for 1 year and create a pool of women scientists for creating and managing intellectual property rights in India.[16]


Indian Council of Medical Research

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) provides research grants for biomedical scientists/professionals under schemes such as short duration low-cost proposals and Ad hoc projects. A scientist of eminence working on a specific area of medical importance on its one or multiple aspects such as disease causation, progression, prevention, and management can apply for the funding for creating centers for advanced research (CAR) under CAR scheme.[17],[18]

ICMR provides support for MD/MS/DM/MCh and MDS thesis and postdoctoral fellows.[19] ICMR offers 50 postdoctoral fellowships every year for working in ICMR Institutes and Centers with state-of-art R and D facilities.[20] For undergraduate MBBS/BDS students, ICMR sponsors the Short-Term Studentship Program to provide them with an opportunity to learn research methodology and techniques.[21]

Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy

Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) has introduced a Scheme for Extra-Mural Research to support R and D in its priority areas which are based on disease burden in alignment with National Health programs. The support is provided for principal investigators who are having experience in the proposed areas of research and are from reputed institutes/organizations.[22]

Defence Research and Development Organization

The mission for funding of Life Sciences Research Board (LSRB) of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has been to establish a network with research faculty in Indian academic research centers and augment research infrastructures. They support advanced research to develop essential knowledge and capabilities for DRDO's immediate and futuristic needs. The DRDO laboratory will use the outcome for the development of products and technology for defense services.[25]

Indian National Science Academy

The objective of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) is to promote scientific knowledge in India and its practical application to problems of national welfare and coordination among scientific academies, societies, institutions, the Government scientific departments and services. INSA currently involves 10 positions of INSA Distinguished Professors for promotion and service to science, support to INSA superannuated scientists, and INSA Visiting Scientists. INSA's senior scientists' program was developed to utilize the INSA fellow's expertise even after superannuation. The scientists can continue to work in their area of choice for a tenure of 3 years in an R and D center/university/institution in India.[26]

Department of Health Research

The vision of Department of Health Research (DHR) is to motivate scientists to bring innovative methods and solutions in diagnosing, treating and preventing diseases and to translate these solutions into products and processes for health-care delivery.

“Grant-in-aid Scheme for Inter-Sectoral Convergence and Coordination for Promotion and Guidance on Health Research” considers proposals in fundamental/strategic R and D and evaluation of a tool, and operational research for financial support.

Human Resource Development of Health Research scheme provides short-term/long-term fellowship for training in Indian institutes and foreign institutes to specialize in priority areas of health research. Start-up grants are provided for scientists who have undergone training through short-term/long-term fellowships.[23]

Other funding opportunities

Several professional bodies and associations provide grants for research on thrust areas. The researchers can explore these options for getting funds and submit the proposals in the prescribed format. For instance, the National tuberculosis association of India provides financial assistance of Rs. 50,000 for short-term research projects for students and doctors.[27] Several operational research projects on tuberculosis are funded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare under National Tuberculosis Elimination Project.[28]

International funding agencies such as the World Health Organization,[29] National Institute of Health[30] provide funding for research activities based on their priority areas.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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