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UK-India Funding opportunities

RCUK Office in India logoCurrent opportunities for those interested in UK/ India Collaborations are below. Please follow the links for further information. Information on previous opportunities can be found here.

UK-India Newton-Bhabha fund joint call on pulses and oilseeds

The UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) wish to encourage multi-institutional collaborative applications between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high quality three-year projects aimed at increasing the productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses or oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. The call aims to use genomic approaches to accelerate varietal improvement by understanding and exploiting traits to enhance yield potential, increase tolerance to climatic stresses or poor-quality soils, or counter pests or diseases. The funders will support the development and exploitation of new genomic and associated bioinformatic resources, but existing resources should also be used where relevant, particularly for comparative studies.

Applications are invited for multi-institutional collaborative research projects involving scientists in the UK and India, of up to three years in duration. Individual researchers may be involved in multiple proposals.

Up to £3.5 million is available from BBSRC to support the UK components of this research and this is matched by DBT’s support for the Indian components. It is expected that projects funded through this initiative will bring together multiple UK and Indian research groups. Industrial partners can be involved in the research as project partners but are not eligible to receive funding from BBSRC.

Closing date: 16:00 BST (20:30 IST) on Tuesday 24 October 2017 

Full details of the call are available here.

For further information contact:

UK: Debbie Harding at BBSRC: 

India: Dr Sanjay Kalia at DBT:

GCRF: Interdisciplinary Research Hubs call

Research Councils UK invites proposals from eligible UK research organisations to establish and lead a number of challenge-led and impact-focused Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Interdisciplinary Research Hubs which meet the aims of Official Development Assistance.

Between £8 – 20 million (full economic cost) will be available for each Hub, provided over a 5 year period starting on 1 December 2018. It is anticipated that 12-15 Hubs will be awarded. 

Each Hub is required to demonstrate:

  • Challenge and impact focus 
  • Interdisciplinary research excellence 
  • Global partnerships 
  • Organisation and leadership 

Assessment will be through a two-stage process. The first stage will comprise of a short mandatory Intention to Submit survey and call for outline proposals. Following this, the most competitive outline proposals will be invited to develop full proposals.

The Intention to Submit survey must be completed by 29 September 2017

Outline proposals must be submitted by 9 November 2017

Further information is available here

GCRF Global Engagement Events: applications open for participation

RCUK has recently developed a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) global engagement programme.  The programme is taking a number of different approaches to engagement, including running a series of large international, Global Engagement Meetings (GEMs) in different regions of the world; smaller scale capacity building events; and hosting GCRF sessions at other events. 

The aim of these events is to showcase the opportunities available through GCRF, to bring together developing country and UK researchers and to discuss opportunities for maximising the contribution of GCRF research into policy and practice.

The events will be held on the following dates and locations:

  • Colombia (Bogota) Wednesday 4th-Friday 6th October 2017
  • India (Delhi) Tuesday 7th-Thursday 9th November 2017
  • South Africa (Pretoria) Tuesday 5th-Wednesday 6th December 2017

The events have been designed to contain a mixture of plenary sessions, workshops and networking opportunities and will be interdisciplinary and interactive. Each event will have around 100 attendees drawn from different countries, different disciplines, and from a mix of academic and non-academic organisations (e.g. non-governmental organisations; charities; policy makers; international funders). 

How to apply: This is a competitive process and those interested are encouraged to fill the form at the link below by Thursday, 27th July 2017.

Global Events Meeting Application Form

If you would like to know more about the events please contact or see here.

Pre-call announcement: UK-India AMR Initiative

The RCUK – India Strategic AMR Group, which was inaugurated by the UK and Indian Science Ministers in November 2016, as part of the UK-India Tech Summit in New Delhi, is delighted to pre-announce a joint initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance funded by the Newton Fund.

Led by Research Councils UK (RCUK) - the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils and the Indian Department for Biotechnology (DBT) as the nodal agency bringing key Indian funders, this forum is working together on UK-India joint priorities on AMR.

This programme will provide funding for highly collaborative and interdisciplinary research partnerships between the UK and Indian researchers.  In order to develop these collaborations, the funders will hold a residential interactive workshop (also known as a ‘sandpit’) over 3.5 days in India in early November 2017.  A call for Expressions of Interest for UK based participants in this event will be launched in late July 2017.  DBT will manage Indian participation in the event through a separate process.

There will over £6 million available through the Research Councils to support the UK elements of partnerships.  The intention is to fund projects of up to 3 year duration, commencing mid-2018.  The UK contribution will be matched by DBT who will support the Indian component of partnerships.

If you wish to be added to a mailing list to be sent notification when the call for Expressions of Interest in attending the event is live on our website, please email with ‘Add me to mailing list for AMR UK-India call’ in the subject line.

All details are subject to change following further discussion between the funders.

For further information contact:

UK: Naomi Beaumont or Sarah Lobo at ESRC:

India: Dr Shailja Gupta or Dr Sanjay Kalia at DBT:

ESRC-ICSSR Newton call for collaborative research on urban transformations in India

Following a joint UK-India workshop on ‘Urban Transformations in India’ in 2016, the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR)  inviting joint research applications which seek to enhance understanding of the most pressing urban research issues in India.

Proposals should address one or more of the following topics:

  • Urban planning, governance and management
  • Formal and informal populations
  • Place and space: challenges and solutions, including health, sanitation and labour issues
  • Small towns, dynamics of change and migration

The ESRC has allocated up to £1.75 million from the Newton Fund, with matched resources from ICSSR. Four to six research projects will be awarded under this programme.

Closing date to submit proposals is 1st August 2017.

Further information on the call

Newton-Bhabha call on Industrial Waste Challenge 2017

Building on the joint announcement made by the UK and Indian Prime Ministers at the India-UK Tech Summit in November 2016, the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Innovate UK, EPSRC and India’s DBT organised a joint scoping workshop on innovative biological solutions in the area of industrial waste from 21-23 March 2017, at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Facilitated by RCUK India and the UK’s Science and Innovation Network (SIN), the workshop helped inform a joint call for proposals that will support research and technological solutions to reduce industrial waste in India.  

Innovate UK, BBSRC and EPSRC are investing up to £8 million in this programme, with matched resources from DBT.

The key sectors for this call:

  • leather/tanning/textiles
  • municipal solid waste
  • paper and pulp
  • sewage
  • sugar cane

Closing date to submit proposals is 11th October 2017. 

Further information on the call

Global Challenges Research Fund

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries through: 

  • challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research
  • strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries
  • providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

GCRF is administered through delivery partners including the Research Councils and national academies. It forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment and will be awarded in a manner that fits with Official ODA guidelines.

The GCRF Delivery Partners recently launched the UK Strategy for the Global Challenges Research Fund. The Strategy outlines the Delivery Partners’ vision for GCRF over the lifetime of the fund.

During 2016 RCUK developed a list of challenge areas in consultation with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) with reference to:

Over the summer 2016, RCUK sought advice from the GCRF Strategic Advisory Group, and the stakeholder community through a number of town meetings and an online call for evidence to further develop the challenge areas.  The new research agenda for enabling change is outlined below.  The three areas are a vision for change and not intended to constrain innovative approaches in other areas that also address these aims.   

  • Equitable Access to Sustainable Development
  • Sustainable Economies and Societies
  • Human Rights, Good Governance and Social Justice

A second GCRF Collective Fund call will soon be launched in late summer 2017

Please direct all enquires about the GCRF fund to

Other UK Research Council International Funding Opportunities

The UK Research Councils run a number of schemes to support activities that foster international collaboration through initiating or further developing long term relationships between researchers in the UK and another country. These include establishing partnership links between research institutions, building on existing links between research groups and extending networks, and encouraging researchers from overseas to undertake research in the UK as well as UK researchers to spend time abroad.

Information on other international opportunities provided by the Research Councils can be found here.

Newton Fund

The Newton Fund is a new initiative intended to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging knowledge economies. Research Councils UK is one of several UK delivery partners for the Newton Fund and will be working strategically with partner countries to develop a series of research activities to address challenges defined by the overarching ambitions of the Fund.

The UK and India are collaborating on a number of research calls under the Newton Fund. Details of all Research Council opportunities under the Newton Fund can be found here.

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