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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.

BBSRC India Partnering Awards with Agricultural Data Highlight

The UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have  announced partnering awards with India, which aims to set up partnership links between the UK and overseas laboratories, promote exchange of scientists, particularly early career scientists and promote access to facilities.

Up to £30,000 over a period of up to 4-years for partnerships with 1 or more Indian life science laboratories is available as part of this announcement 

Research groups should try and access other sources of funding in addition to the Partnering Award

Indian partners may wish to explore mutual funding from the following bodies which have signed formal agreements with BBSRC:

  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
  • Department for Biotechnology (DBT)

India Partnering Award – Agricultural Data Highlight

BBSRC welcomes applications from BBSRC grant holders, focussing on Agricultural data use and interpretation. Partnerships involving researchers and strategic programmes funded by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in India are particularly welcome.

Applicants should ensure that the title of their application begins with ‘Agricultural Data Highlight’.

Application deadline - 16 November 2017 1600

More details

BBSRC International Workshop

The UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have announced its scheme of awards for international workshop, with an aim to stimulate joint working in topics important to BBSRC’s strategy. The programme welcomes applications involving collaborations with any other country, although we are particularly interested in promoting further links with Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU Member States, India, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the USA

Scope of this programme:

  • Around 8 awards each year, of up to £10,000 each
  • The workshop can be held overseas or in the UK
  • Successful awards should aim to start from April 2018

Application deadline - 16 November 2017 1600

More details

EU-India call for collaborative research on sustainability, equity, wellbeing and cultural connections

The EU-India Platform for Social Sciences and Humanities (EqUIP) launched its first research funding call that aims to bring together a number of social science and humanities funders in India and Europe to support excellent and innovative research on sustainability, equity, well-being and cultural connections. The emphasis of the research will be on Indian and European dimensions, in both contemporary and historical contexts.

Research proposals should focus on societal challenges facing both India and the respective European countries, with suggested themes including, but not limited to, sustainability, equity, wellbeing and cultural connections

With a total funding of €5.5 million, it is expected that six projects will be funded. Researchers from India, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland and the UK are invited to apply. Potential applicants are invited to use the EqUIP partner search tool to network with researchers in other eligible countries and express interest either in joining a research proposal or to search for partner(s) for an existing proposal.

The aims of this call are to:

  • Support excellent SSH research that demonstrates the potential for academic, societal and economic impact.
  • Bring together the European and Indian SSH research communities around global challenges of mutual interest and importance for EqUIP partners that are of relevance to this call.
  • Enhance understanding of challenges facing economic development and social welfare work jointly towards identifying solutions to these challenges
  • Support inter-disciplinary approaches for addressing areas of sustainability, equity, wellbeing and cultural connections as well as intersections between these areas.
  • Build on the relationships developed over the last two years of EqUIP, and on existing experience, to enhance trust and develop processes amongst funding organisations for multi-lateral European-Indian collaboration in the social sciences and humanities that goes beyond this call and creates a platform for lasting research collaborations.

The closing date for submission - 30 November 2017

More details

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:

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 five year £1.5 billion fund 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.

The GCRF is an initiative led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which operates across a number of Delivery Partners, including the UK Research Councils, UK Higher Education Funding bodies, the Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and UK Space Agency.  The Delivery Partners recently launched the UK Strategy for the Global Challenges Research Fund

The GCRF aims to harness the strength of the UK research and innovation base as part of the global effort to address complex development challenges. As a global leader in science, research and technical expertise, the UK believes that international collaboration is the way to meet the great challenges the world faces, bringing benefits both to the UK and partner countries. As similar challenges can affect multiple countries, the GCRF does not have an explicit priority list of countries. Instead, GCRF funding supports universities, industry and research organisations to do disciplinary and interdisciplinary challenge-led research. It may support bilateral and multilateral programmes with partners in other countries, but these will complement rather than duplicate activities most appropriately supported under other partnerships with India such as the Newton-Bhabha Fund

An interactive visualisation which takes the projects funded by the seven Research Councils through the Global Challenges Research Fund (including investments through the Collective Fund), and provides an engaging way to explore the dataset is now available.

Please direct all enquires about the GCRF fund to

Open research call opportunities

  • Interdisciplinary Research Hubs to Address Intractable Challenges Faced by Developing Countries
    • 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 £8M - £20M (full economic cost) will be available for each Hub, provided over a 5 year period starting on 1st December 2018. Depending on the quality of the applications received we anticipate awarding 12-15 Hubs.
    • Mandatory Intention to Submit survey must be completed by 29 September 2017
  • Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grants
    • The Academy of Medical Sciences is delighted to be working with the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society with awards of up to £25,000 to support international networking events aimed at addressing global challenged and promoting interdisciplinary collaborations between researchers in developing countries and researchers in the UK.
    • Deadline for applications: 4pm (GMT) Wednesday 6 September 2017
  • Institutional "pump-priming" awards to develop new opportunities in Global Nutrition and Health Research
    • The purpose of this call is to provide institutional “pump-priming” funds to lay the grounds for future large scale, multidisciplinary, cross-country global nutrition and health research bids addressing issues of primary relevance to LMICs. It is expected that these funds administered by the Medical Research Council will help develop new strategies in global nutrition and health research, within and across institutions and in partnership with LMICs. Institutions may apply for an award of up to £200,000 for the duration of up to 12 months. 
    • The call for full proposals closes Thursday 14 September 2017
  • Institutional "pump-priming" awards to develop new opportunities in Global Mental Health Research
    • The purpose of this call is to provide institutional “pump-priming” funds that will lay the grounds for future large scale, multi-disciplinary, cross-country global mental health research bids to address issues of primary relevance to LMICs. It is expected that these funds administered by the Medical Research Council will help develop new strategies in global mental health research, with a particular focus on the aetiology and epidemiology of mental illness and healthy mental development, and understanding how challenges to early brain development affect mental illness and cognition. Institutions may apply for an award of up to £200,000 for the duration of up to 12 months. 
    • The call for full proposals closes Thursday 14 September 2017
  • Resilient and sustainable energy networks for developing countries
    • The aim of this activity is to support an internationally leading programme of research to tackle the energy distribution challenges faced by developing countries. The proposed research must be predominantly in Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council remit, although interdisciplinary and/or multidisciplinary proposals are welcomed. Up to £7.5 million is available from EPSRC for this call.
    • Expression of Interest must be submitted by 16:00 (BST) on Thursday 17 August 2017
    • The call for full proposals closes at 16:00 (BST) on Thursday 21 September 2017
  • Bioinformatics and Biological Resources Fund
    • The BBR Fund was established by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to tackle a strategic need to provide 'proper support for resources such as databases, genetic resources and culture collections which require long term maintenance and curation'. The 2017 BBR call includes a highlight for proposals relevant to the Global Challenges Research Fund.
    • Mandatory Expression of Interest for GCRF highlight closed 1600 (BST) 13 July 2017
    • Full stage deadline closes 1600 (BST) 28 September 2017

GCRF Pre-call announcements

GCRF Awarded projects

Given India’s research expertise in many global challenges and strong links with the UK research base, it is perhaps not surprising that a number of successful projects feature UK and Indian researchers and organisations choosing to work together on topics such as agriculture, energy and health.

Recently Jo Johnson, Minister for Universities and Science announced the results of the first call from the GCRF Research Councils UK Collective Fund, investing £225 Million across 37 interdisciplinary projects to address challenges in fields such as health, humanitarian crises, conflict, the environment, the economy, domestic violence, society, and technology.

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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