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Global research funders address interdisciplinarity and issues concerning women in research at international conference


Research funders from around the world gathered in New Delhi this week (25-27 May) to debate global approaches to interdisciplinarity and the equality and status of women in research at the Global Research Council (GRC) 2016 Annual Meeting.

More than 100 delegates attended the event at the Taj Palace Hotel, with Heads of Research Councils from 44 countries participating, to share best practice and discuss research funding policy issues. This year, the meeting was jointly hosted by Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Indian Science and Engineering Board (SERB).

The GRC promotes international research collaboration and impact by providing a unique global forum for research funding agencies around the world. A Statement of Principles on Interdisciplinarity and a Statement of Principles and Actions Promoting Equality and Status of Women in Research were discussed and endorsed by participants representing the global research community. The aim is to provide funding agencies worldwide with a set of principles and suite of potential actions to implement to create the enabling environment necessary for investing in and supporting interdisciplinary research, and to promote improved equality and diversity practices within their own countries.

Dr Harsh Vardhan Hon’ble Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences of India, said: “I am happy to learn that the Science and Engineering Research Board is hosting the Annual Meeting of Global Research Council in New Delhi along with Research Councils UK. India recognises the need to forge collaborations with other countries to address global challenges facing the mankind. The forum consisting of over 60 Heads of Councils is an appropriate body to discuss various issues facing the global funding agencies. I congratulate GRC in identifying ‘Interdisciplinarity’ and ‘Equality and Status of Women in Research’ as apt themes for deliberations in the meeting. I am sure the meeting has come up with important recommendations for implementation by all funding agencies, including India.”

Dr Brakaspathy, Secretary of SERB, said: “SERB is delighted to host the 2016 GRC Annual Meeting in New Delhi along with co-host, Research Councils UK. I have been associated with GRC activities since its inception in 2011, and it has made rapid strides during the last five years. The two topics identified for this meeting namely, “Interdisciplinarity” and “Equality and Status of Women in Research” are of utmost relevance to all funding agencies across the world. SERB and other funding agencies in India are vigorously promoting interdisciplinarity research and addressing ‘gender parity’ issues. I am sure the deliberations at the Delhi meeting will give fillip to further enhance these activities, and enhance international collaborations.”

Professor Philip Nelson, Chair of RCUK, said: “The worldwide growth of public support for research has presented an opportunity for countries large and small to work together across national borders. Co-operation and collaboration can enhance the quality of research, avoid unnecessary duplication, provide economies of scale, and address issues that can only be solved by working together. Adopting these Statements as a global community is the foundation of greater alignment and capacity building across research funding agencies worldwide and demonstrates the value of the GRC in providing a forum for sharing best practice.”

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Further information


  • Dr. Rajeev Kumar Mehajan, SERB Spokesperson and Scientific G – Head: EAS Division |+91 11 40000341|
  • Geeny George Shaju, RCUK India Communications & Programme Manager (India):
    + 91 11 24192637|
  • Katie Clark, RCUK Communications Manager (UK): 01793 444387 |

Notes to editors

  1. This year, SERB and RCUK commissioned an independent report on each topic from external consultants. These included: an overview of current literature on each topic; information on GRC participants’ policies and practice; analysis of relevant data; and recommendations for GRC participants based on the evidence presented in the reports. The reports acted as a catalyst for discussion at the Annual Meeting, to complement the Statements which have been developed from GRC Regional Meetings, a mechanism to share best practice, and as a source for key stakeholders outside the GRC to gain insight into GRC participants’ policies and practices. The external consultant reports are available at:

  2. The Global Research Council (GRC) is a virtual organisation comprised of the Heads of Research Councils from around the world, dedicated to promoting the sharing of data and best practice for high-quality collaboration among research funding agencies globally. 2016 is the fifth year that the GRC has held an Annual Meeting to bring together the Heads of the Research Councils, and each year, two GRC participants bid to co-host the Annual Meeting. Research Councils UK is co-hosting the GRC 2016 Annual Meeting with the national agency Science and Engineering Research Board in New Delhi.

  3. The Indian Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) was established as a Statutory Body through an Act of Parliament in 2008. The SERB has its origins from the erstwhile Science & Engineering Research Council (SERC) of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India which promoted the extramural funding for more than four decades. It serves as the national premier funding agency for planning, promoting and steering the internationally competitive research in S&T in all disciplines – Chemical Sciences, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Physical & Mathematical sciences and Life Sciences. Our mission is to promote basic research in frontier areas of Science and Engineering and to provide financial assistance to persons engaged in such research, academic institutions, research and development laboratories, and other agencies. This is achieved through multiple funding mechanisms like extramural research funds, fellowships, grants, awards, scholarships and joint industrial relevant collaborations. You may find out more about us at

  4. Research Councils UK (RCUK) is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils. Our collective ambition is to ensure the UK remains the best place in the world to do research, innovate and grow business. The Research Councils are central to delivering research and innovation for economic growth and societal impact. Together, we invest £3 billion in research each year, covering all disciplines and sectors, to meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Our investments create new knowledge through: funding research excellence; responding to society’s challenges; developing skills, leadership and infrastructure; and leading the UK’s research direction. We drive innovation through: creating environments and brokering partnerships; co-delivering research and innovation with over 2,500 businesses, 1,000 of which are SMEs; and providing intelligence for policy making. Find out more about our work at

    The seven UK Research Councils are:

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