Team Science Grants

Team Science Grants will fund team of researchers who bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources to address an important health challenge for India. These grants will also fund high-risk, high-reward research work.

Applicants must demonstrate their complementarity, the added value that this collaboration would bring and lead to advances that would otherwise not be possible with individual Principal Investigators (PIs) working alone. The project should be multi-institutional and inter-disciplinary in its approach, with a suitable research management plan and structure.

Though not mandatory, the scheme encourages international collaboration. The projects would require external evaluation at regular intervals, and therefore the proposal should have in-built milestones for evaluation and reporting. India Alliance would also reserve the right to periodically review the funded program, which may include site visits.  

Composition of the team

A minimum of three PIs should participate, including one as Lead PI who would manage and lead the team. The applying team should bring different expertise or disciplines to address the research problem within the remit of India Alliance. No more than 2 PIs can be from one institution, and a minimum of 2 institutions should be included. In a given round, no more than one application would be entertained from an individual as either Lead PI or PI (see roles below).

The Lead PI and all PIs should

  • Have PhD/MD/MBBS-MS/MPH or equivalent, with at least 5 years of experience in running an independent research group or lab.
  • Demonstrate a record of achievements appropriate for their career stage.
  • Have obtained competitive grant/fellowship(s).
  • Have tenure at their respective host institutions for the entire duration of the grant.

There would be no age or nationality bar.

Lead Principal Investigator (LPI)

  • Would lead and manage the team of PIs.
  • Should be working at / willing to re-locate to an Indian not-for-profit and financially eligible host institution for the entire duration of the grant. India Alliance would not negotiate a contract on behalf of the applicant. Note: no relocation charges can be requested on the grant.
  • Should hold an academic or research post and have a salary, or the guarantee of a salary, for the duration of the award period. If he/she holds an academic or research position at an eligible Indian host institution but has to generate part of the salary from extramural funds, the host institution must formally confirm this. In addition, the host institution must state that it would not guarantee the LPI’s salary/part of salary if the researcher is unsuccessful in generating it from extramural sources. 

Principal investigator (PI)

The eligibility criteria are same as that for Lead PI. A PI may be located at an overseas not-for-profit institution. However, contributions towards the salary of an overseas PI cannot be requested.

All investigators should carefully consider the percent of time they would give to these grants and must state their time commitments towards other research and non-research responsibilities. This would be particularly required of researchers currently holding India Alliance fellowships, which have defined percent time commitments.

An appropriate research management plan should be in place at the coordinating institution, and preferably at all participating institutions.

The proposal can seek support for hiring research staff/researchers, purchasing equipment and research supplies, etc. Funds can also be requested for strengthening the research management structure at the institution(s). All budgetary requests (including manpower) should be commensurate with the proposed project and must be supported with strong scientific justifications. The application should outline a resource-sharing plan and demonstrate sustainability once the funding is over. Commitment from the hosting institutions to co-support would be highly desirable.

Sponsor is normally the head of the sponsoring host institution. As a sponsor, you must guarantee that the host institution would provide the PIs with:

  • All support required to carry out the funded research
  • Status and benefits available to PI as to other academic staff of similar seniority at that institution

Further,

  • All participating institutions (and sponsors) should be able to sign up to India Alliance’s Award conditions and Award policies.
  • India Alliance would send funds to only the institution hosting the LPI. This Lead Institution should have the ability to set up sub-contracts, transfer funds, maintain accounts and report these on behalf of all participating institutions. If the project includes an overseas collaborator, the Lead Institution should be capable of carrying out the same processes/requirements with the foreign counterparts.
  • The host institution(s) should demonstrate commitment by supporting the project with cash (e.g. a matching grant) or kind beyond the usual support for space and utilities.

Up to INR 10 crores (including 10% overheads) can be requested for a 5-year project. Projects of less than 5 years or over INR 10 crores would be deemed ineligible. No funds would be provided to create physical spaces (examples: labs or buildings). Research management costs, if needed, should be built into the proposal. Each line item in the budget should be justified.

In case of award, two sets of evaluation models are envisioned.

(1) A 1+2+2 model for new teams: Teams that cannot show evidence of having worked together earlier should build milestones in their proposal such that at the end of Year 1, they could show evidence of coming together and moving forward on the research programme. If successful, such programme would be approved for the remaining 4 years subject to a mid-term review in Year 3. For such teams, no major equipment would be allowed in Year 1.

(2) A 3+2 model for established teams: For teams that can show evidence of having worked together earlier, a 3+2 model would be followed. For such programmes, a mid-term review would be done in Year 3. 

Annual reports on scientific progress and funds utilization would be required for all programmes.

Renewal of the grant may not be possible. Therefore, a comprehensive 5-year plan would be required.

There will be no provision for a no-cost extension of the programme if funds are remaining at the end of its term.

India Alliance would invite applications for the said scheme in the prescribed format which would be made available on its site from 16 May to 17 June 2019, 2:00 PM IST.

Screening: The India Alliance Office would screen the received applications against the eligibility criteria (as mentioned in the scheme). A Screening Committee (SC) would carry out a hard triage of eligible applications so that only selected applications go for a peer review and interview. This Committee would be external to, but facilitated by India Alliance and would have basic, clinical, public health and interdisciplinary researchers. The SC is not expected to provide elaborate feedback on research merit of the project and would evaluate it based on aforementioned eligibility and competition in the cohort of applications received. India Alliance would not be able to provide reviews to applicants at this stage.

Peer Review: Selected applications will be reviewed by external and international experts.

Funding: The peer-reviewed applications would be evaluated by a Funding Committee (FC), which would be external to, but facilitated by India Alliance. The FC would have members from the existing SIF and CPH committees of India Alliance. Based on need in a specific round, it may also co-opt other experts. All peer-reviewed applications would normally be brought to an interview, unless recommended otherwise by the FC, for example, based on an unsatisfactory external review. The FC would interview the LPI and, if desired, up to 2 more PIs on each application. The recommendations made by the FC and the decision of India Alliance would be based on performance at the interview with the Committee and competition within the cohort. These decisions would be final.

The scheme is expected to be very competitive at each step. All applications would be assessed in competition with others in that cohort.

Important Note:

The India Alliance's Committees comprise of independent scientists from the international research community with appropriate expertise and research experience. They are asked to express their own views on research proposals and to adjudicate on opinions received from external experts.

Members of the India Alliance's Committees are required to abide by a code of conduct, which is designed to protect and preserve the integrity of the India Alliance's advisers and processes. This code of conduct dictates that the Committee Members may not discuss any aspect of the deliberations or recommendations of the Committee with applicants, and that they must refuse any requests for information as to how a particular decision was reached.

Applicants or their colleagues must never attempt to contact a Committee Member to discuss any aspect of an application or the decision reached on it. All such requests must be referred to the Office.

If the application is selected for peer review, the interviews would be held in the month of November 2019.

Applications open:          16 May 2019 (Forms would be made available on India Alliance site)

Applications close:           17 June 2019 (2:00 PM, IST)

If an application is unsuccessful after the Funding Committee review, the Lead PI cannot re-apply to the scheme as the Lead PI, unless this is recommended by the FC. He/She can still apply as a PI in any future round. However, if an application has been declined at the screening stage, this condition would not be applicable.

Similarly, if a project is unsuccessful after the Funding Committee review, it cannot be re-submitted to the scheme, unless this is recommended by the FC, in which case the specified conditions would have to be fulfilled.

You would not be funded if you are:

  • Employed by a commercial organization.
  • Applying for, holding, or employed on a research grant from the tobacco industry. Please see our statement on researchers funded by tobacco industry.

All queries may be directed to info@indiaalliance.org. Queries will NOT be entertained on phone calls to the India Alliance office.