The policies and position statements of The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance (‘India Alliance’ or IA) are available on this page. These should be read in conjunction with the Award conditions.
Award policies - These policies were produced in August 2019
The mission of the India Alliance is to establish and nurture talent of the highest international standards, in cutting-edge biomedical research in India, resulting in important scientific breakthroughs and applications to society. In view of the overwhelming evidence that use of tobacco is injurious to health, the India Alliance will not fund applications from individuals applying for, holding, or employed under a research grant from the tobacco industry.
The use of independent peer reviewers (to obtain advice from experts knowledgeable in a research area) is an intrinsic part of the India Alliance decision-making process when deciding the activities, it chooses to fund.
Maintaining confidentiality in the peer review process is central to the India Alliance’s approach because it considers, in line with a majority of scientific research funding organisations worldwide, that the best quality peer review is obtained when the referees can comment candidly, with the knowledge that their comments will be disclosed only to those directly involved in the decision-making process. In addition, the India Alliance maintains the confidentiality of the comments because, in most cases, they relate directly to the work of identifiable individual scientists. However, with the permission of the referees, the India Alliance usually feeds back non-attributed comments to applicants who have submitted full applications. This is particularly useful to those applicants who have not been successful, as the comments can assist them in understanding why their application was not supported and how improvements might be made to future applications.
Researchers funded by the India Alliance who conduct stem cell research, are expected to do so according to high ethical standards and to comply with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
Research should be carried out in accordance to the Department of Biotechnology and Indian Council of Medical Research’s Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Therapy.
India Alliance funded researchers should deposit viable samples of human stem cell lines derived using India Alliance funding in an internationally recognised stem cell bank.
Stem cell research is funded on merit and scientific excellence after rigorous peer review.
The mission of the India Alliance is to establish and nurture talent of the highest international standards, in cutting-edge biomedical research in India, resulting in important scientific breakthroughs and applications to society. This is the driving force behind all of India Alliance’s charitable funding activities, and the basis for its policy on the protection and use of intellectual property rights. The aim of this policy is to provide a clear statement for India Alliance Grantholders of its position on the protection and use of intellectual property through patents.
In developing this policy, the India Alliance has considered a wide range of issues, in particular the role of intellectual property rights in creating the best conditions for research and in translating that research into tangible healthcare benefits. The India Alliance supports the appropriate protection and use of intellectual property where this will maximise healthcare benefits and enable biomedical research to flourish.
In order for research advances to qualify for intellectual property protection, the legal criteria for patent protection must be fulfilled. This means that, to be patentable, the results of research must describe an invention that is:
Patents, including those covering genes and their products, are no exception, and the India Alliance is supportive of these if there is sufficient information to indicate that the DNA sequences in question can be used to develop healthcare benefits. The India Alliance does not support the patenting of raw DNA sequences in the absence of such information.
The India Alliance is particularly concerned about patents and patent applications that are unreasonably broad and opportunistic, e.g. when there is limited functional data available to support those patent claims. The India Alliance may challenge such speculative patents if it believes that they are being applied for or used in ways that could be detrimental to research or limiting to the development of healthcare benefits.
India Alliance considers constant monitoring and evaluation of its funded research, individuals, institutions and activities very seriously and it has put in place defined processes for periodic evaluation. The mid-term review will evaluate the Grantholder’s progress during the tenure of their India Alliance Fellowship. The continuation of India Alliance funding after the third year of the Fellowship/Grant will be contingent upon a satisfactory review of the progress made during the first half. India Alliance will continue to review the progress in the subsequent years of the Fellowship/Grant. India Alliance reserves the right to review the status of funding at any stage of the award based on the progress made by the Grantholder.
A Committee designated by India Alliance would review the Grantholder’s progress based on the details presented in the annual progress report and during the Annual Fellows Meeting.
The following structure is used to decide attendance at the Annual Fellows Meeting.
First year: It is mandatory for Grantholders in the first year of their Fellowship/Grant to attend and present a plan of work and early data (if any).
Third year: It is required that Grantholders in the third year will attend the meeting and share their work with the Committee, which will carefully review their progress and provide an appropriate feedback. Whether an individual Grantholder will be invited to make an oral or poster presentation will be decided after a review of their progress reports in advance of the meeting.
Fifth year: It is mandatory for all Grantholders to make an oral or poster presentation at the Annual Fellows Meeting in the last year of their funding. This would describe all the work done under the award.
Others: Though it is not mandatory, Grantholders in the second and fourth years are encouraged to attend the meeting but will not present their work. However, if a Grantholder in these years wants to report some exciting findings, he/she may contact the office separately. Alternatively, India Alliance can use its discretion to invite a Grantholder in these years if there are concerns about his/her progress or if there are matters that require discussion.
India Alliance reserves the right to make amendments to this policy to accommodate the changing requirements of the review process.
Research Training Fellowship for Clinicians: The Fellows’ progress is reviewed after nine months of the start of the Fellowship. Consequently, the continuation of the India Alliance funding after the first year of the Fellowship will be contingent upon a satisfactory review of the progress at that stage. The Research Training Fellows will be required to attend all the Fellows’ Meetings during the tenure of their funding.
The India Alliance is a public charitable trust established under the laws of India that provides support for high quality biomedical research and seeks to promote both basic and applied research. The India Alliance wishes to ensure that useful results of this research are applied for public benefit (i.e. the research should give adequate public benefit, with only incidental private benefit). The India Alliance recognises the importance of protecting and exploiting intellectual property arising from research as a means of achieving this public benefit. Accordingly, the India Alliance views it as desirable to encourage, where appropriate, scientifically productive relationships between its Grantholders and commercial organisations. At the same time, it wishes to ensure that the intellectual integrity of Grantholders and their freedom to carry out curiosity- driven research are not compromised by such relationships.
Disclosure and management of conflicts of interest
6. Grantholders holding consultancies in, or directorships of, commercial organisations are required to make a declaration of interests to their Host Institution. Should no mechanism be in place to do so, the Grantholder should notify the India Alliance.
7. The compensation of Grantholders for the work they undertake for commercial organisations must be compatible with the rules and regulations of their Host Institution. Unless the rules and regulations of their Host Institution dictate otherwise, compensation may include fixed amounts of cash or equity (or both).
8. Grantholders must disclose to their Host Institution (a) benefits in cash and/or (b) any benefits in equity, received either as compensation for work undertaken for a commercial organisation, or in consideration of the transfer of intellectual property.
9. Grantholders holding equity in a commercial organisation must make a declaration of their interests to the Host Institution if they, together with members of their immediate family, hold, control or manage, directly or indirectly, (a) any level of equity in an unlisted company, or (b) equity in a listed company in excess of 1 per cent of that company's equity interest. ‘Immediate family’ includes spouse or partner; minor children; and adult children (but only in so far as the Grantholders have knowledge of the interests of the adult children).
10. Grantholders must notify their Host Institution in the event of any substantial upward or downward revision in the level of compensation received or the percentage or value of their equity interests, such as changes resulting from a professional financing round or the listing of the equity of the commercial organisation.
11. The Host Institution may require, at its discretion, that lower levels of cash or equity holdings (or both) should be disclosed.
12. Applicants for India Alliance funding will be required to indicate within the Grant application form whether they have any consultancies or equity holdings in, or directorships of, commercial organisations that might have an interest in the results of the proposed research. Should they be successful in their application, confirmation may be sought that they comply with the policies of their Host Institution or any India Alliance requirements (including this policy, the Award Conditions and the Award Letter).
Responsibility for managing conflicts of interest
13. The India Alliance does not directly employ researchers, but funds them through Host Institution. Therefore, the Host Institution is required to have a policy statement covering conflicts of interest and to manage any conflicts of interest arising from disclosures made to it by Grantholders because of their involvement with commercial organisations. The India Alliance may review such policy statements as part of its organisational eligibility checking procedures. It should be noted that if the policy statement of an applying organisation is not considered to be compatible with the India Alliance’s policy, or if the organisation lacks the means to monitor or manage the policy, the organisation will be deemed to be ineligible for funding by India Alliance.
14. In managing a perceived or actual conflict of interest, it is the responsibility of the Host Institution to ensure that the India Alliance will not be in breach of Indian charity law or regulation because of the relationship of a Grantholder with a commercial organisation. In the event of any doubt, the Grantholder should decline the Grant. In particular, the Host Institution should act to ensure that the useful results of the India Alliance-funded research are applied for the public benefit, with only incidental private benefit. This might involve requiring a Grantholder to relinquish direct control over some, or all, of the assets he or she holds in a commercial organisation or requiring the level of compensation offered to the Grantholder to be capped.
15. The India Alliance reserves the right to decide not to proceed with an application or to terminate an award where a Host Institution is unable to comply with any India Alliance requirements (including this policy, the Award Conditions and the Award Letter).
16. Where the Host Institution has a concern about the commercial relationships of a Grantholder, it should seek to rectify that concern. At its discretion, the Host Institution may approach the India Alliance for advice.
17. In cases where there has been a breach of the policies of either the Host Institution or India Alliance, India Alliance should be informed as soon as possible about the issues identified and the actions taken.
18. India Alliance reserves the right at any time to require Host Institution or Grantholder or any individuals who are seeking India Alliance funds to provide to India Alliance current information about consultancies, directorships and equity holdings covered by this policy, copies of all relevant documentation, copies of the Host Institution’s policies and details of the Host Institution’s monitoring procedures.
19. India Alliance reserves the right to review the decisions taken by a Host Institution in managing conflicts of interest of Grantholders in order to judge whether those decisions could have an adverse effect on India Alliance’s compliance with relevant law or regulation or India Alliance’s activities or interests.
20. To the extent permissible by law or regulation, all information provided to India Alliance in order to comply with this policy is treated as confidential.
For the purposes of this policy statement, the term & Bioinformatics Resource' is intended to mean a resource comprising databases of biological data and/or analytical tools for the interpretation of such data.
The terms of access to some bioinformatics resources can include restrictions on the use and publication of data and intellectual property that are incompatible with India Alliance Award Conditions.
Host Institutions and their India Alliance-funded Grantholders should therefore ensure that when assessing the scientific need to access a Bioinformatic Resource:
The main output of the research funded by the India Alliance is new ideas and knowledge, which the India Alliance expects its Grantholders to publish in high-quality, peer-reviewed journals.
The India Alliance believes that maximising the distribution of these papers - by providing free, online access - is the most effective way of ensuring that the research it funds can be accessed, read and built upon. In turn, this will foster a richer research culture.
The India Alliance therefore supports unrestricted access to the published output of research as a fundamental part of its charitable mission and a public benefit to be encouraged wherever possible.
With effect from 01 September 2019, India Alliance open access policy is changing.
Specifically, the India Alliance:
For further details please read our Award Conditions.
All research funded by the India Alliance must be fully compliant with the law and all researchers and facilities must have the appropriate regulatory approval. It is the responsibility of the Host Institution to ensure that India Alliance-funded research that involves the use of animals complies at all times with the relevant laws and regulation in the host country. The relevant Indian standards can be found on the Government of India Ministry of Environment and Forests website.
The India Alliance expects that, as well as being compliant with all local legislation and ethical review procedures, any research involving the use of animals is carried out in the spirit of UK legislation, which the India Alliance considers to provide an appropriate international standard for research involving the use of animals. Information about the code of practice for the housing and care of animals under UK legislation can be found on the Home Office websites.
In addition to compliance with the legislation, all India Alliance funded research involving animals is assessed by independent peer reviewers who are asked to ensure that the use of animals in the research is necessary and relevant. In all animal experiments supported by the India Alliance, the principals of the 3Rs (Replacement, Refinement and Reduction) apply.
The India Alliance endorses the position statement on bioterrorism and biomedical research published by the Wellcome Trust (https://wellcome.ac.uk/sites/default/files/wtp059491.pdf).
The India Alliance expects all work involving human participants to be undertaken in accordance with the highest ethical standards. All the research involving human participants should be conducted in accordance with the four basic ethical principles, namely autonomy (respect for person / participant), beneficence, non- maleficence (do no harm) and justice. India Alliance-funded Grantholders are responsible for ensuring they are aware of the issues surrounding the use of human subjects in research, comply with relevant legislation and have obtained all necessary approvals.
Institutional ethical committees and administrators should have mechanisms in place for protection of human participants, and assessment and analysis in case a serious adverse event is reported. Grantholders, in consultation with ethics committees, are responsible for determining the healthcare standards that would be provided to the participating human subjects.
The India Alliance will consider applications before the consent of the relevant ethics committee is obtained and before statutory procedures have been completed, but no research should begin until all relevant approvals have been granted. The India Alliance reserves the right to view relevant approval documents.
The India Alliance will not be liable in any manner for the Grantholder’s non-compliance with any relevant legislations or rules or for any direct or indirect injury caused to volunteer or any third person during the course of or in relation to a clinical trial.
All trials must be registered before the intervention is started, in line with the Declaration of Helsinki 2013. The ethical guidelines on use of human participants from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are available its website.