FAQs on Team Science Grants (TSG) and Clinical Research Centres (CRC) Schemes:
Note: Details of the schemes are available on their respective pages.
Q. Can a non-clinical research institution become a lead institution on a CRC project?
A. The CRCs are envisioned as research-oriented virtual centres that aim to improve clinical and public health research ecosystems in India and develop physician scientists. It is expected to bring medical schools/hospitals/research institutions together with universities, basic science and engineering institutions etc. to bridge gaps in human resource, supervision, mentorship, equipment, and administration through these centres. Further, it is expected that the host institution would have clinical/public health research related infrastructure, provide protected time for trainees and mentors, and other direct research support in order to support the programme.
Q. How many PIs or co-PIs can a CRC grant have?
A. On a CRC project, the participating institutions can nominate one PI and up to 3 co-PIs. The PI will be based at the eligible Indian “lead” institution. The co-PIs can be based either at an Indian or overseas not-for-profit institution. In case of award, Lead institution should be in a position to issue sub-contracts to other participating institutions (even those which are overseas).
Q. How many PIs can a TSG grant have?
A. A minimum of three PIs should participate, including one as Lead PI who would manage and lead the team. No more than 2 PIs can be from one institution, and a minimum of 2 institutions should be included. There is no upper limit to the number of PIs in TSG grant.
Q. Can an overseas co-PI on CRC or overseas PI on TSG seek salary on the grant?
A. No, overseas investigators cannot seek salary support from the grant.
Q. What does a Clinical Study Design Unit (CSDU) refer to?
A. There is no prescribed format from India Alliance on CSDU. CSDU must address requirements of the proposed research. Typically, CSDUs are specialized biomedical research units that design, centrally coordinate and analyze clinical studies. Some specialize in different methodologies, others in disease type, whereas others are generic units. It may involve, but is not limited to, collaborations with biostatistics and epidemiology, implementation science, qualitative and health economics researchers, etc. Kindly note that this is a generic answer and does not cover all aspects of CSDU. It is expected that the participating institutions and PIs will come up with the mandate of such units.
Q. Can a CRC or TSG grants have collaborators?
A. Yes, you can add collaborators on the grant application. However, these collaborators would not receive funds from a sub-contract arrangement unlike co-PIs. They should be named and justified in the proposal and a list should be provided in additional information in tabular format. There is no limitation on number of collaborators that can be added on the application. Also, minimum eligibility for a collaborator is not being defined, it is up to the applicants to justify the role and contribution of this role in the proposal.
Q. The schemes mention that support for clinical trials cannot be requested. Are studies involving human participants not allowed?
A. India Alliance does not fund regulatory clinical trials conducted solely for that purpose. Clinical studies and public health studies must be a justifiable part of an overarching scientific question. Academic trails would continue to be fundable under the new schemes, i.e. Team Science Grants and Clinical/Public Health Research Centres. The India Alliance policy on Human Participants in Research can be seen at https://www.indiaalliance.org/award- policies.
Q. What is expected under the research management plan?
A. The plan should capture how you will manage your grant. Since these projects are envisioned to be multi-institutional in nature involving many PIs, researchers require professional research management support at their institutions to fully leverage these collaborations. However, there are currently significant gaps in the research management support available to the Indian researchers and this has direct implications on research in India. Hence, India Alliance is providing an opportunity through these new schemes to set up a dedicated structure at their institutions that would help them manage the grant activities, the spending, monitoring goals and milestones, tracking regulations, reporting and so on. An appropriate research management plan should be in place at the coordinating institution, and preferably at all participating institutions.
If you are interested to know more about India Alliance’s vision on research management administration, you may read a recent article in Wellcome Open on our India Research Management Initiative (IRMI) pilot, written by our CEO, Dr. Shahid Jameel with Dr. Savita Ayyar, consultant on the IRMI pilot (https://wellcomeopenresearch.org/articles/4-18).
Q. Are there any focus areas for thematic areas that India Alliance is particularly keen on?
A. India Alliance has not defined any specific thrust or thematic areas for these schemes. The proposal are expected to be biomedical research area that aim to address the health challenges for India.
Q. Is this scheme meant only for Indo-UK collaborations?
A. No, the overseas PIs can be based anywhere in the world. India Alliance has no country
Q. I have been a PI in industry for 2 years. Will that experience count?
A. If you have evidence to show that you have the relevant experience of running your research group, for example, by way of corresponding author publications, you would be eligible.
Q. Can India Alliance Fellows apply for these grant schemes?
A. Yes, existing India Alliance Fellows can apply for these grant schemes, provided their time commitment towards the India Alliance Fellowship is not compromised. Please be aware that the eligibility criteria for the specific grants scheme will also have to be met.
Q. Can a PI based in private sector be part of the team?
A. If the institution is not-for-profit and meets India Alliance’s financial eligibility criteria, the PI can be part of the grant application. We will not fund you if you are working for a commercial organization or work for tobacco industry.
Q. What contribution is expected from the lead or participating institutions?
A. India Alliance encourages host institutions of participating PIs to show their support to their applications that is permissible within their organizational set-up. Since every institution has different structure, it is up to the researchers and them to come up with a plan.
Q. Can multiple departments within an institution apply for a CRC project?
A. The CRCs are envisioned to include more than one institution. Strong justification would be required for a single-institution CRC, in which case multiple departments at that institution should come together.
Q. Can an institution put multiple applications in CRC scheme?
A. In a given round, an institution can submit only one application as Lead institution. However, it can be a co-institution on other applications (where another institution is the lead institution) provided the PIs/co-PIs are different.
Q. Can a Lead PI submit multiple applications for TSG scheme?
A. In a given round, no more than one application would be entertained from an individual as either Lead PI or PI.
Q. I am a tenured academic at the overseas institution with a guaranteed salary. In addition, I also hold an honorary position at a not-for-profit institution India. Would I be eligible as a Lead PI on TSG?
A. You can be the Lead PI on the TSG application provided you are primarily based at an Indian not-for-profit and financially eligible host institution and have a tenure at the Indian host institution for the entire duration of the grant. In addition, the specific criteria for the scheme should be met. Please visit https://www.indiaalliance.org/Team-Science-Grants.
Q. Will there be an extension on the deadline of submission of the application?
A. The duly filled and completed applications must be submitted to office electronically on the respective email addresses by 17 June 2019, 2:00 PM IST. The application should be a one single sequential PDF and should be converted from a word file for ease of review and evaluation.
Q. How the manpower costs of the foreign PIs budget would be determined?
A. Salary costs sought for support staff should commensurate with the level of skills, responsibilities, and expertise necessary to carry out the proposed research. In case manpower is to be hired at an overseas institution, you may consider following the local institutional guidelines. Appropriate justification for the level of salary should be provided in the budget section.
Q. Can CRTP be a standalone programme?
A. The CRTP is an option available within the CRC setup in the current round.
Q. In case of award, when can I start my grant?
A. The awarded team would have to negotiate their start date with the Office. Also, the agreements and sub-contracts with other participating institutions have to be completed before the commencement of the project.
Q. How many Fellowships can be given under CRTP?
A. India Alliance has committed funds for 12 Fellowships in this financial year. If there more interesting plans and deserving cases then the Funding Committee would take a call on the number of the Fellowships that can be awarded in a given round.
Q. For TSG, if the Lead PI wishes to be interviewed alone (without the presence of PIs) will that be allowed?
A. The format allows Lead PI along with up to 2 PIs from the team to appear for the interview. It is for the team to decide who and if the other participating PIs would attend the interviews. The physical presence of the Lead PI at the interviews is mandatory.
Q. If I get declined by the Screening Committee, will I get detailed feedback?
A. The Screening Committee is not expected to provide elaborate feedback on research merit of the project and would evaluate it based on the eligibility criteria defined for respective schemes and competition in the cohort of applications received. India Alliance would not be able to provide review feedback to applicants at this stage.
Q. When is the next call being launched?
A. The call for the next round will be launched tentatively in 2020. Please follow our website www.indiaalliance.org frequently for further details.
Q. Can we have got a project funded for less than 5 years period?
A. Projects of less than 5 years would be deemed ineligible and will not be processed further in the competition.
Q. If we plan a cohort study we might not be able to get specific outcomes in five years period. Will an extension be possible?
A. The applicants are expected to plan their projects in such a way that they are completed within the 5 years of funding. There will be no provision for a no-cost extension of the programme if funds are remaining at the end of its term.