India Research Management Initiative (IRMI)

02 Feb 2018

India Research Management Initiative (IRMI)


The Wellcome Trust/ DBT India Alliance announces the launch of IRMI, a new Research Management programme for India, which aims to strengthen institutional ecosystems.

IRMI, or India Research Management Initiative, will provide a mechanism for enabling research management at institutions in India. Effective research management helps institutions navigate the high demands for funding, outreach and governance of research. It spans activities that support research, such as national and international funding opportunities, science communication, policy and regulatory matters and intellectual property.

India currently lacks a well-developed research management base, which IRMI hopes to address. Good Research Management requires a diverse set of skills and capabilities at the boundaries of research and other disciplines, including business and communications. Individual research managers need training and career progression opportunities to develop the varied attributes of successful research management. IRMI will provide opportunities for research managers in India to receive training and also create a network of practitioners for serving broader career development needs.

A Research Management Consultant working with India Alliance would lead the IRMI effort.

We believe that efficient research management structures are needed for Indian institutions to become globally competitive. This initiative aims to catalyze that. It also supports our mission of building excellence in Indian science.” Dr. Shahid Jameel, CEO, Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance.

We are delighted to support the India Alliance in developing this pro-active and much needed initiative. It reflects very well that Indian science has grown in volume and quality to such an extent that greater professionalization of research management is now needed to support it. We are pleased that the India Alliance is taking a lead on helping with this development.” Professor Mike Turner, Head of Infection and Immunobiology at the Wellcome Trust and Trustee at India Alliance

About the IRMI Pilot phase

IRMI would initially be implemented as a pilot, with building capacity in grants administration at a few institutions. This would include mentorship, training, career development and networking opportunities for research managers and advice for the participating institution on its research management infrastructure. IRMI is expected to allow researchers more time to focus on their research instead of grants administration. The outcomes and feedback from the pilot phase would guide the future directions for IRMI.

How to apply

•      Institutions wishing to be considered for participation in the IRMI pilot program should contact the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance by filling out this form (downloadable form).

•      An authorized official (e.g. Director, Dean, Registrar, etc.) should apply on behalf of the Institution.

•      The decision of the India Alliance will be final.

Role of host institution

Host institutions would be expected, in future, to recruit research managers and develop their careers. An institutional contact should work with the IRMI team over the course of the pilot phase.

What is included in the pilot phase

The IRMI pilot phase would provide support with recruitment (if needed), mentoring and training of research managers in alignment with institutional aspirations and international best practice.


For further information, please contact [email protected]


About the Research Management Consultant:

Dr. Savita Ayyar is a Research Management professional and Consultant with over ten years of experience in diverse areas of the field.  She is the Founder of Jaquaranda Tree, a private consultancy service supporting organizations in India with capacity building for optimising research funding from diverse sources.

Dr. Ayyar initiated her career in Research Management at the Wellcome Trust in London, UK (2007-2010). She was formerly the Head of Research Development (2010-2017) at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, where she worked to initiate, implement and nurture the activities of the Research Development Office (RDO), a pioneer of its kind in India. Under her stewardship, operations at the NCBS RDO spanned grant management, philanthropic fundraising and endowments, intramural funding and News and Communications. She has significant experience as a mentor for science administrators, science communicators and other staff in research management roles.

Dr Ayyar received her initial training in Biochemistry at the University of Delhi and Biotechnology at AIIMS, New Delhi. She completed her doctoral and post-doctoral work in Developmental Biology and Neurobiology, respectively at the University of Cambridge, UK.