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For Basic Researchers




   

Purpose

This scheme provides a unique opportunity for the most promising postdoctoral researchers to carry out research in India. Applicants are expected to identify an important biomedical research question and design a project that would help answer this question. The proposal would also suggest how the proposed work would help develop the applicant's future independent research program. Submitted proposals are expected to be globally competitive. Applicants may wish to set up long term training or collaborative visits (work outside Host Institution) for up to 24 months. These visits may be to other leading laboratories, anywhere in the world.
What's included

The fellowship is for five years, full time and provides: 

Personal Support for the fellow.
Research expenses (materials and consumables; animals; support to attend scientific meetings; and small items of equipment, e.g. laptop)
Additional allowances (
travel and overseas subsistence) for work outside the Host Institution; these are scientifically justified visits of up to 24 months to an external laboratory either in India or abroad.

Support funds for research staff or large equipments are not typically provided. It is expected that applicants will choose appropriate laboratories/ environments where majority of the necessary equipment and facilities are already available.

The total award for an Early Career Fellowship typically amounts to INR 1.5 Crores. This includes the costs requested by the applicant as well as the set contributions by the India Alliance. For further details, see costing policies. Costs requested by the applicant must commensurate with their research proposal and should be fully justified in the full application. Inadequate justifications may result in costs being revised.
Eligibility

You must be in the final year of your PhD studies or have no more than four years of postdoctoral research experience from the date of your PhD viva to the full application submission deadline. Time spent outside the research environment (i.e., career breaks) will be considered but has to be clearly mentioned in the application.

Please note that if the candidates eligible to apply to the Early Career Fellowship scheme hold/are being considered/have a commitment for a faculty position, they are advised to write to the Office with their CV before applying.

You do not have to be an Indian national or of Indian origin. You need not have undertaken your PhD in India.

You must have shown significant promise in your scientific career to date, which includes, but is not limited to; strong academic record, visits to conferences and workshops, and importantly, the vision to develop as an independent researcher.

It is mandatory that applicants carry out their Fellowship project in a laboratory that is not their Thesis laboratory or Thesis environment. If you have compelling reasons to continue in or return to your thesis laboratory, please contact the Office.

Fellowships may not be taken up prior to the completion of a successful PhD viva. The Fellowship must be started within one year of being awarded.

The final year or a majority of the final year of the Fellowship must be spent in host institution in India.

The host Institute in India is responsible for administering the Fellowship. Hence the award has to start in India before the 'Work outside host Institution' option can be availed. However, length of the start period may be negotiated between the Fellow and the host Institution.

It is mandatory for the awarded Fellows to be hosted in the Host Institution for the entire duration of the Fellowship (5 years for Early Career Fellowship). Exceptions will not be considered and the applications in which the applicant's contract with the Host Institution ends before the Fellowship end date will not be processed.

Dual Fellowship Policy

You may apply even if you already hold another Fellowship. However, please note that if awarded, you will be required to make a choice between your current Fellowship and the India Alliance Fellowship. The India Alliance does not permit Fellows to overlap their India Alliance Fellowship with any other national or international Fellowship.

Sponsorship and supervision

You must have an eligible sponsoring institution (Host Institution) in India that will administer the Fellowship for the full duration of the award. The following roles are identified on the application:

Fellowship supervisor: in whose laboratory you intend to carry out the Fellowship project. This individual must have a contract of employment at the sponsoring host institution in India and have tenure beyond the duration of the proposed Fellowship. They should guarantee you access to laboratory space and resources required for the project; as well as provide relevant scientific guidance for the tenure of the Fellowship. This role is mandatory for both preliminary and full application stage. A signed letter of support from the Fellowship Supervisor must be provided at the preliminary stage

Sponsor: Established senior researcher at the host institution; normally the head of department or director of the sponsoring host institution. They should:

  •  Support the application by agreeing that
  • if an award is made, you will be granted the status and prerogatives of other academic staff of similar      stature
  • You will not have to spend more than two hours per week on activities unrelated to the fellowship (e.g.      teaching duties);
  •  hold a contract of employment that extends beyond the grant;
  •  Sign up to the Award Conditions & Policies.

Please note that the Sponsor is required only for the Full application. In some cases, the Sponsor and Fellowship supervisor may be the same individual.

External Sponsor(s): The individual in whose laboratory you wish to utilize your “Work outside the host institution” provision. They should be able to guarantee that the applicant will have access to the facilities required and provide the required scientific support. A letter of support from this role is mandatory at the full application stage.

Additional Recommendation: This role has been specifically created for the applicant to provide a letter of recommendation in addition to the letter provided by the Fellowship Supervisor; therefore, this individual cannot be your Fellowship supervisor. They would typically be an established researcher who has known you for a significant period of time and can provide a detailed letter of recommendation on your abilities. They may be your thesis guide or current supervisor. In some cases, the External Sponsor and the person providing additional recommendation may be the same individual. A letter of recommendation from this role is mandatory for the preliminary and the full application.

Collaborator(s): Scientific/medical/academic colleagues associated with a research proposal and named in the body of the application. Typically these are individuals who will supply reagents, assist in specific protocols, provide resource services etc. They should be able to provide signed consent letters detailing the extent of their participation towards your research program, at the full application stage.

Mentor: In many instances, an applicant will improve the quality of their application and subsequent work by identifying a mentor. This may be a senior academic/clinician scientist/public health researcher in their host institution or another institution in India or abroad.

A good mentor should be an established researcher who is in a position to provide intellectual inputs to facilitate various aspects of the application process like reviewing draft applications, suggesting experimental approaches and helping candidates to prepare for interview. He/she should also be willing to extend their support, knowledge, and guidance during the tenure of the Fellowship.

A mentor should be able to facilitate transition from a state of dependence, to a state of independence through thoughtful exchange of ideas and discussions.
   
A mentor must be in a position to stimulate professional growth by ensuring that the skill sets essential for advancing the performance are acquired in time.

A mentor should be willing to contribute towards broadening the scientific vision of the Fellow beyond the scope of the Fellowship. He/she should be willing to support the fellow in writing subsequent grant applications for example and in identifying best publication strategies for the work.
   
Note: We would emphasise that a mentor can be selected from any part of the world. This is not a mandatory requirement for the application and the candidates are advised to give a careful consideration to the role of a mentor at the time of making an application. A signed letter of support is not mandatory at the preliminary application stage. However, if invited to make a full application, a letter indicating their mentorship plan would be required.

Resubmission Policy

Regardless of your previous applications to the India Alliance, all applicants have to make a preliminary application to every competition.

If you are not short-listed at the preliminary application stage, you may apply to the same scheme, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria for the scheme.

Resubmission after consideration of a Full application is not permitted in any scheme. If the Full application has been reviewed by the India Alliance’s Selection Committee, and it was unsuccessful at eitherthe short-listing or interview stage, the applicant may not re-apply to the same scheme. This implies that applicants would have only one opportunity to compete per scheme, once they are into the full application stage. Therefore, it is very important for applicants to carefully consider the timing of their application.

Application process

To complete a preliminary application use our online system,
IASys. Please ensure that the form is submitted by the published deadline.

Your preliminary application will normally be assessed within one month of the submission deadline. If successful, you will be invited to submit a full application.

Your full application will be peer reviewed and considered by the appropriate Selection Committee and, if successful, you will be short-listed for interview.

Short-listed candidates will be notified two weeks before the interview date.

Applicants are not permitted to apply to multiple Fellowship schemes within the India Alliance in parallel. Only one application to one scheme will be entertained, at a time.

Application advice

You should give careful thought to your choice of Fellowship Supervisor and External Sponsor.These individuals will typically possess strong track records in research and mentorship.

The proposed research should fall within the India Alliance’s remit which is “to support biomedical research that is relevant to human and animal welfare”.

The Fellowship project would typically be a confluence of number of considerations: the main research question you wish to answer; your current skill set and what you may need to successfully answer the proposed question; and, the intellectual and resource contributions that your supervisors and Host Institution environment can make. With the assistance of your Supervisors, you should drive the identification of a research question and the development of the proposal.

Reviewers typically assess:
  •  your track record
  •  the importance of the research question
  •  your choice of appropriate supervisors
  •  the feasibility of the approach
  •  your vision of how the fellowship will contribute to your career development
  •  your long term aspirations
The Fellowship encourages mobility; applicants are advised to give serious thought to enlisting an External Sponsor.

Deadlines

This is an annual competition

Current Competition
  Preliminary Application Launch: 1 May 2014
  Preliminary application deadline: 12 June 2014
  Invited full application deadline: September 2014
  Selection Committee short-listing: January 2015
  Interviews for short-listed candidates: February 2015

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