India Alliance at a Glance

Transforming biomedical research
ecosystem in India

Established in 2008 and registered as a charitable trust in India, India Alliance is funded by the Department of Biotechnology (Government of India) and Wellcome Trust (UK). India Alliance supports discovery and innovation in the country by funding research in health and biomedical science.

India Alliance believes that inclusiveness can promote a diverse work culture. This faith in taking along as many talents with it in its journey can solve the never-ending riddles of science. For more than a decade, inclusiveness has worked to shape a dynamic research ecosystem that gives everyone the opportunity to contribute in this endeavour.

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Our Years
in Numbers

2008

Year of inception

INR 1,27,570 Lakhs

Funding support for
biomedical research

About 4,000

Research Fellowship applications
received so far

437

Research Fellowships
awarded till date

115

Institutions supported across
42 cities in India

5

Research Grants awarded
till date

6

Research Management Fellowships
awarded

4

Research Management
Grants awarded

India Alliance's Journey So Far

2008 to
2011
  • The India Alliance founded as a charitable trust in 2008
  • Introduced Fellowship programme to support biomedical research at different career stages (Early, Intermediate, and Senior)
  • Introduced Margdarshi Fellowship to explore opportunities to lead and nucleate cutting-edge research programmes in India
2012 to
2013
  • Conducted Public Engagement Initiatives & Science Communication Workshops to bridge the gap between science and society
  • Promoted Clinical and Public Health Research Fellowship for engagement of clinicians and public health workers in research
  • Introduced Public Lecture Series with the objective of sharing the power and wonder of science
2014 to
2015
  • Introduced Research Training Fellowship to train clinicians, physicians and allied healthcare professionals in research methodology
  • Handed out Public Engagement awards to encourage Fellows to share their science with society
  • Brought out News and Views - the newsletter of India Alliance
  • Implemented policy to encourage women in science – one year full-cost extension to Fellows on maternity leave
2016
  • Introduced Voices for Health to bring the experts and public together for discussing important health issues
  • Conducted ‘Art and Science’ - an artistscientist residency programme to explore the fields of arts, science, health, technology, and design collectively
2017
  • Developed Indian Physician Scientists (DIPS) workshops to train young clinicians to participate in research
  • Joined ‘Together Science Can’ – a global campaign to celebrate international collaborations in science
  • Collaborated with Europe PMC and Wellcome Open Research to ensure unbiased and unhindered flow of knowledge produced by researchers
2018
  • Piloted India Research Management Initiative (IRMI) to strengthen institutional ecosystem through research management programme
  • Introduced Africa India Mobility Fund to promote scientific collaboration between African and Indian biomedical researchers
  • Conducted ‘Women in Science - A Listening Session’ – formulation of a ‘policy recommendation’
  • Initiated EMBO Research Leadership Course – an opportunity for Indian researchers to hone their leadership and management skills
2019 to
2023
  • Our appellation changed from The Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance to DBT/Wellcome Trust India Alliance
  • Doubling of DBT's investment
  • Implementation partner DBT-CRUK – Affordable Approaches to Cancer Project
  • Planned Vision Ahead – the new face of India Alliance towards expanding the initiatives around Team Science Grants and Clinical Research Centres
  • Increased outreach and public engagement to underserved regions and other scientific disciplines

India Alliance
Fellowships At A Glance

To nurture a supportive and responsible research and innovation culture in the country, India Alliance offers an array of fellowship schemes to researchers seeking to develop their careers at an early or later stage.

156

Fellowships for early career
researchers

213

Fellowships for intermediate
career researchers

68

Fellowships for senior
researchers

 
437

Total Fellowship awards
recommended*

28%

Of the total Fellowships are for
clinicians/public health researchers

*Each fellowship scheme includes both basic research and clinical and public health research
awards, updated till December 2020.

Fellowship Story
in Numbers

Number of fellowship applications received

figure 1

Number of fellowships awarded

figure 2

Applications received and awards given in basic research compared to clinical and public health research competitions

figure 3

Number of Early Career Fellowship (ECF) applications and awards (basic research)

figure 4

Number of Intermediate Fellowship (IF) applications and awards (basic research)

figure 5

Number of Senior Fellowship (SF) applications and awards (basic research)

figure 6

Number of Clinical and Public Health (CPH) applications and awards (early career, intermediate and senior combined)

figure 7
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CEO’s Message

We aspire to expand our funding footprint across the country and continue nurturing the research ecosystem built around innovation, diversity, and collaboration.

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COO’s Message

The strategic investments made in people, processes and technology enabled us to achieve our goals whilst working from home for most part of the year.

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Message from the Wellcome Trust

Dr. Simon Kay

Head of International Operations and Partnerships, Wellcome Trust, UK
Trustee, India Alliance

Dr. Andrew Welchman

Head of Neuro-Sciences and Mental Health, Wellcome Trust, UK
Trustee, India Alliance

As India Alliance evolves, it will determine both what is important for India and how its funding can maximise India’s contribution to global health.

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Message from DBT

Dr. Renu Swarup

Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology,
Government of India

India Alliance continues to bring scientists closer to the society by adopting an integrated approach of funding, coupled with research management, effective science communication and public engagement initiatives. The Department of Biotechnology is immensely proud of what India Alliance has achieved.

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Perspectives on India Alliance

Professor Ajit Lalvani

Imperial College, London, UK

What makes India Alliance different is we don’t just stop at finding the gem. We go on to polish it and bring out the sparkle that can outshine others in leadership skills too.

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Perspectives on India Alliance

Dr. Sandhya Visweswariah

Indian Institute of Science

India Alliance has taken a step forward in providing opportunities for scientists to work together, ensuring significant impact in improving human health and the society.

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Dr. Anura Kurpad

St. John’s Research Institute

The process of selection, which is rigorous and fair, and the different career stages of the selected clinical and basic scientists in different bands of Fellowships, gives India Alliance the edge.

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Dr. Suneeta Krishnan

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Among the unique contributions of India Alliance to India’s scientific ecosystem is its Public Engagement programme, which is especially relevant considering the growth of mis- and disinformation and mistrust in science and scientists.

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Teams and contribution

Branding, Communications and Public Engagements Team

Nicolette Jadhav Manager, BCPE
Dr. Sarah Iqbal Lead, CPE
  • Recruited four new team members
  • During the year moved towards online modes of engagements and organised more than 30 virtual workshops and events
  • Increased India Alliance’s reach on social media by more than 300%
  • Received over 300 media mentions during April 2019-December 2020 (100% increase in 2019 and 150% in 2020)
  • Organised COVID-19 public awareness events through webinars, infographics, articles and web comics
  • Increased engagement with researchers in Veterinary, Animal Sciences and in the North East Region (NER) through focused outreach events and training workshops

Finance Team

Nataraj Bollam Manager, Finance
  • Recruited and provided training to new staff, and implemented segregation of duties
  • Handled new grant schemes, pre and post-award activations
  • Created and implemented new process flow and setup as needed
  • Implemented maker, checker, and reviewer policy at each stage
  • Managed an increased workload without deviation to the process, procedures, and compliance
  • Handled in-depth audit conducted by an international organisation Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP) in addition to the periodic internal and statutory audits

Grants Team

Dr. Dipanwita Sengupta Lead, Grants
Dr. Bela Desai Manager, Grants
Dr. Madhankumar Anandhakrishnan Manager, Grants
  • Recruited nine new members in the team
  • Transitioned smoothly to a work-from-home set-up
  • Conducted virtual interviews for Senior and Intermediate Fellowship, Early Career Fellowship and Clinical and Public Health competitions in a timely manner
  • Processed 434 preliminary applications which led to granting of 31 awards
  • Activated 40 new Fellowship awards
  • Received and processed 211 annual progress reports
  • Handled 76 post-award requests, which included requests for support staff, host institute transfer, extension of grant end date
  • Received 43 applications regarding AIMF, which was the highest ever for a single call
  • Established RORI – India Alliance’s computer programming and data science capacity and related platforms such as GitHub
  • Released IA’s first-ever open-source software – a fuzzy matching tool
  • Established agile practices and finalised a data dictionary for our entities

HR & Operations Team

Saritha Vincent Manager, HR & Operations
Ajay Chandra Sadhuneni Manager, People & Culture
  • Recruited two new members in the team
  • Implemented the following new HR policies and initiatives
    • Prevention On Sexual Harassment (POSH) and formation of a POSH committee
    • Prevention of Bullying and Harassment policy
    • Whistle Blower Policy
    • Prevention of Corruption, Fraud and Anti-bribery policy
    • Occupational Health & Safety policy
    • Employee Welfare Committee, Staff development and succession plan and Department Procedure Manual
  • Conducted awareness sessions on mental health, holistic health, and cyber security (on a half-yearly basis)
  • Adapted to online modes of engagement through the work-from-home option
  • Complied with internal, external audit and GFGP audit

IT Team

Ravi Chandra Vasa Manager, IT
  • Current team size is two
  • Handled architecture, hardware, software and networking of computers
  • Facilitated seamless transformation from on-premises working dependency to work-from-home remotely by implementing and using cloud-based infrastructure (Amazon Web Services - AWS)
  • Facilitated the migration to a new website and co-ordinated the redesign and relaunch
  • Initiated development of grants module on Sales Force platform

Expanding National and
International Outreach

Nurturing Interdisciplinary and
International Collaborations

Interdisciplinary and collaborative science is the need of the hour to arrive at solutions to the healthcare problems of a modern society. The fellowship programmes of India Alliance work to fund major scientific meetings and travel grants to support such collaborative efforts. The module raises awareness on the significance of research and funding in India. This aids in resource and knowledge sharing along with building a robust research capacity and network in the country and abroad.

India Alliance, thus, regularly organises in-person and virtual sessions on funding programmes for students and researchers in biomedical and health sciences.

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Research Highlights

Fellows’ Research Highlights

Dr. Kavita Babu Indian Institute of Science

Learning with CREB: What can worms teach us?

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Dr. Pratik Rajeev Chaudhari Institute of Fundamental Research

Adverse effects of early life trauma: Role of mitostasis

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Dr. Raghu Radhakrishnan Manipal Academy of Higher Education

Epithelial Reprograming of HOX Genes by Epigenetic Mechanisms and its Implication to Oral Cancers

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Dr. Rahul Krishnaji Gajbhiye ICMR-National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health

National study to understand clinical phenotypes and genetic regulation of endometriosis in Indian women: ECGRI study

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Dr. Sabari Sankar Thirupathy Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Thiruvananthapuram

The conflict between DNA replication and transcription generates mutations

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Dr. Shilpak Chatterjee Indian Institute of Chemical Biology

Metabolic-epigenetic crosstalk in maintaining the effector function of CD8+ T cells in cancer

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Dr. Shoba S. Meera National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences

Parents mediated intervention for infants at high risk for autism

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Dr. Swagata Dey National Brain Research Centre

Cytoskeletal basis of dendrite development and regeneration

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Dr. Jahnavi Joshi CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology

Venom evolution in ancient predatory soil arthropods: Evolutionary and ecological perspectives

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Dr. Jyotirmoyee Dash Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science

Artificial DNA ionophore for selective K+-ion transport

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Dr. Soumyava Basu L V Prasad Eye Institute

Infection and autoimmunity: The story of tuberculosis of the eye

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Dr. Anura Kurpad St. John’s Research Institute

How do infants grow in India and why do they falter?

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Dr. Raja Narayanan L V Prasad Eye Institute

IHOPE Clinical Research Centre

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Dr. Venkatasubramanian Ganesan National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences

Reintegrating the Disintegrated Self: A ‘WISER’ Neuromodulation for Treatment of Schizophrenia

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Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI)

Assessing the potential impact of evolving HIV genetic diversity on neutralising antibody– mediated prophylaxis and treatment

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Dr. Mahesh Padukudru Anand JSS Medical College

Impact of air pollution on lung development in urban children residing in India

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