Grants galore for innovative solutions to tackle Covid-19

M. Ramesh | | Updated on: Apr 19, 2020
image caption

A positive effect of the pandemic emergency is the availability of funding to those engaged in counter-Covid-19 research.

One of them is the ‘ignition grant’ from the US–India Science & Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF). Under it, grant up to ₹50 lakh is available “to help early-stage creative ideas develop a proof-of-concept and/or build a prototype”; up to ₹1 crore is on offer to “support a team with a workable, validated prototype and/or with the ability to repurpose existing innovative solutions to meet the Covid-19 challenge.” The Endowment Fund is rupee demoninated and all awards are in Indian rupees.

Seeking innovation

The USISTEF “encourages out-of-the-box, innovative ideas from the community to address the Covid-19 challenge,” says a statement from the IUSSTEF.

USISTEF will select and support promising joint US-India Science and Technology based entrepreneurial initiatives that address the “development and implementation of new technologies, tools, and systems to address Covid-19 related challenges, including monitoring, diagnosis, health and safety, public outreach, information and communication.”

These initiatives can originate from government, academic, non-governmental or commercial entities, and any combination thereof provided they focus on applied R&D and have commercial potential.

USISTEF will also consider proposals related to technologies/products that can be repurposed to address Covid -19 in the current scenario. USISTEF encourages projects that demonstrate a high degree of innovation leveraging advances in science and technology.

The USISTEF is a body set up to “support and foster applied R&D to generate public good through commercialisation of technology developed through the partnerships. Now, the Forum’s grants are focused on counter-Covid-19 research.

The last date for sending in the applications is May 15.

Another funding

Another funding opportunity is from the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) which has called for proposals for Indo-US Virtual Networks, which would allow “Indian and US scientists and engineers currently engaged in Covid-related research to carry out joint research activities through a virtual mechanism, leveraging existing infrastructure and funding.” On offer is a grant of up to ₹50 lakh per project.

These network projects could be of two types: (a)knowledge R&D Networks that enable Indian and U.S. scientists from Academia and National Laboratories to conduct joint research and encourage the integration of research and education; and (b)public-private virtual networks that enable Indian and US scientists from academia and industry to collaborate on pre-commercial R&D activities having potential towards applied research and product development. Again, the last date for submission of applications is May 15.

Ministry scheme

The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), an enterprise of Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, has launched a scheme to support researchers and innovators to scale-up their lab-scale technologies to commercial-scale for combating Covid-19.

The financial support will be in the form of grant-in-aid up to ₹10 lakh. “Higher amount can also be considered for deserving proposals having high impact,” says NRDC.

The financial assistance is for value addition such as scaling up, prototype development, market testing of the prototype, generating data required by regulatory authorities and certification, etc. The focus areas are eco-friendly sanitizers, rapid test kits, PPEs, ventilators, medicines and vaccines. Research laboratories, universities, startups, and MSMEs can apply for this grant. NRDC has also brought out a compendium on Indian technologies for combating Covid-19.

Most of these technologies are proof-of-concept (POC) tested and would help the entrepreneurs to take the product to market faster as they do not have to reinvent the wheel. Startups/Entrepreneurs who would like to commercialize their POC tested technologies, can use this grant for that purpose. The last date for applying on prescribed form is May 15.

BIRAC offer

Yet another opportunity is from Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), which has called for proposals for projects for “developing diagnostics, vaccines, novel therapeutics, repurposing of drugs and any other intervention for control of Covid-19 outbreak”.

“Projects submitted must take into account the criteria for affordability, wide-spread adoption and have a realistic possibility for scale-up,” says BIRAC.

Grant‐in‐aid assistance will depend on the proposed activities and would be based on the scope of activities under the proposal. Funding will come from one of the many schemes available under the Department of Biotechnology or the National Biopharma Mission.

Published on April 19, 2020

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like

Recommended for you