World news story

MRC-ICMR invite proposals for collaborative research projects

There is a high burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including mental health in the Indian population.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) are pleased to announce a joint programme inviting proposals for collaborative research projects, primarily for the development of longitudinal and clinical studies of substance misuse and associated consequences.

There is a high burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including mental health in the Indian population. Recognising the timeliness of scaling up research on substance misuse and its associated problems, the ICMR and MRC identified it as an immediate area of mutual cooperation at the last joint working group meeting held in London in June 2013. Consequently, a workshop was jointly organised by ICMR and MRC at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, 26-28 February 2014. As a result of these discussions a number of research priorities were identified. This call is launched based on the recommendations resulting from this successful scoping workshop, which was facilitated by Research Councils UK (RCUK) India and the Science and Innovation Network.

The call aims to promote research collaboration between the UK and Indian investigators in the area of substance misuse and mental health for exploiting the mutual strengths of the two communities. Research proposals are particularly welcomed that enable development of cohort studies and incorporate capacity building. Where appropriate, the work could build on existing partnerships/networks/cohorts.

The MRC will allocate up to £2 million for this programme, and this being funded by the Newton Fund. ICMR will fund the Indian component under this programme. It is anticipated that 2-4 research projects will be funded, subjected to quality for a duration of 2-3 years.

The value and areas of research partnership between the UK and India has immensely amplified in the last six years, and this announcement will further enhance the existing partnership, and supports the MRC and ICMR funded research between both the countries.

Proposals will be invited to address two key areas:

Longitudinal studies

  • comparative studies between India and the UK, for example including families who have moved from India to the UK
  • India-only studies
  • pilot work to establish a new cohort to cover:
  • brain imaging
  • epigenetics
  • environmental influences on neural function
  • bioinformatics
  • genomics
    • large scale application of assessments e.g.
    • stress reactivity paradigms
    • blood related assessments
    • eye movement studies
    • EEG
    • biofeedback studies

Clinical studies

  • comparative studies between India and the UK, for example including families who have moved from India to the UK
  • India-only studies

Please note this call is not intended for the development of new UK-based general population cohorts.


  • call open: 3rd November 2014
  • deadline for intention to submit: 30th November 2014, 1130 GMT
  • deadline for submission of full proposals: 9th January 2015 1130 GMT
  • outcome: July 2015

Further details and guidance to apply are available here.

Further information

  • please email Geeny George or call on 011 2419 2637

  • The Newton Fund is a new initiative intended to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging knowledge economies. It was launched by the Chancellor in April 2014, and will deliver £375 million of funding over the course of five years. Please see the government’s Newton Fund policy paper where you will find details of the fund, UK delivery partners, overseas partner and associated activities.

  • The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the seven Research Councils in the UK, and is responsible for co-coordinating and funding world-class medical research to improve human health. The MRC supports research across the biomedical spectrum, from fundamental lab-based science to clinical trials, and in all major disease areas. MRC focuses on high-impact research and has provided the financial support and scientific expertise behind a number of medical breakthroughs.

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research is an apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world. The Council’s research priorities coincide with the National health priorities such as control and management of communicable diseases, fertility control, maternal and child health, control of nutritional disorders, developing alternative strategies for health care delivery, containment within safety limits of environmental and occupational health problems; research on major non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, blindness, diabetes and other metabolic and haematological disorders; mental health research and drug research (including traditional remedies). All these efforts are undertaken with a view to reduce the total burden of disease and to promote health and well-being of the population. The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

  • Research Councils UK India (RCUK) India, launched in 2008, brings together the best researchers in the UK and India through high-quality, high-impact research partnerships. RCUK India, based at the British High Commission in New Delhi, has facilitated co-funded initiatives between the UK, India and third parties that have grown close to £150 million. The research collaborations are often closely linked with UK and Indian industry partners, with more than 90 partners involved in the research. RCUK India is actively involved in co-funded research activities with seven major Indian research funders on a wide array of research themes addressing global challenges such as energy, climate change, social sciences, healthcare and life sciences.

  • Science and Innovation Network, India works to influence science and innovation policies of the Indian Government, industry and academia to benefit the UK, and improve UK policy based on international experience and emerging opportunities and challenges with India. And harness Indian technology partnerships and investment to grow UK innovation capability.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Storify, Eventbrite, Blogs, Foursqare

Published 4 November 2014