The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) invite joint applications for collaborative projects between Indian and UK researchers focusing on the future of India-UK trade and investment relations in the context of a changing global environment (exemplified not least by the UK’s prospective departure from the European Union and threats to the global trading system posed by an apparent drift towards protectionism). In particular, the funders wish to encourage projects that identify the challenges and opportunities associated with strengthening India-UK bilateral trade and investment relations against this changing international environment, together with the associated policy alternatives facing both countries if they are to take full advantage of the potential for closer mutually beneficial engagement in the trade and investment spheres.

The call is now open and the deadline for applications is 5 December 2019. Projects must be no more than 36 months in duration and successful awards will be jointly announced in April 2020.

This call is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), specifically the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Indian Council of Social Sciences Research (ICSSR).

Funding of up to £1.3million is available from ESRC, with a maximum of £406,250 at 100% full economic cost (fEC) available per proposal, of which ESRC will contribute 80% fEC (£325,000) per proposal. Funding of up to INR25 lakhs per proposal is available from ICSSR. It is expected that up to four research projects will be awarded under this call.

Each grant requires a Principal Investigator (PI) based in the UK and a PI based in India who will jointly develop one application and equally share leadership and project management.

Scope of the call

Proposals are invited which address one or more of the following interrelated topics;

  1. India-UK trade and investment in a global context
  2. Drivers of India-UK bilateral trade and investment relations
  3. Technology, innovation and trade in services
  4. India-UK socio-cultural interdependencies and trade

Note that although projects will be funded for a period of 36 months, an important element of this call is that successful applicants are asked to produce after twelve months an initial synthesis document summarising the current state of evidence in their chosen area of enquiry, together with the outstanding research issues to be pursued in the remaining term of the grant. This material will form the basis of an event to be arranged by the funders which will aim to bring grant holders and interested parties from the policy and business communities in India and the UK together so as to gain an early understanding of the state of existing research on key questions of policy and practice as well as identifying common research themes and priorities emerging across the successful projects.   

Application process

A UK-based lead partner and an India-based lead partner should be identified, each of whom will lead on the joint writing of the proposal and its submission in their respective countries.

The UK-based lead partner should ensure the application is submitted via the Je-S system. If the UK application comes from multiple institutions, then the application should be made on a single Je-S form from the UK-based lead partner’s host institution. The India-based lead partner should ensure they email ICSSR by the closing date.

ESRC submission

Proposals must be submitted by 16:00 GMT on 5 December 2019 via the UKRI Joint electronic Submission (Je-S) System that includes all supporting documents as requested below. For submission through Je-S, please consult the Je-S guidance and UK addendum.

Supporting documents to be jointly written (where applicable) and attached to the proposal:

  • Case for support (six pages max)- this should be jointly written
  • Justification of resources (two pages for the resources requested from ESRC)
  • Pathways to Impact (two pages max)
  • CV (two pages max for each named researcher)
  • Management Plan (two pages max)
  • Data Management Plan (three pages max)
  • International Funding Agencies Resource form (includes two pages for the justification of resources requested from ICSSR and CVs for all named researchers)

ICSSR submission

An email containing the International Funding Agencies Resource form should be emailed to by 21.30h on 5 December 2019. ESRC will share some details from the Je-S submission with ICSSR as part of the joint peer review process.

For submission to ICSSR please refer to the International Funding Agencies Resources Form; this includes information on the research team, costs applied for and their justification.

Call documents

Key dates

  • Call launch – September 2019
  • Deadline for proposals – 16:00 GMT on 5 December 2019 and 21.30 India (+ 5.30 GMT)
  • Panel meeting – March 2020
  • Funding decision – April 2020
  • Grant start date – May 2020

Key contacts ESRC and ICSSR

Je-S helpdesk

  • Email:
    Telephone +44 (0)1793 444164
    Available Monday-Friday 9.00-17.00 (excluding public or other holidays)