IISc main campus with trees and flowers

Funding to kick-start early-stage, risky and ‘blue skies’ research between world-leading institutions


Applications are open until Tuesday 31 October 2023.

The Imperial-IISc Partnership Fund aims to promote and support innovative research collaborations between the two institutions.

The objective is to support the development of early-stage projects that, either through establishing new links or strengthening existing ones, are likely to lead to collaborations that are innovative, sustainable and mutually beneficial.  

Proposals include exchange of academics and students, workshops, pilot studies, data generation and other activities. The goal is for these collaborations to support IISc and Imperial academics to initiate and pursue collaborations that may lead to new science and future applications for external funding.


Possible Activities

One or more of the following example activities could be supported via the fund:

  • Travel costs and other activities that often do not receive financial support at the earliest stages.
  • Imperial funds can be used to support small-scale experiments, pilot studies or the development of prototypes;
  • Outward/inward visits for academics, research staff and students to investigate the potential for, initiate, follow-up, or work on a collaborative project or training opportunity, and for other stakeholder engagement;
  • Longer stays for students or research staff (up to maximum 2 months) to learn new techniques, analyse results or undertake other activities;
  • Set up of new networks to promote the exchange of ideas, best practice, and other research goals;
  • Networking events such as workshops and seminars to bring together researchers to foster new links or strengthen existing collaborations.
  • Payment for student assistance (to encourage student engagement in projects)


This call has an indicative budget of £30K and INR 30 Lakhs to be awarded to 5 to 6 successful Imperial and IISc collaborating teams respectively.

Budget requests should not exceed £5K from Imperial and INR 5.0 Lakhs from IISc per project. Funds can only be spent on activities that fit the purpose of this call.  Applicants should itemise their budget using the tables in the application form. 

For IISc seed fund holders, the maximum project duration is 1 year.

For Imperial seed fund holders, expenditure must be completed by 31 July 2024.

Please refer to the list of fundable/ non-fundable items below:

Fundable (Y/N)



Student support costs

(e.g student travel/bursaries)



Limited Research Consumables












Networking events such as e-workshops and e-seminars



Project related equipment (for education collaboration only)



Bench fees



Indirect and estate costs






How to apply

At IISc, the fund is open to all faculty members. At Imperial, the fund is open to permanent members of staff only. 

Proposals must be submitted to both globalseedfunds@imperial.ac.uk and iro.admin@iisc.ac.in; with cc: chair.oir@iisc.ac.in. Only applications submitted to these two email addresses, and before the deadline, will be considered.

One proposal per Principal Applicant per call is permitted.

Each application should have one Principal Applicant based at Imperial and one Principal Applicant based at IISc and should contain:

  • A written case for support (maximum 2 pages) to include:
    • A description of the relevant research/training conducted by the Imperial-based individual/group in recent years;
    • A description of the activities and collaboration proposed;
    • Explanation of how the activities proposed will generate demonstrable added value to the PI / Research Group / Department / Faculty / College
    • A description of the opportunities available for leveraging funding
  • A financial summary: Each application should provide information on the requested costs using the budget section of the application template (see ‘Funding Requested’).
  • Applicable only to Imperial Applicants: An InfoEd / Worktribe statement is not needed.

Researchers from other institutions may also participate as a Co-Investigators and at their own expense.

Applications must be completed on the template provided and within the page limit stated.



  • Deadline for the submission of applications: 31 October 2023
  • Release date of the results: 24 November 2023
  • Start date of the awarded projects: 4 December 2023
  • All awarded projects must end by: 31 July 2024

Review of Applications

At Imperial, all eligible applications will be considered for funding by the Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) with assistance of the Cross-College Research Proposals Review Group and the International Relations Office.

At IISc, all the applications will be reviewed by an internal committee of the Office of International Relations.

IISc and Imperial will then jointly review applications to make a final decision on which applications will receive funding.

Applications will be ranked on:

  • Overall design and rationale – how feasible is the proposal?
  • Excellence of the research - what is the quality of the proposed project?
  • Value for money
  • Impact the award would bring to the applicants based on their career stage and existing networks
  • Potential strategic value of the partnership – to what extent will the proposal lead to future, sustainable collaboration?

Accessing Funds & Reporting

At Imperial, Faculty Finance Officers will be informed of decisions and will arrange the set-up of an award account code, where all project related expenditure should be charged.

At IISc, Dean of the Finance and Administration will be informed of decisions and to arrange the allotment of funds to awardees.

Principal Applicants who are successful in receiving an award are required to provide a report within 2 weeks of the end of the award period, to both globalseedfunds@imperial.ac.uk and iro.admin@iisc.ac.in; cc: chair.oir@iisc.ac.in, using a template provided.  The narrative element of the report should provide details of the relevant activities supported and how these have addressed the objectives of the call. The financial element of the report serves as a Final Expenditure Statement and should detail the award amount and the award spent.  Responsibility remains with the PI to ensure all spend has been charged to the correct award code.

Imperial is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring, promotion and research funding decisions we will evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the impact factor of the journal where it is published. More information is available at https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/