Wellcome Trust-DBT India Research Fellow 2019
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Wellcome Trust-DBT India Research Fellow 2019

This strategy aims to enhance clinical and public health research ecosystems in India to bridge gaps in human resource, supervision, mentorship, equipment, and administration by establishing virtual Clinical/Public Health Research Centres (CRCs). The CRCs are envisioned as research-oriented centres based with attention on important biomedical research issues and preferably involving numerous institutions.

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About the Scheme

The CRCs is based on either crosscutting or vertical research themes, within the remit of India Alliance. Big data, population-based interdisciplinary cohorts, disease modelling are examples of crosscutting themes while antimicrobial resistance, nutrition, cardio-metabolic ailments, mental health, respiratory ailments, and environmental health are cases of vertical themes. These themes are supplied only for illustrative purposes; proposals do not need to be limited to those areas.

Though not compulsory, this scheme promotes international cooperation. The projects would require outside evaluation at regular intervals; hence, the proposition must have in-built milestones for reporting and evaluation.

Eligibility and Provisions:

The CRCs are institutional grants which are thought to promote clinical/public health research and develop physician-scientists. They’d enable clinicians and public health scientists to perform patient- and – population-oriented research along with patient care and preventative medicine. Thus, applying institutions ought to indicate a very clear route for this. The project ought to be in a position to boost the current research environment at the host institution within the financing period. Also, the applicants must provide a sustenance plan following the financing be over.

Research proposals from existing eligible institutions should provide evidence of access to an in-house or external Clinical Study Design Unit (CSDU) and appropriate training programmes. This may involve collaborations with biostatistics and epidemiology, implementation science, qualitative and health economics researchers.

The proposal must have elements of human resource training and mentorship. Training of MD and PhD students ought to be a vital portion of their proposed project. A comprehensive training plan and a plan to assess its success will be required.

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The CRCs can also link up with the Clinical Research Training Programme(CRTP) to come up with a 3 to 4-year mentored training programme for clinical and public health researchers, also seek out separate funds for that CRTP. A CRC application may also be created without linking it to CRTP, but appropriate research and training components have to be built into it.

The host institution may suggest a PhD program for MDs or an MD-PhD program, create a cluster, including support for keeping a significant clinical cohort, etc.. Support for a present clinical or population-based cohort will be considered provided they have already been installed and have been after”international good practices”.

The CRCs are envisioned to add more than 1 institution. Strong justification could be required to get a single-institution CRC, in which case several sections at that institution ought to come together.

A proper research management plan ought to be set up at the coordinating institution, and rather in all participating institutions.

The proposal can seek out support for hiring fresh clinical and public health researchers (originally as project staff but using an institutional commitment longer than the length of the grant), purchasing equipment and research supplies, maintaining clinical and population cohorts and biobanks, also for training early career clinicians in research.  Funds may also be asked for strengthening the research management structure in the institution(s). All budgetary requests (like manpower and training programs) ought to be commensurate with the planned project, and have to be supported with strong scientific justifications.

The application needs to outline a resource-sharing plan and demonstrate sustainability following the financing is over. Substantial commitment from the institutions to co-support will be desirable.

There wouldn’t be any explicit advice from India Alliance past the said mandate and purpose of this strategy. It’d be up to applying institutions to justify how they’d attain the general goal of developing physician-scientists and improving the clinical and public health research ecosystem.

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Application Process:

India Alliance would invite applications for the said scheme in the prescribed format which would be made available on its site from 16 May to 17 June 2019, 2:00 PM IST.

Screening: The India Alliance Office would screen the received applications against the eligibility criteria (as mentioned in the scheme). A Screening Committee (SC) would carry out a hard triage of eligible applications so that only selected applications to go for a peer review and interview. This Committee would be external to, but facilitated by India Alliance and would have basic, clinical, public health and interdisciplinary researchers. The SC is not expected to provide elaborate feedback on research merit of the project and would evaluate it based on the aforementioned eligibility and competition in the cohort of applications received. India Alliance would not be able to provide reviews to applicants at this stage.

Peer Review: Selected applications will be reviewed by external and international experts.

Funding: The peer-reviewed applications would be evaluated by a Funding Committee (FC), which would be external to, but facilitated by India Alliance. The FC would have members from the existing SIF and CPH committees of India Alliance. Based on need in a specific round, it may also co-opt other experts. All peer-reviewed applications would normally be brought to an interview, unless recommended otherwise by the FC, for example, based on an unsatisfactory external review. The FC would interview the LPI and, if desired, up to 2 more PIs on each application. The recommendations made by the FC and the decision of India Alliance would be based on performance at the interview with the Committee and competition within the cohort. These decisions would be final.

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The scheme is expected to be very competitive at each step. All applications would be assessed in competition with others in that cohort.

Important Note:

The India Alliance’s Committees comprise of independent scientists from the international research community with appropriate expertise and research experience. They are asked to express their own views on research proposals and to adjudicate on opinions received from external experts.

Members of the India Alliance’s Committees are required to abide by a code of conduct, which is designed to protect and preserve the integrity of the India Alliance’s advisers and processes. This code of conduct dictates that the Committee Members may not discuss any aspect of the deliberations or recommendations of the Committee with applicants and that they must refuse any requests for information as to how a particular decision was reached.

Applicants or their colleagues must never attempt to contact a Committee Member to discuss any aspect of an application or the decision reached on it. All such requests must be referred to the Office.

Important Date:

If the application is selected for peer review, the interviews would be held in the month of November 2019.

  • Applications open: 16 May 2019 (Forms would be made available on India Alliance site)
  • Applications close: 17 June 2019 (2:00 PM, IST)

APPLY ONLINE

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