For Faculty

External Funding

Faculty members are expected to seek extramural funding to support their research. Government of India funds research through its several ministries and departments. It also sets up special vehicles for research in specific areas. Several such calls for participation are listed on IRD’s IRIS system. Many are also circulated by email. See later on this page for some external links. The commercial industry also funds research and development and is often eager to collaborate with members of IIT Delhi faculty on different applications. (Look out for emails from Dean, Corporate Affairs announcing such opportunities.) IIT Delhi faculty is also eligible to send grant proposals to international funding agencies, like the European Union, National institutes of Health (USA), etc.

The first step in obtaining funding is to develop the research proposal. Proposals generally describe the goals of the project, its importance and related work, the team of investigators and their expertise, the research plan along with a timeline, and the required expenses. Budgetary cost of equipment can be found by consulting vendor websites of GeM. IRD website lists the standard salary for research and support staff. In addition, students, institute funded PhD scholars and post-doctoral fellows are allowed to participate in externally funded project. Students and PhD scholars may be provided a small honorarium for such participation. Faculty salary is paid full-time by the institute and cannot be paid from the grant. (A token honorarium is permitted if the funding agency agrees.) Note that in addition to the direct costs, which include equipment cost, salary for research and support staff/students, travel and meeting expenses, or other supplies and miscellaneous expenses, there is an overhead – the hidden expenses in managing the project by the institute, supporting equipment, space, power, utilities, etc. Large such expenses may be explicitly added to the budget, but the routine expenses are included in a lumpsum overhead as a percentage of direct costs. (See for the current overhead rates.)

One of the investigators is the principal investigator (PI), who is also responsible for the administrative management of the project. Other investigators are called co-PIs or sometimes co-investigators. The starting point for routing the proposal for external funding is the standing research committee of the PI’s academic unit, variously called DRC, CRC, and SRC for departments, centers, and schools, respectively. We will collectively call them XRC in this document. Please consult with the head of your unit to follow the procedure for obtaining your unit’s recommendation.

The next step is for the PI to create a new proposal on IRD’s IRIS system (Navigate to Sponsored Projects ➔ New Proposal Submission). The proposal along with the recommendation of XRC is to be uploaded on IRIS. IRD requires project proposals to be verified using Turnitin, and a report to be attached with the submission. (Library or CSC can help you with your Turnitin account.) After submission, you will receive tracking emails reporting the changes in the status of your proposal on IRIS. Proposals are formally made to the funding agency by the institute. Once IRD has completed processing your proposal, you will receive the institute’s submission cover letter, which you would include in the proposal that you send to the funding agency. Some funding agencies require institute certification in a specific format. If this is needed, please upload this format document on IRIS along with your proposal.

If a proposal involves participation of co-PIs, the PI must add their employee IDs on IRIS. IRIS will route the proposal through them (via email invites) requesting their assent to be the co-PI. (Non-IIT Delhi Co-PIs may also participate. The employee ID of such co-PIs is not required but do discuss such cases with IRD.) Once all co-PIs have accepted, IRIS routes it through the PI’s Head. (Sometimes, Heads/XRCs of the co-PIs also need to be in the loop -- this is not fully enabled on IRIS, but it could be in the future. Co-PIs should consult with their unit’s heads.)

After the head’s approval, it is the turn of Dean, IRD. The whole approval process may sometimes take a week. Hence, the process should be initiated well in advance of any deadlines. As a PI, you would be able to track where the proposal is waiting. On the dean’s approval, the office of Dean, IRD issues the official cover-letter in the right format. The letter assures the funding agency that IIT Delhi has the facilities needed for housing the project, and that if the PI becomes unavailable to complete the project for some reason, it has personnel to complete it instead.

Now, you may send the entire packet to the funding agency, on paper or by uploading a soft copy. Listed below are some links to early career project funding opportunities and awards instituted by different funding organizations and institutions. Young faculty members are especially encouraged to utilize these opportunities for an early start and enhancement of their research career.

• Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology Startup research grant (SRG)

• Department of Atomic Energy DAE-Young Scientist’s Research Award (YSRA)

• Department of Biotechnology Early Career Scientists (ECS)


• Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Young Scientist Award

• Indian National Science Academy INSA Medal for Young Scientists

• National Academy of Sciences NASI-Scopus Young Scientist Award

• The Indian Science Congress Association Young Scientists Awards

• Oxford Instruments Young Nano-scientist India Award

• Department of Biotechnology National Bioscience Awards for Career Development The Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (IYBA) National Women Bio-scientist Awards

• Indian National Academy of Engineering Young Engineer Award

• The Institute of Engineers IEI Young Engineers Award

As a rule of thumb, calls for proposals with smaller budget (say, smaller than ₹50 lakh) have fewer evaluation steps, and get funded quicker. Still, it can take well over a year, even two, to finally receive the funds. It is also worth noting that funding agencies often look at prior project completion history. If that history is not long, they may be reluctant to risk higher funding. Note that these grants may seem low at first look when compared to international grants in terms of bare exchange rate, they can go farther due to lower costs. However, timelines for funding can be longer. Please plan accordingly.

Usually, the approval of the grant reached the PI well before the funds do. On the receipt of such approval, new projects are initiated on IRIS by navigating to Sponsored Projects ➔ New Project Initiation. IRD will then create an internal project with a specific reference number (like RP1234). This project will be funded when the funds actually arrive from funding agency, usually via electronic transfer. IRD often has no way to connect incoming funds with specific proposals. Often, the PI is among the first to know the amount of funds sent (and the date). The PI can create a General request on IRIS to credit the received funds to the internal project, by quoting its reference number. The PI is responsible for using the funds for what it was provisioned. The requests for their utilization (e.g., equipment purchase committee and staff selection committee formation) are initiated through IRIS. The PI is also responsible for sending progress reports to the funding agency, including the utilization certificate (UC) and the statement of expense (SoE). IRD is responsible for generating UC and SoE on request from the PI. Note that the financial year for most funding agencies is April 1 to Mar 31. This means that many of these reports are tied to those dates.

It is important to manage grant funds responsibly. The institute has detailed purchase< IITD Store and Purchase website > and staff selection< IITD IRD Manual > rules. If the purchase process is not followed, the payment to the vendor may be delayed or denied. This is never a pleasant experience. In addition, the non-consumable equipment purchased from a grant is added to a faculty or staff member’s personal or lab inventory by filling what is known as the NC-form. (Your department unit’s storekeeper or other staff should be able to assist.) It is important to keep track of your inventory items. The funding agencies have a right to request that the equipment be handed over to them at the end of the project.

A general research initiation tip: it helps to build bridges and collaborations. IIT Delhi has many research fora across disciplines; you will find many such announcements cross your email. These are for your benefit. Please attend talks and other fora, introduce yourself, get to know what others do. The table below lists some of the popular governmental funding agencies in India. They all maintain detailed websites announcing research funding schemes.

Funded Areas   
All areas of science and engineering   
Areas related to the wider deployment of   information and related technologies   
Biomedical devices, biochemistry, sensors,   etc.   
Renewable energy   
Very specific problems related payloads for   ISRO missions and enabling technologies   
All areas of science and engineering   
All defence-related areas   
Nearly all areas of science and engineering   
Areas related to education technology, social   sciences, etc.   
Nuclear energy, and all other areas of   science and engineering   

Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT)

IIT Delhi is a vibrant place to work with external entities. Some of them even have on-campus offices and presence. If you have an industrial partner that is keen on collaborating with you, please consult Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT). FITT is a non-profit organization owned by IIT Delhi and manages industrial collaborations and consultancies. They currently have a more traditional process and are not hooked to IRIS. You should be aware of the Institute Intellectual Property Regulations (IPR) policy. FITT also manages IIT Delhi’s patent portfolio. If you want to file a patent, they are always ready to help you.

Industry funded projects often include providing intellectual and scientific service to an organization for refinement of processes, development of algorithms, certification of plan, etc. FITT can help faculty members hired as 'consultant' to draw out a detailed budget and plan for execution of the work. You should be aware that there is a maximum limit of 52 days in a year that a faculty member may engage in such consulting activities. Visit for more details.