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Call for Proposals: UK-India Covid-19 Partnership Initiative by DBT, Govt. of India: Submit by Nov 11


The UKRI (MRC, ESRC) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), India, are pleased to invite proposals to the UK-India Covid-19 Partnership Initiative. This initiative will provide funding for collaborative research projects with the potential to deliver public health impacts in mitigating the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in both the UK and India.

In total, UKRI will make up to £4 million available in support of the UK component of the collaborative projects; with a matched equivalent resources provided by DBT in support of the Indian components.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) is an Indian government department, under the Ministry of Science and Technology responsible for administrating development and commercialization in the field of modern biology and biotechnology in India. It was set up in 1986.


Through the UK-India Covid-19 Partnership Initiative, the funders aim to:

  1. Support world-leading collaborative research teams focused on mitigating the severity of COVID-19 in South Asian populations in the UK and India.
  2. Enhance existing partnerships and develop new partnerships between the UK and India in efforts to address COVID-19.
  3. Strengthen the strategic relationship between the UK and India.
Objective & Scope

Short term (up to 18 month) proposals are sought, with rapid activation required. Proposals must consider the immediate morbidity and mortality associated with COVID-19 and demonstrate how progress within the period of award could make a direct and significant contribution to the understanding, prevention, and/ or management of the COVID-19 outbreak among South Asian populations in the UK and India.

Proposals must focus on South Asian populations in both the UK and India. As this is a joint UK-India call, the primary population of focus should be Indian, but, where justified, applicants may include an additional focus on other South Asian populations within the UK and India.

Focus Areas

Proposals should focus on comparative research between South Asian populations in the two
countries that will advance our understanding of COVID-19 in different environments in the below
research areas:

Mechanistic studies of the disease and its sequelae

  • Identification of key biological determinants of infection severity and immune
  • Better understanding the immune response of asymptomatic disease carriers;
  • Identifying biosocial interactions that impact on the severity of COVID-19, including for example, understanding of the effects of complex demographic variables, such as age, gender, ethnicity, migration history, socioeconomic status, employment situation and diet;
  • Identifying and understanding the effect of prior health status and influence of coinfecting respiratory pathogens on the immune response to primary infection;
  • Understanding the effect of abiotic influences (including, but not limited to, climate and population density)

Virology, Immunity and Pathophysiology

  • Research focused on defining critical biological/pathological parameters necessary for the prioritisation of preventative, supportive and/ or therapeutic interventions.
  • This includes understanding viral genotype/phenotype relationships, the immunology and immunopathology of the disease, the immunity generated post-severe, -mild and asymptomatic infection and the persistence of that immunity.


  • Control and mitigation -research to understand context specific social distancing and other non-pharmaceutical intervention measures that are most effective at preventing or reducing spread of SARS-CoV2;
  • Research to investigate how such measures may be most effectively adapted and promoted.
Project Duration

Projects must be up to 18 months in duration. All proposals will need to be able to show how progress within the period of award could make a valuable contribution to the understanding, diagnosis, prevention and/ or management of the COVID-19 outbreak, with data and tools/reagents generated under this call to be made widely available.

Projects must start by 1 May 2021. Applicant teams must be able to commence research quickly with relevant collaborations in place by the start of the research.

Call for Proposals

To submit your proposals online, click here. Successful grants will have their UK costs paid through Je-S and their Indian costs paid through DBT’s system. The last date to submit your proposals is November 11, 2020.


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Call for Proposals: UK-India Covid-19 Partnership Initiative by DBT, Govt. of India




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