Resources Q & A

What types of grants are available for foreign travel to conferences, collaborator’s lab etc?

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At present only a few grants permit foreign travel, though they do permit travel within India. The purpose of such travel gets approved by an authority at the Institution- most often the PI themselves, or a Chairperson, or another official, and deemed to be an "official" visit. Then it doesn't matter whether its a collaborative visit or a meeting or a field trip to collect samples or whatever- the funds can be used. For foreign travel, you will have to scout out grants that allow it. You can use the Grants section of the IndiaBioscience website to find appropriate resources.

Grants like DSTs Swarnajayanti Fellowship and Ramanujan Fellowship, and DBTs Ramalingaswami Fellowship as well as most international awards (HFSP, FIRCA, The WellcomeTrust/DBT India Alliance, MPI) allow foreign travel. Some institutions have local funds that permit foreign travel. These can vary widely, ranging from $2000 per year to $2000 every 5 years. At present, our advice is to make sure you have a grant or a collaborative arrangement that will allow you at least one foreign meeting a year. Put in significant amount of energy into this- or come up with creative arrangements that will allow you to visit your post-doc mentor for example. This is particularly crucial in your early years and the ability to travel to foreign meetings correlates well with a successful start to one's career! If you apply early, you can avail of specific travel grants from DBT/DST. There are also other types of fellowships from these agencies that can be used for longer periods of stay abroad, for example for a specific type of training, a workshop etc.

As a PI you will manage to get money to travel, but it's hard for students to go to International meetings each year. There are CSIR/DST fellowships that will cover a student's travel once in their 5 year career. This can be supplemented with your own grants (if you have foreign grants with International travel money) or from the Institute's travel funds—each Institute has its own policy for supporting student travel. What works is to write a DST proposal to fund a 3-month visit to a collaborator's lab, and send the student to learn new techniques, complete a part of a collaboration etc—and arrange the timing so that they get to attend a major International meeting too.