The Sree Padmavathi Venkateswara Foundation (SreePVF), Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, incorporated under Section 7(2) and Rule 8 of the Government of India Companies Rule 2014, is a private Foundation which has been supporting excellence in medical education and care through a variety of methods. It has also been offering awards, donations and grants to individuals and institutions, societies and foundations, whose aims and activities are in tune with those of the Foundation.
Recognizing that in addition to the government, Private Foundations and Trusts should also support research and technology through grants, SreePVF has decided to award three-year research grants (of up to a total of Rs. 3 crores) for individuals and groups engaged in the broad areas of biological and chemical sciences. As a first step in this direction, SreePVF invites applications for the award of one such grant in the area of biological sciences. A team of well known experts in biological sciences has kindly agreed to help the Foundation in reviewing the applications and select the one most suited for the grant. Applications for a three-year grant are invited from interested individuals and teams. The upper age limit for the Principal Investigator is 50.
A Word from D Balasubramanian, Distinguished Scientist (& Director of Research Emeritus), L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI)
Where does an individual researcher in India turn to for a grant-in-aid to conduct research? It is invariably to the central government agencies (departments in the ministries of Sci & Tech, Health, Agriculture, Atomic energy, Defence, Space, and Human Resources Development). Some other ministries (e.g., coal, chemicals & fertilizers, women and child development, new and renewable energy, mines…) might offer some grants, though I am not sure how much and whether for long-term basic research. But do we have to turn to Delhi alone for research funding? What about the states and union territories? Do any of the 29 state and 7 union territories governments offer research grants to individual (or a team of) scientists? NO.
It is with this background that some of us have been interacting with the relevant ministers in one or two states of India (West Bengal and Telangana), requesting them to set apart a small sum of money yearly, towards research grants in all areas of science (hard and soft), and chosen areas of humanities and social sciences. Hope they will do so. Wish us success.
But what about private foundations? Barring a couple, the answer is again NO. However, some of our industrialists have set up centres of excellence in science and technology, innovation, management and such in universities in the US and UK. Why not here in India? Contrast this with a similar scientist in Europe, USA, Canada, Japan or Korea. Private Foundations there offer competitive research grants. Is this not time for Indian Industrialists to set up research foundations similar to the Wellcome Trust, MacArthur, Rockefeller, Ford, Howard Hughes, Kavli, Sloan, Keck — and others? India made friends with science since the day it became free (when it was financially a ‘basket case’), and today we are among the top five economic powers in the globe. This became possible due to our friendship with science and technology. Seventy years later, it is time for not just the governments, but private individuals and Foundations in India too, to make friends with science and start offering research grants.
It is against this backdrop that the SreePV Foundation of Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, has initiated a small initiative in supporting research in biological sciences.