Research Programme

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1.1 Research Programmes are a series of research studies undertaken simultaneously or sequentially on themes of significance and priority in Social Sciences. These studies identified by the ICSSR from time to time, are expected to be inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary in nature for critical understanding of social science research and develop deeper understanding in terms of theory, methodology and policy outcome. However, high impact studies which are broad in character but fall within the ambit of a single discipline may also be considered.

1.2 The broad thrust areas of the Research Programme as per the latest advertisement.


2.1 ICSSR Research Institutes/institute of national importance as defined by the HRD Ministry/ UGC recognized Indian university/deemed university/ are eligible to apply. However, other registered organisations with established research and academic standing may collaborate with the main applying institution/project director.  Such collaborations are to be made at the time of application.

2.2 Project Director who are regularly employed and are Associate Professor and above. Both the Project Director and Co- Director must possess a Ph.D. degree and a proven track record of high quality research as evidenced by past studies, publications and their academic background.

2.3 Civil servants and senior defence officers of not less than 25 years of regular service and demonstrable research experience through publications of books/research papers/reports may also apply, preferably in collaboration with a faculty in a social science discipline as given in 2.1.



3.1 Applications will be invited through advertisements in leading Newspaper(s) and on ICSSR website.

3.2 Application in hard copy in prescribed format and duly forwarded by the affiliating institution must be sent to: In-charge, RP Division, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067 before the last date mentioned in the advertisement.  An advance copy of the application can also be sent through email at:

3.3. The Applicants are required to submit the following:

a)         Proposal in 1500 words.
b)         Composition of the Research Team including Project Director and Co-Directors (not more than five), including their Departments and Collaborating Institutions.
c)         CVs of all lead researchers with their signatures and consent in writing.

3.4 Research proposals and final reports should either be in English or Hindi.

3.5 The applicants are advised to keep the detailed proposal of 12000 words ready soon after the deadline.



4.1 Applications are initially scrutinised by the ICSSR Secretariat/and or by Screening Committee.

4.2 Thereafter Expert Committee(s) will short-list the meritorious proposals for submitting a full length proposal not exceeding 12000 words.   

4.3 Full proposals are subsequently evaluated by Expert Committee(s) during presentation and interaction at ICSSR.  

4.4The recommendations of the Expert Committee are then placed before the Research Committee/Council for its final approval.



5.1 Research Programmes will be for a maximum duration of two years.

5.2 Each Research Programme will have an allocation broadly ranging between Rs.15 to 30 lakh, disbursed in four equal instalments. However, in exceptional cases higher budget may be considered depending upon the relevance of the study and its budgetary requirements.

5.3 The budget estimates for these proposals are to be prepared on the basis of the format given in the guidelines. The Institute/group of scholars will frame the budget subject to the following broad  expenditure sub-heads:


Heads of Expenditure



Research Staff : Full time/Part-time/Hired Services

Not exceeding 45% of the total budget.


Fieldwork: Travel/Logistics/Boarding, etc. including Books/Journals

Not exceeding 35%


Equipment and Study material: computer, printer etc / Source Material/Software and Data Sets, etc.

Not exceeding 10%



Not exceeding 5%


Publication of Report






Institutional Overheads (over and above the total cost of the project)

5% or Maximum


*The five percent (5%) publication amount will be spent by the ICSSR Publication Division if the final report is found publishable by an Expert Committee constituted by the ICSSR.

5.4   Remuneration and Emoluments of Project Staff

  1. Project staff could be engaged by the Project Director/Coordinator on a full/ Part-time basis during the research work and the duration/consolidated monthly emoluments of their employment may be decided by the project director within the limits of the sanctioned financial allocation and as per the ICSSR rules.
  2.  Research Associate @Rs.20, 000/- p.m.
    (Qualification – MA (55% minimum) with NET /M.Phil/Ph.D)
  3. Research Assistant @Rs.15, 000/- p.m.
    (Qualification-Ph.D./M.Phil./M.A with minimum 55%)
  4. Field Investigator @ Rs.12, 000/-p.m. (not exceeding 6 months) (Qualification-M.A with minimum 55%).
  5. Retrospective payment for work already done is not permissible.

5.5  The Institution may re-appropriate expenditure from one head to another (except publication of report) subject to a maximum of 5 % with the prior approval of ICSSR. Beyond that, detailed budget will have to be submitted with sufficient reasons for the approval of the ICSSR.

5.6 Selection of Research Staff should be done through an advertisement and a selection committee consisting of (1) Project Director; (2) One outside Expert (other than the institute where the project is located); (3) a nominee of the Vice Chancellor/Head of the Institution and (4) Head of the Department of the Project Director duly approved by the competent authority.

5.7. For all field work related expenses of Project Director, Co-Project Directors and project personnel, rules pertaining to affiliating institutes shall be followed.

5.8 All equipment and books purchased out of the project fund shall be the property of the ICSSR. On completion of the study, the Project Director shall return it to the ICSSR along with final report and executive summary.

5.9       The scholar should acknowledge the support of ICSSR in all publications resulting from the programme output (Research Paper, Books, Articles, Reports, etc.) and should submit a copy of the same to the ICSSR during its course and after completion.



6.1 The Project Director has to join the project within one month of the award letter.  For this the scholar has to submit an agreement on the stamp paper, date of commencement, experts’ names for Advisory Committee and grant-in-aid bill towards the first instalment. This may, however, be extended up to a maximum period of six months in exceptional circumstances with the prior approval of the ICSSR.

6.2 The Sanctioned grant for research programme is released in four equal instalments.

6.3 The first instalment is released after completing necessary formalities of joining by the Project Director.

6.4 The second instalment is released after receiving a satisfactory Annual Progress Report, simple statement of account of first instalment along with signed minutes of the Advisory Committee.

6.5 The third instalment of 20% will be released after receiving the second Progress Report (18 months), simple statement of account of second instalment along with signed minutes of the Advisory Committee. The remaining  5% of third instalment will be released after receiving the Final Report (two hard copies and one soft copy in CD/or pen-drive) along with the executive summary (3000 to 4000 words/ten copies) and Research Papers (three) and the statement of account of the third instalment (20%).

6.6 The fourth and final instalment will be released on receipt of – (a) satisfactory book length final report in publishable form along-with 5000 words executive summary; (b) statement of accounts with utilization certificate in GFR-19A Form for the entire project amount duly signed by the Finance Officer/Registrar /Director of the affiliating Institution;

6.7 The overhead charges to the affiliating institution will be released only after verification of the documents by the ICSSR. 

6.8 The accounts and utilization certificate will be signed by the Finance Officer/Registrar/ Director in case the accounts of the Institution are audited by the CAG/AG.  Otherwise, they need to be signed both by the Finance Officer and a chartered accountant.



7.1 Research undertaken by a Project Director will be reviewed through the Advisory Committee constituted by the ICSSR and the project may be discontinued/terminated if research progress is found unsatisfactory or any ICSSR rules are violated.

7.2 During the course of the project, the scholars are required to publish at least three research papers in peer reviewed journal(s) on the theme of the research undertaken duly acknowledging ICSSR support for the research and publication. . It is also expected from the Project Director undertaking the Research Programme that they would finally come out with quality report which can be published as a book, subject to the assessment of Expert.  

7.3 All project related queries will be addressed to the Project Director/ Affiliating Institution for their timely reply.

7.4 The ICSSR may, at any time ask for verification of accounts and other relevant documents related to the Project. 

7.5 The Advisory Committee shall meet annually to monitor and sort out all the details pertaining to administrative, financial and ethical issues in the Research Programmes. 
7.6 Sitting fee payable to the Advisory Committee Members as decided by ICSSR apart from TA and normal accommodation and hospitality, will be borne out of the project funds under field work head. 
7.7 Mid Term Appraisal of Research Programme: The ICSSR shall hold an annual review of each research programme through a team of consultants/experts for the purpose. 



8.1 The duration of the project shall be maximum for two years for Research Programme.   The Final Report may be submitted within three months after completion of the duration of Project.  However, extension for submission of final report may be granted only in exceptional circumstances without any additional financial burden on the ICSSR.

8.2 The contingency grant may be utilized for stationery, computer typing related costs, specialised assistance such as data analysis, consultation for field trip etc. related to the research work.

8.3 Retired teachers and government/defence officers can also apply under the scheme but they are required to affiliate to ICSSR Research Institutes/institute of national importance/ UGC recognized Indian university/deemed university, of his/her choice with the prior approval of the ICSSR.

8.4 The scholar shall acknowledge support of ICSSR in all publications resulting from the project output and should submit a copy of the same to the ICSSR along with final report.

8.5 ICSSR follows Government of India Rules & Directives with regard to SC & ST categories. 

8.6 Defaulters of any previous fellowship/project/grant of the ICSSR will not be eligible for consideration until the applicant obtains the clearance from the concerned administration division. 

8.7 The Project Director will be allowed to take up only one research project/programme at one point of time. However, he/she may submit more than one proposal against the call.

8.8 There will be a gap of minimum two years between two ICSSR research programme. However, in exceptional cases, this condition may be exempted by the relevant Committee(s).

8.9 No scholar will be allowed to take up a research programme along with any ICSSR fellowship.

8.10 Foreign trip is not permissible within the Research Programme.  However, the Project Director may undertake data collection outside India in exceptional cases and if warranted by the needs of the proposal. For this he/she is required to apply separately for consideration under the Data Collection Scheme of the ICSSR International Collaboration Division.

8.11 No request for additional grant in excess of the sanctioned budget will be considered. 

8.12 The Project Director shall be personally responsible for timely completion of the Project.

8.13 The Project proposal/final report cannot be submitted for the award of any University degree/diploma or funding by any Institution by any member of the project staff, including the project director. The ICSSR however, will have no objection if any member of the project staff utilizes the project data for this purpose.

8.14 Purchase of equipment/ assets for the research Project is permissible only if it is originally proposed and approved by the ICSSR and does not exceed the permissible amount.

8.15 The project director shall report to the ICSSR in case he /she makes any changes in the research design. No major change can be made therein without the prior approval of the ICSSR.

8.16 Transfer of a Project/Appointment of substitute Project Director:

a) On the request from a university/institute, the ICSSR may permit the appointment of a substitute project director in exceptional circumstances.
b) The ICSSR may also appoint a substitute project director if it is convinced that the original awardee of the Project will not be in a position to carry out the study successfully.
c) The ICSSR may transfer the place of the Project from one affiliating institution to another subject to submission of the following:

  1. Satisfactory progress report (s);
  2. No objection certificate from both previous and the new university/institute;
  3. Audited statement of account and utilization certificate along with unspent balance, if any.

However, no transfer of programme/ Project director will be permitted in the last six months’ of the study.

d) Overhead charges will be apportioned proportionally among the institutes as per the grant released.

e) In case of superannuation of Project Director and if the rules of the institution so require the transfer of the project to a serving faculty member may be done with a prior approval of the ICSSR.  The credit of Project shall go to the submitting Project Director.

8.17 Application submitted against one Call will not be considered in the subsequent Calls.

8.18 The Council reserves the right to reject any application without assigning any reason. It is also not responsible for any postal delays/loss.

8.19 Incomplete applications in any respect will not be considered.

8.20 The scholar can apply for more than one scheme at a time. However, in case of selection in more than one schemes, he/she has to choose any one of them.

8.21 The final authority related to the interpretation of the guidelines or any issue left is vested with the ICSSR.

8.22 No queries will be entertained by the ICSSR Secretariat until the final declaration of results.



9.1 On completion of the study, the scholar should submit the following:

  1. A Book-length final Report in a publishable form along with an Executive Summary of the report (5000 words).Both documents should be submitted in hard format (two copies of final report and three copies of summary) and a soft copy (in pen drive).
  2. Copies of research papers/reports, etc. on the theme of research, published in reputed research journals during the period of study.

9.2 The scholar should acknowledge support of ICSSR that the project has been sponsored by the ICSSR, in all publications resulting from the project output (Research Paper, Books, Articles, Reports, etc.) and should submit a copy of the same to the ICSSR during its course and after completion.



10.1 The affiliating institution is required to give an undertaking in the prescribed format contained in the Application Form to administer and manage the ICSSR grant.

10.2 It is also required to provide the requisite research infrastructure to the scholar and maintain proper accounts.

10.3 The affiliating institution will be under obligation to ensure submission of the final report and an Audited Statement of Accounts and Utilization Certificate, (in the prescribed Proforma GFR 19-A) duly certified by the Competent authority of the institution.

10.4 The affiliating institution shall make suitable arrangements for preservation of data such as filled in schedules, tabulation sheets, manuscripts, reports, etc. relating to the study.

10.5 The ICSSR reserves the right to demand raw data, or such parts of the study as deems fit.

10.6 The overhead charges shall be paid only after the completion of the project and on receipt of the final audited Statement of Accounts.




Other than the mandatory information accompanying each application, candidates should submit their research proposal in two parts:

A) A brief summary of the research proposal (about 1500 words). 

B) A detailed research proposal (about 12000 words) ( applicable only for short-listed scholars)

An indicative outline for the detailed research proposal is given below: 

1.  Title: The research proposal should have a clear, meaningful and concise title reflecting the scope of the investigation.

2. Introduction and / or Statement of the Problem

The research proposal should begin by clearly stating the research problem to be investigated in the light of its theoretical and/or empirical context in the relevant area.

3. Aims and/or Objectives of the Study

The general aim of the study as well as well as its specific objectives should be clearly stated in the proposal. 

4. Conceptual Framework 

Given the problem and the theoretical perspective for investigation of the problem, the proposal should clearly bring out the concepts to be used and demonstrate their relevance for the study. Besides, the dimension of empirical reality that needs to be explored for investigating the problem should also be specified.

5. Research Question or Hypotheses

Given the conceptual framework and the specification of dimension, the specific questions to be answered through the proposed research should be sharply formulated. In the case of an explanatory research design, specification of variables and positing of relationship among them through specific hypotheses must form a part of the research proposal.

6. Review of Literature

The proposal should summarize the current status of research in the area and major findings, including the researcher’s own work in the area. Existing empirical findings may also be discussed. The overview should clearly demonstrate the relevance as well as inadequacy of existing findings or approaches and provide a rationale for the proposed study. 

7. Scope and Methodology

The researcher must describe in detail (a) the scope and coverage of her/his study; and (b) approach and methodology with adequate justification. Emphasis should be given to bringing out innovativeness in approaches proposed to be followed. The detailing of the methodology may include research design, data to be collected and empirical and analytical methods to be used. The description of the methodology must be clearly linked to the aims of the research and the research questions/hypotheses of the study.

8. Relevance, Anticipated Outcomes and Proposed Outputs from the Research

The proposal should include a statement on the relevance of the study and the anticipated outcomes. It should bring out the significance of the research problem, the contribution which the proposed study is expected to make to theory and to methodology as well as its practical importance to society and policy making. It should also describe the proposed outputs from the study (Books, research papers, occasional papers with themes etc.)

9. Tentative Chapterisation

Details chapterisation should be clearly spelt out in the research proposal

10. Time Frame

The research proposal should include a phased time frame for different components of the study

11. Estimated Budget

The budget for the study should be formulated within the guidelines and parameters as given at 5.3 & 5.4 above.It should be clearly linked to other elements of the proposal and must include a detailed justification of each item that is proposed.

12. Bibliography: Bibliography should be prepared in Chicago Manual Style.