Research Projects

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Research Projects

Promotion of Research in Social Sciences is one of the major activities of ICSSR. Research grants is direct financial support to research projects taken up by social scientists in addition to their normal duties in an honorary capacity. ICSSR provides grants to scholars to conduct research in various fields of social sciences which have a theoretical, conceptual, and methodological or policy orientation on the subject of their choice. The research projects may belong to any of the prescribed social science disciplines or may be interdisciplinary in nature. The specific objectives of the programme are: a) to support high quality independent programme of research; b) to provide opportunities for training of future researchers; c) to contribute to the development of elaboration of new theoretical or methodological approaches to research; d) to maintain and sustain varies disciplinary research activities; e) to foster and promote collaborative, multidisciplinary research activities among researchers in the social sciences; and f) to facilitate communication of research outputs both within and beyond the academic community as well as to provide inputs to administrators and policy makes.

Two categories of Research projects: First, Major and Minor Research Projects and secondly Research Programmes, formerly known as Research Projects Responsive and Research Projects Sponsored respectively. As per the guidelines proposals are invited, scrutinized, processed and awarded every year.

General Guidelines for Research Projects and Programmes


1.1    Promotion of social science research is one of the major objectives of the ICSSR.  Research grant is a direct financial support to research projects undertaken by the Indian social scientists.  ICSSR provides funding to Indian scholars to conduct cutting edge research in various fields of social sciences that have theoretical, conceptual, methodological and policy implications.  The Research Projects may belong to any of the social science disciplines or may be multi-disciplinary in nature.  The broad disciplines of study, within the domain of social sciences, are:

(i)      Sociology and Social Anthropology;

(ii)     Political Science / Public Administration;

(iii)     Economics;

(iv)    International Studies;

(v)     Social Geography and Population Studies;

(vi)    Commerce and Management;

(vii)   Social Psychology;

(viii)   Education;

(ix)    Social Linguistics / Socio-Cultural Studies

(x)     Law / International Law

(xi)    National Security & Strategic Studies;

(xii)   Other allied Social Science disciplines (Library Science, Social Work, Media Studies, Modern Social History, Health Studies, Gender Studies and Environmental Studies, Diaspora Studies,          Area Studies, Sanskrit-Society & Culture, etc.) to promote interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research.

1.2 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.

   1.3 Categories of Research Projects: The ICSSR awards two categories of research projects on the basis of the  scope, duration of the study and budget:

(a)     Research Programme- Duration from 12 to 24 months with a budget from Rs 15 lakh to 50 lakh

 (b)    Major & Minor Project – Duration upto 24 months for Major with a budget from Rs.5 lakh to 15 lakh and 6-12 months for Minor with a budget upto Rs.5 lakh.


2.1 All Government funded institutions including universities (central and state), private institutions with UGC 12(b) status, ICSSR Research Institutes and Research Organisations specialising in some area are eligible to apply. In case of selection of such Research Organisations, they are required to be affiliated to ICSSR Regional Centres/ICSSR Research Institutes.

2.2 The Project Director should be a regular employee, possessing Ph.D. degree and have an interest in high quality research which may be evident by past studies, publications and academic background. In case the project has Co- Director(s), they should have proven research record.

2.3 Retired faculties with proven research record can also apply under the scheme but they would be required to get themselves affiliated to any of the research institutions mentioned in clause 2.1.

2.4 Individual scholars can apply maximum of two projects at a time. However, in case both projects are selected, the applicant can choose only one project. Institutes having good research infrastructure and resources may affiliate a number of Project Directors.

2.5 Senior government and defence officers (not less than 25 years of regular service) and persons with proven Social Science expertise possessing a Ph. D. degree or equivalent research work in any social science disciplines and demonstrable research experience through publications of books/research papers/reports can also apply.


3.1 Applications will be invited through an advertisement on ICSSR website. 

3.2 After completion of application in MS Word file, email the file to  

3.3 A hard copy of the same, along with all enclosures, must be sent to: Incharge, RP Division, Indian Council of Social Science Research, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067 before the last date of such submission duly signed and stamped by the affiliating institution. 

3.4 The Applicants are required to submit an Abstract & a detailed Research Proposal in the given format including details of the Project Director and Co-Director(s) and the budget.

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



4.1 Applications would be initially scrutinised by the ICSSR secretariat for their completeness.

4.2 All the eligible applications will then be sent for blind peer review. In case there are any suggestions for improvement, the same would be sent to the scholar(s) before presentation.

4.3 All the short-listed Project Directors would then be invited for a Power Point Presentation before the Expert Committee at the ICSSR or presentation through Skype.

4.4 The recommendations of the Expert Committee would then be placed before the Research Committee for its final decision.



5.1 Research Projects shall have six months to two year’s duration, depending upon the requirement of the work.

5.2 Research Programme of large inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional studies involving a number of scholars, could also be proposed with a budget from Rs 15 lakh to 50 lakh. The budget for Minor Projects would be upto Rs. 5 lakh. For Major Projects, it could be Rs. 5 lakh-15 lakh. However, the Committee’s decision regarding budget will be final.

5.3 The amount will be disbursed in number of instalments, depending on the phases and duration of the study, as indicated in the Sanction Letter.

5.4 The Institute/group of scholars will frame the budget subject to the following broad  expenditure sub-heads:


Heads of Expenditure



Project Director/Co-Project Director



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 Other Items: 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)

Affiliating Institutional overheads @ 7.5% of the approved budget in the case of Major Research Project, 5% in the case of Minor Research Project and 5% or Rs. 1 lakh whichever is less in the case of Research Programme shall be applicable

* 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.

5.5  Remuneration and Emoluments of Project Staff

  1. Project staff could be engaged by the Project Director 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.25, 000/- p.m.
    (Qualification – Post graduate in any social science discipline with minimum 55% marks and NET/SLET /M.Phil/Ph.D)
  3. Research Assistant @Rs.20, 000/- p.m.
    (Qualification-Ph.D./M.Phil./ Post graduate in social science discipline with minimum 55% marks
  4. Field Investigator @ Rs.15, 000/-p.m. (not exceeding 6 months) (Qualification- Post graduate in any social science discipline with minimum 55% marks).
  5. Retrospective payment for work already done is not permissible.

5.6 Re-appropriation: The Project Investigator may with the permission of the Institution, re-appropriate expenditure from one sub-head to another, subject to a maximum of 10 % of the particular budget heads. If the study necessitates re-appropriation beyond10%, it may be done only after the approval of the ICSSR

5.7 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)/Dean of relevant faculty duly approved by the competent authority.

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

5.9 All equipment and books purchased out of the project fund shall be the property of the affiliating institutions. On completion of the study, the Project Director shall submit an undertaking that all books purchased/assets purchased out of project fund is deposited/donated to the affiliating institution. The ICSSR, however, reserves the right to take charge of equipment and books, if it thinks it fits in a case.

5.10 All project instalments will be transferred through Public Finance Management System (PFMS) and ICSSR shall implement the EAT module for ensuring transparency of expenditure at all levels and to ensure that there is no parking of funds.

5.11 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.

5.12     The Project Director 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 issue of the award letter.  For this, the Project Director has to submit an agreement on the stamp paper, date of commencement, and grant-in-aid bill towards the first instalment. This may, however, be extended up to a maximum period of 2 to 3 months in exceptional circumstances with the prior approval of the ICSSR.

6.2 The grant for research project will be released in instalments as indicated in the Sanction Letter.

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

6.4 The accounts and utilization certificate will be signed by the Finance Officer/Registrar/ Director and chartered accountant duly signed and stamped.



7.1 ICSSR may constitute an Advisory Committee, if needed, to monitor the progress of the project.

7.2 The Project Director/team may organise seminars/workshops related to the project during the course of the study. However, it is applicable only for Research Programme and Major Project(s). In case any additional allocation is required for the seminar/conference, he/she is required to submit a separate application to the ICSSR.

7.3 During the course of the project, the Project Director  is required to publish research paper(s) (minimum one/two/three as the case may be) in peer reviewed journal(s) on the theme of the research undertaken duly acknowledging the ICSSR support for the research. 

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

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

7.6 Wherever the Advisory Committee is constituted, the sitting fee payable to the Members would be decided by ICSSR apart from TA and normal accommodation and hospitality that would be borne out of the project funds under field work head. 

7.7 Mid Term Appraisal of Research Project: The ICSSR may hold mid-term review of research project through a team of consultants/experts for the purpose. 



8.1 On completion of the study, the Project Director should submit the following:

Research Programme

(A)       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 five copies of summary) and soft copy of the same (in pen drive).

(B)       Copies of research papers (3)/reports, etc. on the theme of research, published in reputed research journals during the period of study.

Major& Minor Research Project

(A)       For Major Project, a Book-length final Report in a publishable form along with an Executive Summary      of the report (3000-4000 words). For Minor Project, a Final Report (about 100 page) along with a brief summary.

(B)       Both documents should be submitted in hard format (two copies of final report and five copies of summary) and soft copy of the same (in pen drive).

(C)       Copies of research papers (2 for Major and 1 for Minor) on the theme of research, published in reputed research journals during the period of study.

8.2 The Project Director 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.



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

9.2 Same research proposal should not be submitted to any other funding agency.

9.3  All project awardees are required to request their affiliating institute to open a dedicated account for the purpose of transfer of grant under Projects and provide the name and address of the bank, account number, IFSC code etc to the ICSSR.

9.4 There shall be constant monitoring of the sanctioned proposals. This will be done by creating a webpage for each project where online submission of regular progress report and comments would be added, failing which the project director would be ineligible to receive subsequent instalments.

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

9.6 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.

9.7 The Project Director 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.

9.8 ICSSR follows Government of India Rules & Directions with regard to SC, ST, PwD categories etc. 

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

9.10 No scholar will be allowed to take up a research project along with any ongoing ICSSR or any government funded research project.

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

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

9.13 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 while acknowledging the support of ICSSR.

9.14 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 limit.

9.15 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.

9.16 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 or in any other extra-ordinary condition.

c) The ICSSR may transfer the location 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 affiliating 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 shared proportionately (duration based) among the institutes as per the grant released in case of transfer of location.

e) In case the Project Director retires from service during the course of the study, he/she may be allowed to complete the study from the parent institution.

9.17 Both PD and Co-PD positions are honorary in nature.

9.18 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.

9.19 There will be a gap of minimum two years between two ICSSR research programmes/major research projects. (Applicable only to main Project Director). However, this condition may be exempted by the ICSSR in exceptional cases.

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

9.21 Foreign trip is not permissible within the Research Programme/Major Project(s).  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.

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

9.23 The ICSSR reserves the right to reject any application without assigning any reason.

9.24 Incomplete applications in any respect will not be considered. The ICSSR is also not responsible for any postal delays/loss.

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

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



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 Project Director 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 12-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 and equipment’s purchased out of the project budget.

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.

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