Senior Fellowship

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1. Introduction

1.1 Senior Fellowships are awarded to outstanding Indian Social Scientists for conducting full time research on themes and issues of national and social concern. These studies are expected to contribute to theoretical and conceptual advancement in different disciplines, help in generating field work based empirical data and contribute towards policy making.

1.2 The broad disciplines of study, within the domain of social sciences are:

1. Economics/ Development Studies
2. Management
3. Commerce
4. Sociology
5. Social Work
6. Social Anthropology
7. Cultural Studies
8. Sanskrit Studies
9. Socio-Philosophical Studies
10. Social Linguistics
11. Gender Studies
12. Health Studies
13. Political Science
14. International Studies
15. Public Administration
16. Diaspora Studies
17. National Security and Strategic Studies
18. Education
19. Social Psychology
20. Legal Studies
21. Social Geography
22. Environmental Studies
23. Modern Social History
24. Media Studies
25. Library Science

Note: Support may also be provided to persons belonging to a discipline other than the ones mentioned above provided he/she is interested in and has in the opinion of the ICSSR the necessary competence to conduct research in social sciences or social aspects of other sciences. Projects that span across disciplinary boundaries also fall within the areas of the Council’s interests.

2 Eligibility

2.1 The scholar should not be less than 45 and more than 70 years of age as on the last date of application.

2.2 The scholar must possess Ph.D. Degree and have, in the opinion of the ICSSR, the necessary competence to conduct research in social sciences or social aspects of other disciplines in addition to having outstanding research publications at the time of application.

2.3 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 in any social science discipline and demonstrable research experience through publications of books/research papers/reports, can also apply.

2.4 A fellow must affiliate himself/herself to an ICSSR Research Institute/ Institutes of national importance, approved by MoE/government research institute/public funded university including deemed university of his/her choice. Funds are disbursed through the affiliating/administering institution.

2.5 Faculties with regular service in public funded universities/colleges and research institutes getting UGC pay-scales may be considered for pay protection in exceptionally meritorious cases, which is to be decided by the Expert Committees of the ICSSR. The Expert Committee of the ICSSR also reserves the right to convert a fellowship proposal into a Project Proposal.

3. How to Apply

3.1 Applications will be invited through open advertisement on ICSSR website and should be received before the deadline, mentioned in the advertisement.

3.2 The candidates shall submit online application which includes the Research Proposal Format, namely, ‘Section IV: Details of Research Proposal’ given in the application form. Proposal should be submitted in the given proforma only. 

N.B. At this stage, the candidates need not submit any document other than those referred in the application form.

All scholars are required to keep the hard copy of their application and annexures ready, duly forwarded by the competent authorities of the university/institution so that they may submit the required hard copies, on demand, within one week after the completion of screening process. It is being done for the sake of convenience of the applicants so that they get more time for preparing the hard copies.

In case, the hard copy of application is not received within 10 days of asking, the candidature of applicant shall be treated as withdrawn/cancelled.

3.3 The Research Proposal should be either in English or Hindi or Sanskrit (for proposals in Sanskrit Studies) (Use Unicode 8 (UTF-8) to fill the form in Hindi and Sanskrit)

3.4 One applicant can submit only one application under Senior Fellowship scheme. However, he/she can apply separately for another scheme.

4. Procedure for Award

4.1 Applications are scrutinized and short-listed by the Screening Committee.

4.2 Thereafter Subject Group(s)/Expert Committee(s) will short-list the meritorious proposals from the eligible applications.

4.3 The short-listed applicants are then invited for an interaction/presentation before an Expert Committee.

4.4 After interaction, the Expert Committee/s makes recommendation for the award by the ICSSR, which are placed before the requisite Committee(s) of ICSSR for their consent/approval.

4.5 The list of selected candidates is uploaded on the ICSSR website.

5. Duration and Value

5.1 Senior Fellowship is a full time research work.

5.2 The duration of the fellowship is strictly for two years.

5.3 The value of the fellowship for unemployed and superannuated scholars is Rs.45,000 per month and contingency grant is Rs.40,000/- per annum irrespective of the pensionary benefit.

5.4 Under Salary protection, a fellow is entitled to salary and allowances admissible as per rules and contingency grant of Rs.40,000/-p.a. However, special allowances like children education allowance, medical reimbursement, LTC, etc. are not admissible from the ICSSR. The parent institution may, however, pay/reimburse the same as per its rule.

5.5 The ICSSR shall also pay the leave salary and pension contribution or contribution towards CPF and gratuity for the period for which he/she holds the ICSSR’s fellowship as per rules of the parent institution.

6. Joining & Release of Fellowship

6.1 The scholar has to join the fellowship within one month from the date of the award letter by submitting all the required documents through the affiliating/ administering institution. This may be extended by the ICSSR up to few months in exceptional circumstances with the approval of ICSSR

6.2 The fellowship will be sanctioned initially for a period of one year, effective from the date of joining of the Fellowship by the scholar. The renewal of the Fellowship for the subsequent year shall be subject to the receipt of satisfactory Annual Progress Report and Statement of Account for the entire fellowship released for first year.

6.3 The first year fellowship and contingency will be released in two equal instalments. The first instalment will be released after receiving the Grant-in-Aid-Bill (GIB) and the second after receiving a satisfactory Six Monthly Progress report in the prescribed format along with the Statement of Account.

6.4 The second year fellowship will be released in three instalments. The first instalment of six month fellowship along with the contingency will be released on receiving a satisfactory Annual Progress Report along with a copy of one published research paper and Statement of Account. The second instalment of 03 months fellowship along with contingency will be released on receipt of a satisfactory Progress Report of next six months in the prescribed format with a copy of published research paper (if not submitted with earlier progress report) along with Statement of Account. The final instalment of remaining fellowship along with contingency will be released after receiving the final report (including revised report based on the Expert comments and finally, the expert’s recommendation for accepting the report) along with second research papers and Statement of Accounts with Utilization Certificate in GFR-12A Form of the entire sanctioned amount of fellowship duly signed by the competent authority of the affiliating institution. However, in case of non-public funded institutions, the final instalment of fellowship will be released on receipt of the audited statement of accounts with utilization certificate in GFR-12A Form and verification of the documents by the ICSSR.

6.5 The 7.5% overhead charges to the public funded affiliating institution will be released only after the submission of the Audited Statement of Accounts with Utilization Certificate in GFR-12A Form and verification of the documents by the ICSSR.

6.6 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 competent authority of the affiliating institution along with a chartered accountant.

6.7 In case of salary protection fellowship, the leave salary and pension contribution or contribution towards CPF and gratuity, will be released only after the completion of fellowship in all respects and on receipt of due & drawn statement from the parent organization and verification by the ICSSR. In case the employee comes under the New Pension Scheme (NPS), the employer’s contribution will be released along with the salary.

7. Monitoring of Fellowship

7.1 Regular monitoring of Fellowship is done on the basis of Six Monthly and Annual Progress Reports in the prescribed format submitted by the scholar. In cases of delayed Progress Reports by over six-months, the scholar will be required to give the justification of the delay on which the final decision shall be taken by the ICSSR. The scholar may be asked to furnish an Undertaking specifying the date of final report submission to the ICSSR.

7.2 The fellowship may be discontinued if research undertaken by the fellow is found unsatisfactory or any ICSSR rules are violated.

7.3 The ICSSR may ask for annual presentation/mid-term appraisal of the research work.

7.4 During the course of the fellowship, the scholars are required to publish at least three research papers preferably in Scopus Indexed or UGC Care listed research journals on the theme of the research undertaken.

7.5 Acknowledgement -- The scholars should acknowledge ICSSR while getting their research paper published. The acknowledgement can ideally be in the following format:

“The scholar (name of the scholar) is the awardee of ICSSR Senior Fellowship. This book/paper is largely an outcome of the Senior Fellowship sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). However, the responsibility for the facts stated, opinions expressed, and the conclusions drawn is entirely, of the author”.  

If there is a different policy at the end of the publisher, pre-publication acknowledgement may be sent to ICSSR for approval.  

8. Completion of Fellowship

8.1 If a fellow leaves the fellowship within one year, he/she has to submit a detailed progress report of the work done with one publication, duly forwarded by the affiliating institution ensuring the final settlement of account by the affiliating institution up to the period of the fellowship. However, if a fellow leaves the fellowship after one year, he/she is compulsorily required to submit a detailed progress report along with an undertaking to complete the study and submit the final report on completion of the duration of fellowship along with two published research papers, duly forwarded by the affiliating institution within the duration of fellowship of two years without claiming fellowship of the remaining period. If a candidate leaves the fellowship without completion, he/she will have to apply to ICSSR for permission and the ICSSR will take the final decision in this regard.

8.2 If, as a special case, a scholar remains on leave due to maternity/medical/extra ordinary circumstances (not to exceed six months) duly approved by the ICSSR, the tenure of fellowship will be extended by that period but the total amount of fellowship will not exceed 24 months.

8.3 On completion of the fellowship, the scholar should submit the following:

a. A book-length final report in a publishable form along-with an Executive Summary of the report (up to 5000 words) and published research papers.

b. These documents should be submitted in hard copy (two copies of final report and five copies each of the Executive Summary and research papers) and a soft copy of these documents in a pen-drive.

c. A certificate of settlement of assets and books purchased out of the contingency grant issued by the affiliating Institution.

8.4 Plagiarism -- ICSSR gets every report checked for plagiarism and the similarity report is also generated. As a policy we do not accept contents beyond 15 per cent on similarity index. Scholars are required to get their final report checked on their own for similarity index and attach a report of the same at the time of submission. Scholars may enquire from ICSSR about the software being used by it at any point of time to have greater efficiency.

8.5 A maximum of three months period can be granted for submission of the final report after completion of the fellowship term.

9. Expectations of the Affiliating Institution

9.1 The affiliating institution is required to provide the requisite research infrastructure to the scholar and maintain proper accounts. For this, the Council shall pay to the public funded institution, overhead charges of seven and a half percent (7.5%) of the total Fellowship (fellowship amount plus contingency).

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

9.3 The affiliating institution shall maintain a dedicated bank account for ICSSR grant (Scheme Code-0877) that is duly registered at PFMS portal for release of the Doctoral Fellowship Grant.

9.4 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 Performa GFR 12-A) duly certified by the Competent authority of the institution.

9.5 In case a scholar leaves /discontinues his fellowship/dies before completion of fellowship tenure, the affiliating institution shall immediately inform ICSSR, settle the accounts including the refund of any unspent balance within three months of submission.

9.6 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.

9.7 The ICSSR reserves the right to demand raw data, or such part of it as may be specified, to be transferred to the ICSSR.

9.8 The overhead charges shall be paid only after the completion of the fellowship and on receipt of the final audited Statement of Accounts and Utilization Certificate.

10. Conditions

10.1 The applicants under salary protection should have been in regular service for two years in an academic institution. The institution shall certify that it will maintain their lien on the post during the period of fellowship and allow them to return after the fellowship period.

10.2 The duration of senior fellowship shall be strictly for two years. In no case, the fellowship beyond two years will be considered. However, extension for submission of final report may be granted in exceptional circumstances without any additional financial commitment by ICSSR.

10.3 The contingency grant may be utilized for research and office assistance, books, stationery, computer related costs, research assistance and the field work expenses related with the research work.

10.4 The Copyright © of the manuscript will rest with the ICSSR. The ICSSR reserves all rights to publish the fellowship report funded by it, provided the work is recommended for publication by Expert/Experts. The scholars can get it published themselves only after seeking permission from ICSSR.

10.5 The scholar shall acknowledge ICSSR’s support in all publications resulting from the research output of the fellowship and should submit a copy of the same to the ICSSR.

10.6 All fellowships are subject to income tax deductions as per the Government of India rules at the level of the affiliating/ administering institution.

10.7 ICSSR follows Government of India Rules & Directives with regard to SC & ST and persons with benchmark disability.

10.8 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 administrative division.

10.9 A fellow is not entitled for the same fellowship or pay protection more than once.

10.10 The research proposal/final report of the fellowship cannot be submitted for the award of any University degree/diploma or funding by any institution. The ICSSR however, will have no objection if the scholar utilizes the research data for this purpose.

10.11 The fellowship may be transferred from one affiliating institution to another on the request of the scholar under special circumstance with ICSSR approval, subject to submission of the following documents:
(1) Satisfactory progress report;

(2) No objection certificate from both previous and the proposed university/institute;

(3) Audited statement of account and utilization certificate along with unspent balance, if any.

10.12 A gap of minimum 03 years is required from submission of Final Report of Post-Doctoral Fellowship and application of Senior Fellowship and submission of the Project Report (Major/Research Programme/Sponsored Project).

10.13 While accepting senior fellowship from the ICSSR, a fellow should not accept any other fellowship or research project or regular financial benefit/assignment from any other institution.

10.14 During the tenure of fellowship, the fellow will be governed by the rules of the affiliating/administering institution in all matters including drawls of TA/DA, holidays/leave and contingency grant, etc.

10.15 The selected fellows are expected to do full time research in India. They could, however, undertake data collection outside India in exceptional cases and if warranted by the needs of the proposal. For this they are required to apply separately for consideration under the Data Collection Scheme of the International Collaboration Division.

10.16 ICSSR makes positive efforts to encourage less represented sections such as women, people belonging to Educationally Backward Areas/Districts, minorities, etc.

10.17 The scholar should not have been subjected to any disciplinary/legal action/proceedings/financial penalties in his/her career/ research career.

10.18 The final report submitted by the scholar will be considered satisfactory, only after its evaluation by the ICSSR.

10.19 Books/periodicals/equipments purchased by the scholar, out of the contingency grant should be deposited with the affiliating/administering institution and a certificate to this effect may be submitted along with the final report.

10.20 Application submitted against one Call will not be considered for the subsequent Calls.

10.21 The Council reserves the right to reject any application. It is also not responsible for any postal loss/delays in communication.

10.22 Incomplete applications in any respect shall not be considered for fellowship.

10.23 Research proposal/final report submitted for fellowship should not be under consideration for funding/ award of the degree by any University/ Institution.

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

10.25 Those who have completed their duration of fellowship and if continue to write it with their name, they should prefix ‘Former’ and suffix ‘the duration’ with the name of the fellowship e.g. Former National/Senior/Post-Doctoral Fellow ICSSR (2016-18).  

Research Proposal Format

The complete format for research proposal consisting of the following contents/sections is a part of the Application Form, namely, Section IV: Details of Research Proposal. No research proposal or a section thereof needs to be submitted separately.

In all, the research proposal shall be in about 3,000 words comprising of the following sections:

i. Title of the Research Proposal:The research proposal should have a clear, meaningful and confirmed topic reflecting the scope of the study.

ii. Abstractof the proposed research proposal should be given (in about 200 words).

iii. Introduction: The introduction should clearly state the research problem to be investigated in the light of its theoretical and/or empirical context in the relevant area (in about 400 words).

iv. Major Research Works Reviewed: (National and International): Reviews of at least 15 to 20 significant national and international research works related to the proposed theme of research is to be given in this column (in about 300 words).

v. Identification of Research Gaps:  The scholar 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 inadequacies/ gaps in the existing findings or approaches and its relevance (in about 300 words).  

vi. Objectives of the Study: The general aim of the study along with the specific objectives to be accomplished, should be clearly stated (in about 100-150 words).

vii. Research Questions 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 case of an explanatory research design, specification of variables and positing of relationship among them through specific hypotheses must be given (in about 150-200 words).

viii. Framework and methods proposed for research: The researcher must describe in detail (a) the scope and coverage of his/her study; and (b) approach and methodology with adequate justification to conduct the research. The details 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 (in about 300 words).

ix. Innovation/path breaking aspect of the research: Here, the emphasis should be laid to spell out the innovativeness in approach and novel concepts that have been envisaged in the study (in about 200 words).  

x. Proposed outcomes of the Study:  A brief note on the proposed plan of publications, during the course of research and after its completion, must be provided, The section should enlist the proposed outputs from the study in terms of publications in the form of research papers / articles in journals, particularly Scopus/ UGC’s Care-listed journals, books, monographs, etc. (in about 150-200 words).

xi. New data to be generated: A note on deficiencies/inadequacies found in the existing data and description of the new data to be generated for the proposed research (in about 100-150 words).

xii. Relevance of the proposed study for policy-making: A concise brief needs to be given on the significant contributions the research work expected to make to the theory and methodology on the subject as well as on policy making (in about 150 words).

xiii. Relevance of the proposed study for society: A concise brief needs to be given on the significant contributions the research work expected to make to the society (in about 200 words)

xiv. Milestone set for the study for Quarterly Timelines: A quarterly timeline during the fellowship is to be given for timely completion of the fellowship research work. Timelines must be set for each successive quarter and its completion to be followed for timely submission of the final report (in about 100 words).