EqUIP Call for Collaborative Research on Sustainability, Equity, Wellbeing and Cultural Connections

The EU-India Platform for Social Sciences and Humanities (EqUIP) is pleased to announce its first research funding call.

The call aims to bring together a number of social science and humanities funders in India and Europe to support excellent and innovative research on sustainability, equity, well-being and cultural connections. The emphasis of the research will be on Indian and European dimensions, in both contemporary and historical contexts.

With a total funding of €5.5 million, it is expected that six projects will be funded. Researchers from India, Finland, France, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are invited to apply.

In order to assist potential applicants to network with researchers in other eligible countries, we have developed the opportunity for digital networking. Applicants are invited to use the EqUIP partner search tool, which facilitates matches between potential partners with similar ideas. It provides the opportunity to express interest either in joining a research proposal or to search for partner(s) for an existing proposal. All potential applications are encouraged to use the platform.

The call was developed following six symposia held in 2015 and 2016 that brought together researchers from India and a number of EU countries. These symposia helped to define common interests and research priorities to address societal challenges facing India and respective European countries as well as paving the way to address these challenges in a collaborative way.

Research proposals should focus on societal challenges facing both India and the respective European countries, with suggested themes including, but not limited to, sustainability, equity, wellbeing and cultural connections. Funders strongly encourage interdisciplinary approaches across the social sciences and humanities (SSH) to address the themes of this call. Other disciplines can also be involved in proposals as long as overarching focus remains rooted in SSH.

Each proposal under this call will require the building of consortia of three or more research groups based in three or more different countries participating in the call and be eligible for the funding from their national funding agencies. Every proposal must involve representation from India eligible for funding by the participating Indian funding agencies.

Who is eligible to apply?

The call is open to applications from eligible research teams irrespective of individual nationalities, eligible for funding from funders of this call. Depending on the national eligibility rules, eligible applicants may come from other organisations.

Applicants may only appear on ONE application only (whether as an overall project principal investigator/project coordinator, principal investigator for a national research team, or research team member). Every must involve at least one research team from India, eligible for funding by the participating Indian funding agencies, one of which has to be ICSSR, and at least two eligible research teams from different participating European countries.

Please note that some funding agencies only allow applicants from eligible Research Organisations. For example, on Indian side only applicants employed in a research or academic position in a recognised research or academic institution can apply. See further details in Annex 1.

It is the responsibility of potential applicants to ensure that they are eligible for funding from the relevant country funding organisation before submitting their proposals. All applicants and their institutions must fulfil national eligibility rules as set by the respective  national funding agencies (see Annex 1). Any queries regarding eligibility funding rules should be directed to the relevant national agency.

Applicants must note that the national agencies retain the right to reject applications where they fail to comply with the eligibility procedures set out in their guidelines. If an application is ineligible with one national agency the whole proposal will be rejected by all  the agencies concerned.

Some funders permit the inclusion of co-investigators (as individuals and/or teams) from other countries - international co-investigators. Please refer to your country specific guidance for further information.

Proposals are welcomed from any discipline or combination of disciplines from social sciences and humanities relevant to the themes of the call, subject to the remit requirements of the relevant funding organisations. Funders strongly encourage interdisciplinary approaches that cross the social sciences and humanities. We are also open for other disciplines to be included in proposals (subject to remit of funding agencies of respective countries), as long as the major focus remains within the remits of SSH.

Project structure

Applicants must apply as an EU-India research project. Each project is an equitable partnership among a number of national researchers based in any of the EqUIP countries participating in the call as listed above and who are eligible for funding from the participating funding agencies. We will accept proposals that demonstrate a balanced consortium where expertise from each participating country adds value and is well represented.

Specific requirements to all proposals are:

  • Each project must involve at least one research team from India, eligible for funding by the participating Indian funding agencies, one of which has to be ICSSR, and at least two research teams from different participating European countries.
  • One of the researchers should be designated as the project’s overall principal investigator and project co-ordinator.
  • For each national funding agency one of the researchers should be designated as principal investigator for each national team involved and will act as the country contact.
  • There is no upper limit on the number of researchers or countries involved, although proposals will need to demonstrate how they will provide leadership and project management to a diverse group of collaborators.
  • Researchers from countries other than EqUIP call-participating countries may participate in the project, where considered beneficial to the research. However no funding can be applied for them under the EqUIP call (unless otherwise stated within the individual funding organisation’s eligibility criteria). A formal letter guaranteeing that these teams can cover their own funding for participating in the research project must be included as an attachment with the proposal.
  • Project partners from non-academic institutions will be considered, according to national funding agencies eligibility criteria (see Annex 1). Project partners are stakeholders, for example in the public sector, policy makers, non-governmental sector, business etc, who may provide significant added value to the project from a user’s perspective. They can be included in the proposal in a collaborative and advisory capacity, with no associated costs, to help facilitate knowledge exchange and explore impact potential of the proposed research.


The total amount of funding available for this call is approximately €5.5 million Euro. It is expected that around six proposals will be funded, subject to quality and funds available.

The call is being implemented through a coordinated funding scheme where each funding organisation funds its own national eligible research teams within an international collaborative research project. The available country contributions and the upper limits to the budgets that can be requested are listed in Annex 1.

Funding will be awarded according to the terms and conditions of the relevant funding organisations. As such, the actual project costs that can be funded through this call will vary for researchers from different nations. Applicants should therefore thoroughly check all national regulations and rules of the funding organisation from which they are requesting funding. The complete list of EqUIP call partner funding organisations and their funding eligibility criteria can be found in Annex 1 and on the EqUIP call webpage.

Applicants will be asked to outline the resources using the template at Annex 2 and clearly state:

  • funding requested from each partner funding organisation
  • funding made available as additional resource from external or institutional funds and indicating the source of these (if applicable).

Please note that some funders will require their organisations’ financial tables to be submitted in addition to a joint project funding request. All applicants must follow their national funding agencies’ requirements at Annex 1.

Value for money will be an evaluation criterion.

Applicants should only request resources which are required to successfully deliver the proposed research project.

Please note that some partners require institutional commitments of cash and/or in-kind resources, whether from European or Indian research organisations. This should be clearly set out in letters of support submitted as proposal attachments (one letter of support per research organisation).

It is the responsibility of an applicant to check if it is a requirement of their national funding agency to submit such letters of support.

Applicants should request funding from the appropriate funding organisation based on their institutional country affiliation and the remit of the funding organisation (see Annex 1 for funding organisations’ eligible costs). Staff time committed to the project should reflect a balance of effort across the consortium of national teams. The funders also expect costs to accurately reflect the research effort to be carried out, and that the projects demonstrate a true joint partnership. Funders will fund reasonable travel and staff exchange costs in support of the collaborations.

How to apply

The ESRC will provide call secretariat functions for this call. This is a one-stage call. Full proposals must be made to the ESRC via the research councils’ Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system.

Commissioning timetable

  • Call for proposals opens  – 6 September 2017
  • Call closes – 16:00 (UK time) on Thursday 30 November 2017
  • Applicants informed of the outcome of the call – Late July/August 2018
  • Awards commence – January 2019
Application date
Social sciences