Intensification of Research in High Priority Area (IRHPA): Science and Engineering Research Board, Established through an Act of Parliament: SERB Act 2008, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the main objective of the AB program?A1: The main objective of the AB program isto promote the application of basic sciences towards the investigation of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures and products with the materials and methods of Molecular Biology, Immunology and Biological Chemistry.
Q2. How is the Project Proposal submitted under AB program different from those supported by the ministry of Ayush?A2: AB program confines itself to the subjects indicated in Question 1. It excludes herbal drug development, clinical research including clinical trials for safety and efficacy of drugs and medical procedures.
Q3: Does the Board have priority areas for funding under AB Program?A3: The current areas of interest are the following:
• Rasāyana and degenerative diseases especially of the central nervous and musculo skeletal systems.
• Prakriti and human genomics.
• Role of pathya and nutritional sciences in health and disease.
• Physiological, immunological and biochemical correlates of traditional Ayurvedic procedures such as Panchakarma.
The above list is not rigid. Study of basic concepts and mechanistic basis of therapeutic effects in Ayurveda employing novel approaches would be considered.
Q4: What is the budget limit for the AB projects supported by the SERB?A4: There is no budget limit. However, budget is decided based on the requirement for its successful implementation. The investigator should propose a budget which is realistic based on proposed objectives and supporting experiments.
Q5: What is the normal duration of a project?A5: The normal duration of a AB project supported is three years. However, depending on the quantum of work, the duration is subject to vary.
Q6: Currently I am executing an EMR project under Life sciences. Whether I am eligible to apply for a project under Ayurvedic biology program? A6: Yes.
Q7: I wish to apply for a project on plant based research. Will it will be considered under AB program?A7: Projects that deal with ethnopharmacology will not be considered.
Q8: I am a basic biologist and I wish to apply a project under AB. Is it mandatory that I should have co-Investigator with Ayurvedic knowledge? A8: Yes.
Q9: Are co-investigators allowed in AB project? If they are from different institutions, can the budget be provided separately to both the principal investigator and co-Investigator (s)?A9: Yes. Co-Investigator(s) are allowed in AB projects. Separate budget can also be provided to the co-investigator (s) even if they belong to different institutions.
However, the co-Investigator (s) role and the budget should be appropriately justified. PI should clearly indicate Co-Investigators in his institution, who should be qualified, ready and willing to take over the project in case the PI leaves the institute.
Q10: How does the SERB monitor the progress of funded projects?A10: Apart from submitting annual progress report and account statements, the investigators may also be called for presentation before the Task force. In certain cases, on site visit also made to assess the progress of work.
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Ayurvedic Biology Program


Ayurveda signifies knowledge of what promotes life as well as that which injures it. Bydefinition, it transcends the practice of medicine, but popularly it is identified with India’straditional system of medicine which has been in vogue since the Buddhist period andcontinues to serve 70% of India’s rural population. Research in Ayurveda has beendominated by studies on medicinal plants and the development of herbal drugs, whichhas a large market growing at 15% per year. However, basic research which employsmodern biology, immunology, and chemistry to investigate the concepts, procedures,and products has received little attention. This gap calls out for correction lest theabsence of basic studies according to modern scientific protocols should lead toAyurveda being regarded as a form of “herbal therapy” as was done by the WaltonCommittee in the UK. Concepts of body constitution, digestive process of food in the gutand substrates in tissues, rejuvenation, body adaptation to seasons and taste as a chemical indicator are examples of the richcollection of cues that Ayurveda provides for the modern investigator. The programmeon Ayurvedic Biology (AB) was initiated primarily by the office of the Principal ScientificAdvisor to the Government of India, but now reconceived and implemented by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). Againstthis background, the SERB constituted a Task Forceto promote the application of basic sciences in the investigation of Ayurvedicconcepts, procedures and products, and nurture the discipline of Ayurvedic Biologyby supporting research projects, capacity building and institutional growth.

Specific Objectives:

  • Development of a basic understanding of the concepts, procedures and products of Ayurveda in terms of modern sciences such as Molecular biology, Immunology and Chemistry.
  • To PromoteHuman resource development in Ayurveda Biology and related areas by offering fellowships, training opportunities, providing support to scientific meetings and workshops.
  • To provide support to institutions pursuing research in AB for strengthening laboratory facilities.
  • To promote collaborative research with national institutions who are active in pursuing research activities on traditional medicine and have shared interest in Ayurvedic biology.

Thrust Areas of Research:

  • Rasāyana and degenerative diseases especially of the central nervous and musculo skeletal systems.
  • Prakriti and human genomics.
  • Role of pathya and nutritional sciences in health and disease.
  • Physiological, immunological and biochemical correlates of traditional Ayurvedic procedures such as Panchakarma.
  • Physiological basis of rasa.

Operation of the Program:

The programme of Ayurvedic Biology is steered by a Task Force to promote high quality research which could lead to major contributions to scientific knowledge and which could have implications for improving the standards of health care. The investigative work in this programme necessarily involves the full participation of scientists and Ayurvedic experts who would be part of established institutions of science, medicine, and Ayurveda in India. Individual or groups of scientists, physicians and Ayurvedic experts are encouraged to submit project proposals on any interesting aspect of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures, or products, which would lend themselves to investigation by employing modern scientific protocols. All project proposals need to conform to the standard SERB format for Ayurvedic Biology and are considered on the basis of peer review.

Task Force:

The Task Force will be responsible for:

  • Setting priorities, identifying research areas and developing proposals through meetings, brainstorming session etc.,
  • Ensuring smooth implementation of the projects, monitoring of progress and mid-term correction and evaluation of the project completion report.
  • Suggesting any other means and modalities to fulfil the objectives of the Ayurvedic Biology programme.
  • Ensuring the proposals' duration, cost, items of expenditure etc. are specific to the requirements of the proposed research work; and
  • Preparing detailed action plan for advancing the development of Ayurvedic Biology.

Specific Guidelines for Submission of Project Proposals:

  • Proposals could be submitted any time, but would be considered by the Task Force only twice a year.
  • Project proposals should be written with the same rigor as for any research proposal in any branch of modern science but the cues for the proposed study should emanate fromthe concept, procedures or products of Ayurveda through Modern biology, immunology, and chemistry.
  • Task Force will not consider project proposals relating to the development, standardization etc., of herbal drugs or reverse pharmacology; ethnopharmacology; or clinical trials of herbal products or Ayurvedic procedures for safety and efficacy.
  • All projects should be the joint effort of scientists and Ayurvedic experts whose respective institutions should be involved in carrying out the study.
  • The current format and guidelines for submission of proposals may be used for Ayurvedic Biology. (ref.

Address for enquiries:

Dr.Balachandar Venkatesan Ph.D.
Member Secretary- Health Science/Ayurveda Biology
Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)
5 & 5 A, Vasant Square Mall, Sec-B and Poc-5, Vasant Kunj,
New Delhi-110070
Phone: 011-40000337.

Formats and Guidelines

Name of the Programme Programme Advisor / Coordinator Programme Officer
Ayurvedic Biology Dr. Rita Banerjee
Scientist G
Dr. Balachandar Venkatesan
Scientist E


Last Updated on 30 January, 2018