Q1: Who can apply for ECRA? What are the eligibility criteria for availing the ECRA?
A1: The applicant should hold Ph.D. degree in Science or Engineering / M.D or M.S degree in any area of medicine. The scheme encourages young researchers at the start of their independent research career. The applicant, therefore, must hold a regular*academic/research position# in a recognized academic institution/ or national laboratories or any other recognized R&D institutions.
Applicants should have an outstanding research track record and profile as evident from research publications and recognitions. The selection will be based on the recommendations of an Expert Committee that will be formulated to peer review the submitted application. If desired by the Expert Committee, the applicants may be called for a personal interview for presentation of the research objectives of the project.
Q2: What does the term “regular” imply?
A2: The term “ Regular” in the context of ECRA refers to one or more of the following:
1. Those who are appointed by the institutions against the ‘sanctioned ‘post. Such positions are regularized/confirmed after the probation period is over.
2. Those who are appointed in a tenure post, but are likely to be renewed after the end of the tenure
Not Eligible: Research Associates, Guest Faculty, Visiting Scientist, Project Fellows, Faculty members whose contract is renewed every year; and those who are expecting to draw salary from the scheme.
(In cases where it is not covered in any of the above, SERB has the right to determine the eligibility)
Q3: Are Ramanujan, INSPIRE Faculty, Ramalingaswami Fellows and UGC Faculty Recharge fellows eligible to apply for the Early Career Research Award?
A3: Faculties recruited through UGC-Faculty Recharge Program are eligible to apply. INSPIRE Faculty, Ramanujan, and RamalingaswamyFellows are also eligible to apply if they have been absorbed/appointed to a regular position. If such fellows are not absorbed/appointed in a regular position, and are receiving fellowship as well as research grant from the fellowship, such fellows are eligible to apply provided they have at least three and half years of tenure remaining at the time of submission of application
Q4: What is the age limit for availing ECRA?
A4: The upper age limit for the ECRA is 37 years at the time of the submission of application. Age relaxation of 3 (three) years will be given to candidates belonging to SC/ST/OBC/Physically Challenged & Women candidates.
Q5: What is the nature of support in ECRA scheme?
A5: The Early Career Research Award is a one-time award and carries a maximumresearch grant of Rs. 50 Lakhs (excluding overheads) for a period of three years.The research grant covers equipment, manpower, consumables, manpower, travel and contingency apart from overheads.
Q6: What is the duration of the ECRA project? Can it be extended?
A6: The ECRA is tenable for a period of 3 years. In exceptional cases, depending on the progress of research, the project can be extended.
Q7: When should I apply for ECRA? Can I apply for the projects throughout the year?
A7: The call for applications for SERB - ECRA will be notified twice a year (January and July) through the website www.serbonline.in and www.serb.gov.in. Usually one month window will be provided to submit the application along with other documents. All applications should be submitted through the SERB online portal www.serbonline.in.
Q8: How should I apply for ECRA? What documents should I submit?
A8: All applications should be submitted through the SERB online portal www.serbonline.in. Usually one month window is provided to submit the application along with other documents. The following documents are mandatory.
(a) Research proposal (see www.serbonline.in for the correct format).
(b) Proof of Date of Birth (Class X certificate or Date of Birth Certificate)
(c) Proof of Caste (only for cases seeking age relaxation)
(d) Endorsement Certificate signed by the Head of the Host Institution (format can be downloaded from www.serbonline.in)
(e) Undertaking Certificate by the applicant (see online portal for its format)
(f) Ethical clearance (if applicable).
The applicants are further advised to follow detailed instructions provided in the SERB online portal www.serbonline.in.
Q9: When will I be informed of my selection?
A9: The selection process on an average takes at least two months from the last date of submission of the applications. All selected candidates shall receive an Email notification through the SERB online portal, who are then required to download the offer letter.
Q10: Can I have a Co-PI in Early Career Research Award project? Can I have a Mentor in Early Career Research Award project?
A10: The Award is individual centric and therefore no Co-investigators or Mentors are allowed in this scheme.The PI should assume full responsibility for implementing the project.
Q11: I am working abroad as post-doc, and I want to return to India. I intend to apply for Early Career Research Award. But I have not yet finalized my place of work. Am I eligible to apply under the scheme?
A11: No. The applicant must hold a regular academic/research position in a recognized academic institution/ or national laboratories or any other recognized R&D institutions. Only after joining a research or academic institution, one can apply for the grants under this scheme.
Q12: I am implementing an Early Career Research Award project for the last one year. Am I eligible to apply for another project under other scheme/award or fellowship programs of SERB?
A12: Normally, a Project Investigator is allowed to operate only one project at a time. Exceptions are made in a few cases where specific calls for proposals are made for certain topics/programs/schemes. It is advised that the Project Investigator submit another project about 6- months in advance before the completion of the ongoing project, so that the next one will be ready for execution by the time the present one gets completed.
Q13: What documents should I send for receiving the next installments of the grant?
A13: The PIs should upload annual Progress Report and financial statements at the end of each financial year. The release of the next instalment of the grant will be considered only after submission of (a) Proper Utilization Certificate (separately for recurring & Non-recurring) and Statement of Expenditure, financial year wise and (b) Annual Progress Report through the SERB online portal.
Q14: I intend to change my Host Institution? What procedure should I follow?
A14: Change of Host Institution shall be undertaken only after obtaining due approval from SERB.
The transfer of the fellowship along with balance grant and the assets to the new institute is allowed, provided the administrative authority of both institutes agree in writing. NOC from the previous host institute and Endorsement Form from the new host Institute must be sent to SERB through the online portal.
Q15: I wish to surrender my Early Career Research Award? What documents must I send to SERB?
A15: If the one wishes to terminate the project, he/she shall inform the SERB through the host institution immediately. The implementing institute should not incur any expenditure from the date of termination of the project.
SERB reserves the right to terminate the grant at any stage if it is convinced that appropriate progress is not being made or the grant has not been utilized properly.
Q16: Can I be away from the implementing Institute when I am implementing the ECRA?
A16: The PIs must seek the consent of SERB if he/she intends to be away from the implementing institute (except for field work related to the project) continuously for a period more than eight weeks.
Q17: What should be done for the unspent grant under ECRA project after the completion of the tenure of the project?
A17: The following documents should to be sent to the SERB after the duration of the project is completed:
1. Final Consolidated Statement of Expenditure (in duplicate), giving expenditure financial year wise (FY) from date of start till date of completion;
2. Utilization Certificates (FY wise) for all FYs (in duplicate) matching with Statement of Expenditure figures in that FY;
3. Project Completion Report (PCR) with list of publications, patents filed.
4. DD/ cheque for the unspent grant, drawn in favor of 'Fund for Science & Engineering Research'
5. Principal Investigator is responsible for the timely submission of progress report, utilization certificate, project closure report (PCR), refund of unspent balance amount etc. at end or early closure of the project.