Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) has developed a newly approved scheme that seeks to explore new scientific breakthroughs, with long-term impact on fundamental scientific understanding, and offer disruptive technologies at the cutting edge. SERB-SUPRA (Scientific and Useful Profound Research Advancement) is a scheme beyond normal core grants and purposefully designed for high quality proposals consisting of new hypothesis or challenge existing ones, and provide ‘out-of-box’ solutions.
Under the scheme:
·Quantum of advances (incremental and short terms gains are strongly discouraged).
·Extent of disruption in fundamental understanding or impact on outstanding research grand challenges: new areas, new concepts, new products, new disruptive technologies.
·Ability of research outcomes in enhancing scientific knowledge of the cutting-edge at the international level and/or emergence of critical technologies.
·Global impact, outstanding publications, advancement of science.
The initiative is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s 100-day transformative ideas. Indian scientists working at the cutting edge areas of science and technology will soon have a novel research funding scheme to look forward to. As part of the government’s 100-day transformative ideas, SERB has announced this scheme with the sole objective of funding exploration of new scientific and engineering breakthroughs with global impact.
What is SERB?
It was set up as a statutory body in 2009 under the Department of Science and Technology to promote and fund research in different scientific disciplines. Set up as a statutory body to promote and fund research in different scientific disciplines, SERB has been giving funds under different schemes and programmes and SUPRA may potentially emerge as SERB’s most prestigious research scheme.
SERB hopes to support 15 to 30 such proposals in the first year, which will be further scaled up in subsequent years. A proposal once approved will get funding for 3 years, which can be extended for another 2 years.
Two years ago, SERB unveiled a scheme very similar to SUPRA, called the ‘Scheme for funding High Risk-High Reward’ (HRHR) Research, which was meant for conceptually new and risky projects that are expected to have paradigm shifting influence, if successful.