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COVID-19 Research Funding Programme 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented challenges for India, with wide ranging consequences for health and wellbeing. Much that we know has been disrupted. To help provide insights into the processes and best-practices that have proved useful in responding to the crisis, Azim Premji University has selected and funded a series of focused proposals for research on COVID-19 in the Indian context.

The following projects were selected to provide focused, concrete results and insights to help formulate the design of actions and responses in the short-term and policies in the long-term:

  • Role of Local Self Government, Panchayats and Community Based Organisations during Corona Pandemic (a case study of Rajasthan)
    Amit Kumar
    Kumarappa Gram Swaraj Sansthan

  • COVID-19 Research on Frontline Workers in Bihar and Himachal Pradesh
    Avani Kapur | Sanaya Sinha | Udit Ranjan | Sanjana Malhotra | Ritwik Shukla
    Centre for Policy Research

  • Community Mobilisation and Good Governance: Via the Community Radio Network – Umeed, in the Himalayan State of Uttarakhand, in the time of Covid-19
    Saritha Thomas | Arun Sarkar
    People's Power Collective

  • Atmnirbhar Adivasis : Community Role in Prevention and Management of Covid Crisis: An Assessment of the Situation, Challenges and Good Practices
    Alma Grace Barla
    Samajik Seva Sadan

  • Exploring the challenges, psychological problems, and mental health needs among frontline health workers of government hospitals: A study in Hyderabad Karnataka Region
    Romate John | Rajkumar E | Roopesh B N | Shruti Sharma | S Jeyavel | Rashmi R
    Central University of Karnataka

  • Blue-print for Assisted Telemedicine for Rural Healthcare Ecosystem
    T K Srikanth | Divya Raj
    International Institute of Information Technology. Bangalore

  • Study on the Role of Rural Local Bodies in Pandemic in Odisha
    Diganta Mohanty | Jyotshnamayee Nanda | Prakash Kumar Sahoo | Niranjan Sahoo | Ranjan Kumar Malik | Banamali Sahoo Kartabya

  • Combating COVID-19 by Panchayati Raj Institutions - A comparative study of Elected vs Non-elected Village Panchayats in selected districts of Tamil Nadu
    Inbarasan K G | Gurusaravanan M | Prabagaran M
    Institute of Grassroots Governance

  • Understanding the perspectives of frontline health workers (ASHAs, Anganwadi workers and ANMs) to improve COVID 19 containment efforts at the community level
    Stutilina Pal | Devanik Saha
    Self Reliant Initiatives through Joint Action (SRIJAN)

  • Remote Gossip Pilot to Improve Uptake of Routine Immunisation
    Varsha Venugopal | Fiona Conlon | Nithya Nagarathinam | Tanay Chanda
    Development Consortium

  • Civil Society Response to Domestic Violence during COVID-19 | Building Better Support for Survivors
    Vandita Morarka | Ashita Alag | Sanaya Patel | Uttanshi Agarwal
    One Future Collective (Morarka Leadership Foundation)

  • Study of Female Frontline Community Healthcare Workforce In India during the Covid-19 Pandemic
    Bhanupriya Rao | Sreya Dutta Chowdhury
    WomenUnlimited Media Pvt. Ltd.

  • Understanding the role of public health system reforms in combating COVID-19 pandemic in the State of Kerala, India
    A.S. Pradeep Kumar | Sreejini J | Maya Annie Elias | Arsha
    Health Systems Research India Initiative Trust

  • Building SOPs for Grievance Redressal to Reduce Exclusions in Access to Social Protection Schemes for Poor and Vulnerable Populations
    Aaditeshwar Seth
    OnionDev Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Gram Vaani)

  • Local Governance during the COVID-19 Pandemic Times
    Joy Elamon
    Kerala Institute of Local Administration (KILA)

  • Traditional Institutions (Dorbars Shnongs) of Shillong, Meghalaya: Integral to the Community Efforts against COVID19
    Joy Grace Syiem | T.K. Bamon | Ksaidbok Shadap
    Indian Council of Social Welfare, Meghalaya State Branch

  • Community Health in the time of Corona
    Paromita Sen | Aiman Haque | Saba Ahmed | Vaishakhi Shah
    SEWA Bharat

  • Building women’s health capabilities through a digital, group-based response: An implementation research study of Lok Swasthya SEWA Trust’s response to COVID-19
    Sapna Desai | Susan Thomas
    Population Council Institute

Please note that the Call for proposals for Azim Premji University COVID-19 Research Funding Programme 2020 has been closed. Thank you for your interest.

The schedule for the Azim Premji University COVID-19 Research Funding Programme 2020 is as follows:

Last date for submission of proposal (Closed) Sept 5, 2020
Announcement of award of funding Sept 19, 2020
Projects start date Oct 1, 2020
Submission of project report Dec 31, 2020

Please contact us at for assistance.

For your reference, please find below the details of the Call for Proposals and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) :

Call for Proposals

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented challenges for India, with wide ranging consequences for health and wellbeing. Azim Premji University invites rigorous, focused proposals for research on COVID-19 in the Indian context. We seek proposals that will provide focused, concrete results and insights to directly inform the design of actions, and responses in the near-term. Successful proposals will provide transferrable insights into actions and impacts, as well as into the processes and best-practices that have proved useful in responding to the crisis. Purely clinical or medical studies are outside the scope of this research funding.

In keeping with the focus of the call to inform action, project reports will be disseminated to the public by the University immediately after conclusion of the three-month funding period; researchers will be free to publish their findings in other outlets.

We seek proposals that range across urban and rural settings in the broad areas described below, including but not limited to the objectives suggested here.

  1. Studies on effectiveness of various processes and interventions in reducing fatality, such as
    • Impact of quality of public health systems, filled positions versus vacancies in public health positions
    • Impact of community initiatives in rural/urban settings, IEC efforts, access to testing, deployment of Rapid Antigen Tests, lockdowns
    • Impact of public-private partnerships/collaboration in the areas of IEC, testing, surveillance, secondary/tertiary care
    • Impact of availability of testing, quality of contact tracing, rigor of testing of primary/secondary contacts
    • Study of the work of local elected representatives and their grassroots workers, bureaucracy, NGOs, SHGs and their effectiveness
    • Impact of locally quarantining and isolating versus centralized centres

  2. Studies of Asha workers, Anganwadi workers, ANMs, and other frontline health workers
    • Span of frontline health workers in terms of population handled
    • Motivation of ASHA workers and others – emoluments and training delivered to them
    • Safety of ASHA workers, and other frontline workers

  3. Studies on the public health system, such as
    • Assessing the role of various factors in effective diagnosis, control and treatment, such as the presence of a Primary Health Centre, increased numbers of frontline health workers, implementation of home isolation programmes
    • Identification of best-practices for protecting health-care workers and other front-line staff

  4. Role of community in delivery of health services during the COVID-19 crisis, such as
    • Identification of and measuring the impact of best practices in the areas of community mobilization, involvement in various areas
    • Best practices on how non-Health NGOs, SHGs, community organizations have reoriented themselves to COVID related work and the impact this will have on both health and non-health areas
    • Impact of Local Self Governance in the form of active Gram Panchayats in rural areas or Area Sabhas, Ward Committees in urban areas

  5. Barriers and approaches to scaling up of action, such as
    • Social, physical, economic and other barriers and opportunities to rapidly scaling up testing, quarantine, surveillance and care
    • Effectiveness of approaches to care in challenging environments like isolated areas, high-density communities like slums

  6. Efforts to provide universal protection, such as
    • Best practice approaches to implement specific behavioural interventions (masks, distancing, etc.)
    • Challenges of special needs communities
    • Measurements of real mortality rates
    • Difficulties faced by non-COVID patients in accessing health care
    • Providing access and support to migrants, and those without Aadhaar and PDS

  7. Role of technology and data analysis
    • Investigating the effectiveness of apps in improving contact tracing, identifying and tracking symptomatic and high risk individuals and reducing spread and mortality
    • Implementation of tele-health
    • Use of data and analysis from tests, sero-surveys, pro-active on-ground surveillance in identifying local clusters, containment management and limiting spread

We offer research funding ranging from INR 5-20 lakhs, with an outer time limit of 3 months.

We seek a tightly focused, 3-page proposal including a detailed description and justification of methods and study location, and a clear description of the expected outcomes, as well as the relevance of findings to informing and shaping future strategies in the near short-term. A lengthy introduction and literature justification is not required.

Interested applicants should submit their proposal online and upload documents mentioned below as a single pdf file:

  • Proposal of not more than 3 pages
  • Budget breakdown
  • Anticipated timeline
  • CV of all investigators

The last date for submission of proposal is Sept 5, 2020. Proposals that come in after this date will not be considered.

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