Health Research Funding Programme 2023

Building a deeper understanding of the realities of public health in India

Research project starts on 1 Jan 2024

As Azim Premji Foundation forays into the health space with a focus on improving health outcomes for vulnerable communities, we at Azim Premji University are launching the first round of our Research Funding Programme in Health.

This programme is designed to promote inquiry into areas of particular interest to the Foundation’s Health Initiative, build a nuanced and data-driven understanding of the realities of public health in the country, and explore possible responses for some of them. The research funding programme will supplement the Foundation’s existing efforts to strengthen the quality of healthcare in vulnerable populations across rural, tribal, peri-urban, and urban areas.

We are looking for research focused on vulnerable communities that is methodologically robust, empirically grounded, and can inform practice. We are also keen on research that builds awareness and contributes to a meaningful discourse around issues of health and the determinants of health.

Fund Size and Duration

  • Funding per study: INR 5 – 40 lakh
  • Duration of Study: 12 – 24 months
  • We request applicants treat the upper bounds on duration and funding as indicative rather than stringent. Hence, proposals that align well with the themes identified and eligibility/​evaluation criteria are encouraged to apply even if the expected duration of study or budget is greater than those defined above.
  • While we have indicated an upper limit of INR 40 lakh as funding per study, we appreciate frugality and request researchers to plan budgets commensurate with the proposed study.
  • Our intent is to encourage fresh research in public health. Hence, proposals for add-on funding on existing funded research projects will not be considered.

Schedule for the Research Funding Programme

Start date for submission of online application

Last date for submission of online application

Announcement of initial selections

Last date for submission of full proposal

Announcement of awards

Research project start date


We invite high-quality research proposals that examine significant questions of public concern in the following areas:

  • Sub-theme A: Studies exploring the current functioning of institutional mechanisms for public health such as Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) or Health and Wellness Centres (HWC). Preference will be given to studies focused on urban areas. We are seeking pointed insights about the selected geography arising from studying various components of the institutional mechanism in question over a period of time. Indicative example – Status of PHCs in urban-poor clusters in New Delhi – equity, access, and quality of care.”
  • Sub-theme B: Status and quality of government-initiated local mechanisms focused on community health – Studies exploring the current functioning of bodies such as Jan Arogya Samiti, Mahila Arogya Samiti, Rogi Kalyan Samiti, Village Health, Sanitation, and Nutrition Committee, etc. We are seeking pointed insights arising from studying various components of the mechanism in question over a period of time. Indicative example – Status of Mahila Aarogya Samiti in rural Odisha – access, utilisation, and integration with government institutions”.
  • Sub-theme C: Functioning of central or state-specific health schemes and their effects on health outcomes – Studies exploring the uptake and effects of specific health schemes. We are seeking insights on various elements regarding the scheme in question such as effects on indicators of health, the status of infrastructural support, ease of accessibility, hurdles faced by beneficiaries, awareness among eligible beneficiaries, etc. Indicative example – Uptake and effects of Karnataka State Government’s Thayi Bhagya Scheme in urban-poor settlements of Bengaluru”, Uptake of AB-PMJAY: Study of proportion of healthcare financed by the scheme at a Government Hospital in West Bengal over a 12-month period”.
  • Sub-theme A: Effects of interventions towards operationalising or strengthening institutional mechanisms for public health in urban, peri-urban, rural, and tribal areas – Studies should focus on existing interventions wherein the Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI is directly engaged in implementing the intervention under study. Indicative example – Exploring the effects of capacity building of ASHA Workers in rural Karnataka to strengthen vulnerable communities’ access to primary healthcare.”
  • Sub-theme B: Effects of long-term or ongoing community-focused work on health and/​or determinants of health (water, sanitation, nutrition, etc.) – Studies should focus on existing interventions wherein the PI or Co-PI is directly engaged in implementing the intervention under study. The intent should be to work with the community for an extended period, and we will give priority to applications where the researcher(s) have had a long-term engagement with the community. Hence, studies proposing short-term action research in a new community without the intent to engage with them subsequent to the proposed study will not be considered. Indicative example – Effects of supplying affordable nutrition packets to select households in Mumbai slums over a period of 12 months”.
  • Sub-theme C: Effects of community-led social accountability initiatives – Studies focusing on ongoing bottom-up social accountability approaches that aim to improve the responsiveness, quality, and efficiency of public health systems. Approaches could be in the form of community-led social audits, citizen committees/​monitoring groups, participatory complaints surveys, or community score cards, to name a few. Studies where the PI or co-PI is directly involved in the initiative will be given priority. Indicative example – Effects of community-mobilised self-help groups in rural Kerala on service and staff availability at PHCs”.

Proposals that fall within the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • We invite applications from researchers affiliated with institutions such as non-profit organisations and centres within academic institutions. Independent researchers are not eligible to apply.
  • Your proposed study should address a particular theme and sub-theme from the aforementioned list. Concept notes submitted for studies outside the scope of the specific themes will not be considered.
  • Multiple proposals addressing different specific themes can be submitted, both within a theme/sub-theme or across different themes/sub-themes.
  • This call for proposals is for researchers external to Azim Premji Foundation. Members of the Foundation are not eligible to apply.
  • Completed studies arising from this call for proposals may be published in relevant media.

Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of the following:

  • Potential of the study to contribute to research objectives in the Foundation’s areas of interest defined above
  • Potential of the study to deepen understanding of and/​or strengthen vulnerable populations’ quality of health, access to healthcare, and barriers thereof
  • Experience of the investigators and research team relevant to undertake research in the proposed area
  • Demonstrated ability to work with rural and urban poor communities
  • Focus on primary research and not secondary desktop research
  • Feasibility and practical application of the proposed study
  • Quality of application in terms of demonstrating understanding of the area of the proposed study
  • Proposed utilisation of the funds in an efficient, economic, and thought-through fashion

The link for submitting your applications will be active from 1 April 2023 to 25 May 2023 (last date of submission). Interested researchers must submit the online application form along with CVs of all collaborating investigators (PIs and Co-PIs).

The online application form will seek information on aspects such as why the study is needed, the significance of the study in relation to the specific theme and sub-theme, identified research objectives/​questions, description of expected outcomes, methodology to be applied, indicative timeline, and budget.

All applications will undergo a detailed review for selection for the next round. Those initially shortlisted will be contacted by the team from the Foundation and requested to submit a detailed proposal. The final selection will be based on this submission.

In case of any queries, you may write to healthresearch@​apu.​edu.​in

Applications closed