The government has launched the IMPRESS Scheme to promote social science research in the country. Additionally, the government has approved “Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education by 2022“. As a result, the scope of institutions eligible for funding through the Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) has been expanded to include school education and medical education institutions, in addition to higher education.
- Back in August 2018, the Indian Government gave the green light to a program called “Impactful Policy Research in Social Sciences (IMPRESS)“.
- They allocated a hefty sum of Rs. 414 Cr for this scheme, intending to run it until March 31, 2021.
- The plan was to distribute research projects to the tune of 1500, each spanning a duration of 2 years. These projects aimed to bolster social science research within higher education institutions and provide valuable insights to shape policy decisions.
- The Indian Council of Social Science and Research (ICSSR) takes charge of the initiative, overseeing the implementation of IMPRESS and ensuring effective achievement of its objectives.
- We want to find and fund research proposals in the social sciences that will have the biggest impact on governance and society.
- Our focus areas for research include State and Democracy, Urban Transformation, Media, Culture and Society, Employment, Skills and Rural Transformation, Governance, Innovation and Public Policy, Growth, Macro-trade and Economic Policy, Agriculture and Rural Development, Health and Environment, Science and Education, Social Media and Technology, and Politics, Law and Economics. Expert groups will determine the specific sub-themes within these areas before we announce the scheme and call for applications.
- We will select projects through a transparent and competitive online process.
- We want to give social science researchers from any institution in the country—including all universities (both Central and State) and private institutions recognized by the UGC—a chance to participate.
- Any institution that receives government funding, including both central and state universities, as well as private institutions with UGC 12(b) status, and ICSSR Research Institutes, can apply for this opportunity.
- The Project Director must be a full-time employee of the institution, hold a Ph.D. degree, and demonstrate a strong interest in conducting high-quality research.
- To demonstrate their suitability, we can look at their past studies, publications, and academic backgrounds. Additionally, if there are co-directors, we should consider their proven track records of research interest.
- Even retired faculty members with a demonstrated interest in research can apply, but they would need to affiliate themselves with one of the research institutions mentioned in the first point.
- Individual scholars can apply for a maximum of two projects simultaneously. However, if both projects get selected, they must choose only one to pursue at level 3. Institutions with ample research infrastructure and resources are encouraged to submit multiple proposals.
- Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) of the Government of India and Canara Bank, with MHRD holding 91% equity and Canara Bank holding 9%.
- Its primary objective is to provide financial support for the development of infrastructure in leading educational institutions across India, in line with the goals set forth in the Rising 2022 initiative.
- HEFA has expanded its scope to include funding for capital assets in school education and educational institutions under the Ministry of Health, among others.
- Registered as a Union Government company under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013, HEFA operates as a not-for-profit organization.
- Additionally, it is classified as a Non-Deposit Taking Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC-ND-Type II) by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
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