UK-India Agricultural Data
Call status: Open
Registration deadline: 18 September 2018, 16:00
Application deadline: Early January 2019

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), all parts of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), with the Indian Government’s Department for Biotechnology (DBT), are pleased to pre-announce a joint Newton-Bhabha Fund call for collaborative research proposals focussing on enhancement of agricultural data relevant to animal and plant health in India. The call for joint UK-India proposals will open in late September 2018/early October 2018 and the UK funders have up to £2 million to commit to this call, with matched funding from DBT.

An opportunity is now available to express interest in attending a partnership building workshop to be held in India during the week commencing 19 November 2018.

The call for proposals will be launched in late September/early October 2018 and will close in early January 2019 to allow time for both workshop participants and those who are not able to attend the workshop to develop up to 18-month project proposals in collaboration with Indian partners. Attendance at the workshop is not mandatory to apply to the call; presentations and a workshop report will be made public after the event.

Although the UK component of this call will be managed by BBSRC, it is an equal partnership with STFC and NERC (alongside DBT). We welcome diverse disciplines to consider how they might work together to address the aims of the call.


The grants will be short-term projects of up to 18 months awarded to a maximum of £150,000 (at 80% fEC) in the UK, with matched contribution from DBT. It is not necessary to request an equal amount of money from each side, but there should be a balanced partnership in terms of project design and research effort. UKRI and DBT anticipate funding up to 10 projects. Once projects commence, grant holders will have the opportunity to bid for small amounts of additional funding for integration, networking and extension activities.

Outline Scientific Scope

The joint India-UK multi-disciplinary call will aim to enhance and add value to existing animal and plant health data (both in India and the UK) in an agricultural context, through work on data and datasets to increase their accessibility and reusability. In addition, the focus will be on early stage development and provision of tools, algorithms or software that will add value to data by allowing analysis or interpretation of datasets, generation of models or predictions, or development of new insights by integrating datasets.

The purpose of the call is to build effective multi-disciplinary networks and partnerships between Indian and UK researchers and encourage end-user engagement (for example with farmers).

Investments made through this call will:

  • Increase our capability to predict disease/pest/pathogen outbreaks. Also, generate new knowledge that will improve yields and productivity on-farms, enhance animal and plant health, reduce losses, and increase farmers’ incomes Thus, improving the livelihood of small-holder farmers in India
  • Develop big data handling capacity and capability in India and the UK and develop tools, resources and methodologies for reuse, integration and responsible sharing of agricultural data between India and the UK.

The needs of Indian famers will be integral to the programme, with its outcomes aiming to enhance the provision of information to farmers to assist informed decision-making.

This call relates to some of the animal and plant health priorities identified at the Smart Agriculture Conclave meeting in India, August 2017: GOV.UK: UK-India organise Smart Agriculture Conclave in New Delhi.

As well as farmers, applicants are encouraged to work with other relevant industry partners or stakeholders where applicable.

Partnership Building Workshop

BBSRC, STFC, NERC, and DBT are holding a UK-India partnership building workshop early in the week commencing 19 November 2018 in India, to bring together UK and Indian scientists interested in this area. This will provide opportunities for face-to-face networking and for new UK-India collaborations to develop. The workshop will enable participants to better understand key challenges around data relevant to animal and plant health in Indian agriculture, and consider the research landscape and relevant expertise available in the UK and India.

The workshop is likely to last 3 days and may involve an in-country site visit to help provide participants with some context behind the key data-relevant animal and plant health challenges in Indian agriculture that new collaborative research projects could aim to address.

We are particularly interested in researchers who have:

  • expertise in one or more aspects of the above scientific scope
  • experience of working on agricultural data challenges and solutions applicable to India
  • experience of working on big data challenges that could offer wider technical expertise that is relevant in the scope of this call
  • the capacity to work on multidisciplinary challenges and to enhance existing data for new applications in the agricultural sector.

To this end, the UK funders invite Expressions of Interest (EoI) from eligible UK researchers who are interested in taking part in this partnership building workshop and are able to contribute expertise and experience to the discussions with our Indian counterparts. Approximately 20 delegates will be selected from the submitted EoIs.

As the awarding Council, the BBSRC definition of eligibility will be used for this programme. Please use the BBSRC grants guide (See downloads) to check if you are eligible to receive funding before submitting an EoI.

How to apply for workshop participation

UK applicants should complete an EoI using the form: Key Survey: UK-India Agricultural Data Partnering Workshop(read our Terms of use: Key Survey).The application deadline for the workshop is 18 September 2018, 16:00 BST. There will be a competitive selection process to ensure a balance of expertise, coverage of the scope areas, and institutional representation at the workshop.

Agribusiness Information