India has been the dialogue partner for ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) since 1992. In 2012, on the occasion of 20th anniversary as dialogue partner, India-ASEAN celebrated commemorative Summit and declared enhancement of its relations to strategic level.

ASEAN- India S&T Collaboration started formally in 1996 with establishment of ASEAN India S&T working Group (AIWGST). Initially, the S&T activities were supported through ASEAN India Fund (AIF) of Govt. of India.Government of India established a dedicated fund namely ASEAN India S&T Development Fund (AISTDF) in 2008 to support projects and associated project development activities. The AISTDF is an equivalent amount of 5 Million USD in INR and is jointly contributed by Department of Science & Technology (DST) and Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The Department of Science & Technology is the nodal Department for execution and implementation of ASEAN-India S&T Cooperation program from Indian side.

The Plan of Action of the ASEAN-INDIA PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE, PROGRESS AND SHARED PROSPERITY (2021-2025), implements the goals and objectives of the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity and the Vision Statements of Leaders of ASEAN and India. Through the implementation of this Plan of Action, ASEAN and India will work towards supporting the ASEAN Community building and integration process for a politically cohesive, economically integrated, socially responsible and a truly people-oriented, people-centered and rules-based ASEAN, narrowing the development gap and enhancing ASEAN Connectivity. Both sides will also further promote cooperation in addressing common and emerging challenges and enhance coordination in other international forum on issues of common concern to contribute to overall peace, stability and prosperity.

The main objectives of ASEAN-India Science, Technology and Innovation cooperation are based on following principles-

  1. Encourage and promote cooperation in science, technology and innovation, including through joint research activity, and development on cross-sectoral areas such as health, communicable and emerging infectious diseases, environmental management, climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, agricultural technologies, alternative energy, biodiversity, food processing, advanced materials for development of value-added products, and space technology and applications;
  2. Encourage and promote cooperation in biotechnology including through capacity building and joint research and development for mutual benefit;
  3. Undertake activities and develop program / projects under the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund;

   In order to support and facilitate mobility among young talented researchers of ASEAN Member States (namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), India and ASEAN instituted the scheme ASEAN-India Research Training Fellowship (AIRTF) Scheme for ASEAN young researchers to work at any of the Indian research/ academic Institution


The AIRTF scheme is a fellowship scheme with the following objectives:

  • To promote mobility of scientists and researchers from the ASEAN-Member Countries to India and provide them opportunity to work at Indian R&D/ academic institutions to upgrade their research skills and expertise.
  • To facilitate exchange of information and contacts between the scientists and researchers of India and ASEAN Countries and create a network for building research collaborations.

    As a spin-off, the Fellowship awardees may also have opportunity to get co-supervisors from India for their research projects for Ph.D. or Masters degree on their return to their home countries.

Number of fellowships:

Fifty (50) fellowships per year shall be awarded to young scientists and researchers from ASEAN-Member States to get affiliated with Indian academic and R&D institutions.

Duration of fellowships:

The duration of the Fellowship will be for a period of two to six months. No request for extension \ reduction in duration period shall be entertained after award of the fellowship.

Management & execution:

ASEAN-India Research Training Fellowship (AI-RTF) program shall be managed and coordinated by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), New Delhi.

Areas in which fellowships are available

The area/ topic of research for availing AIRTF must be ASEAN centric and must be aligned with the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation (APASTI). The fellowship is offered for working in research topics under any of the following broad disciplines:

  1. Agricultural Sciences
  2. Biological and Medical Sciences
  3. Chemical Sciences & Engineering
  4. Computer Science & Engineering
  5. Physical Sciences and Mathematics
  6. Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
  7. Engineering Sciences
  8. Materials, Minerals and Metallurgy
  9. Science Policy / IPR Management / Technology Transfer & Commercialisation
  10. Other multi-disciplinary areas of Science, Technology and Innovation in alignment with APASTI.

Eligibility and requirements:

  1. Applicant must be holding nationality of any of the ASEAN Member State.
  2. Possess at-least a Masters Degree in any Natural Sciences or an equivalent degree in Technology / Engineering / Medicine / allied disciplines.
  3. Applicant should be working / studying and / or affiliated to any national R&D or academic institution in his/ her home ASEAN Member State. The application should be endorsed by the Head of his/ her institution confirming that if selected, he/ she will be sanctioned leave for the Fellowship period and will join his/ her duties back in the institution on completion of the Fellowship in India.
  4. The upper age limit for the applicant is 45 years as on date of submission of application.
  5. Fluency in English language
  6. Indian nationals are not eligible for the Fellowship.
  7. ASEAN applicants who have availed any fellowship scheme of Govt of India during last 3 years are not ELIGIBLE to apply.
  8. The proposed research work in India must be linked/connected and add value to any of the on-going research project/scheme of the Indian host Institute.

Financial and other terms & conditions

  1. Full financial assistance will be provided to the selected Fellows which include the following:-

    1. Round trip international airfare by lowest economy class and by shortest route from the international airport in the home country of the applicant to the international airport nearest to the host institution in India; visa fees, overseas medical insurance etc.

    2. A consolidated Fellowship amount of Indian Rupees (INR) 60,000 per month.

    3. One-time grant of INR 40,000/- as research contingency expenses, airport transfers, domestic travel for attending scientific /events and field-trips within India.

    4. Institutional overhead charges @ Rs. 2,500/- per month.

    5. The allowance as in (a), (b) and (c) will be released to the host institution in India for disbursement to the Fellow. The host Institution will arrange appropriate accommodation for the Fellow on payment basis.

  1. The selected Fellow is advised to take an appropriate policy for health insurance coverage for the period of stay in India. The cost for obtaining overseas insurance policy is covered and reimbursable under AISTDF.

  2. Individual Fellow, or his/ her government / institution, is required to bear the following costs:

    1. All expenses in the home country incidental to travel abroad, including expenditure incurred to obtain passport and visa and for medical examinations and vaccinations as may be required as well as other miscellaneous expenses such as internal travel to/ from the international airport of departure in the home country.
    2. Salary and other related allowances in the home country, if applicable, during the Fellowship period.

  3. Neither the AISTDF nor the host institution in India will assume any responsibility whatsoever for the following expenditure of the Fellows during the tenure of the Fellowship:

    1. Compensation in the event of death, disability or loss of personal belongings or compensation for damage caused by climatic or other conditions.
    2. Travel and other costs incurred by the dependents, who might accompany the Fellows.

Submission of application and selection criteria

  1. The applications are to be submitted only ONLINE at The hard copies of the application are neither required. The applications submitted through any other form or channel shall not be considered.

  2. How to apply online:
    For online submission of the application the following points may be noted:
    • Applicants should first register in ASEAN online portal click here to register
    • After log-in, applicants are required to fill all the mandatory fields in Profile Detail section under User Profile, which includes Bio data, photo, Institute Address, etc.
    • Some of the details of proposal like Project Title, Project summary, Keywords, Objectives of project, Expected output and outcome of the proposal etc have to be entered at the time of proposal submission.
    • Other relevant information of the proposal has to be uploaded as a single PDF file, not more than 10 MB

  3. The Applicant should submit the application online along with the following enclosures:

  4. It is strongly advised that the applicant, in his/ her own interest, should make a prior contact with an Indian institution, where work is in progress in his/ her area of interest, or with a concerned scientist in India, and obtain consent that the applicant, if selected for the Fellowship, will be accepted to work in the institution on the proposed research project. A copy of such consent letter should be enclosed with the application.

    In this connection, a suggestive list of Indian academic and R&D institutions has been enclosed with this Announcement to help the applicant, but the applicant is free to contact any other institution in India for his/ her affiliation.

  5. Securing a prior consent from an Indian institution/ scientist does not guarantee the selection of an applicant. All applications received shall be scrutinised scientifically by DST. DST shall make the final decision based on the quality of the research proposal submitted by the applicant, applicant's academic merit and available slots in the Fellowship scheme.

  6. The completed applications / proposals can be submitted ONLINE. The deadline for submitting the application for current cycle is 31st March 2024 till 5:00 PM (IST).

Documents to be submitted after fellowship approval

  1. Letter of acceptance by Parent Institute   (Format for letter of acceptance by parent institute) Download
  2. Letter of consent by Indian Host Institute   (Format for letter of consent by Indian host institute) Download
  3. RTGS details of Indian Host Institute ( Endorsed by Institute)  (Format for RTGS details of Indian host institute) Download
  4. Itinerary options (Tickets to be booked by AI-RTF Secretariat)  (Format for itinerary options) Download
  5. Joining notification (By Indian Host Institution)  (Format for joining notification) Download

Obligations of the AI-RTF fellows

The Fellows will observe the regulations and procedures stipulated below. If they fail to do so, the Fellowship shall be withdrawn.

  1. During their tenures, Fellows shall not, either in or outside the host institution, infringe in any way on the human rights of others, including racial or gender discrimination or other forms of abuse.
  2. Fellows shall stay in India continuously during the tenure of the fellowship and concentrate on their scientific work at the host institution. Fellows shall not engage in other work, either paid or unpaid, during their tenure.
  3. The Fellows shall follow the rules of the host institution and shall not undertake any acts of research misconduct, e.g., fabricating or falsifying research results and misuse of research funds.
  4. A Fellow shall submit a fellowship completion reserach report to the DST / FICCI and ASEAN Secretariat on completion of his/ her tenure.   (Format for AI-RTF completion report) Download
  5. Transfer of any type of biological material during the tenure of availing the Fellowship is NOT permissible.

For More Information About AI-RTF program, please contact Mr. Vivek Kumar (airtfscholars [at] ficci [dot] com, vishal [dot] khanna [at] ficci [dot] com)

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