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.
India S&T Collaboration started formally in 1996 with establishment of ASEAN India S&T working Group (AIWGST). Initially, the collaborative ASEAN-India S&T activities were supported through ASEAN India Fund (AIF). In 2008, Government of India established a dedicated fund viz ASEAN India S&T Development Fund (AISTDF) to support R&D projects and associated project development activities. The total budget of AISTDF is an equivalent amount of 5 Million USD in INR. This amount of 5 Million USD is jointly shared by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Department of Science & Technology (DST). 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 (2016-2020), implements the goals and objectives of the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity on 30 November 2004 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, and the Vision Statement of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, adopted by the Leaders of ASEAN and India on 20 December 2012 in New Delhi, India. Through the implementation of this Plan of Action, ASEAN and India will work towards supporting the ASEAN Community building and integration process, including the ASEAN Community's Post-2015 Vision, 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-
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;
Encourage and promote cooperation in biotechnology including through capacity building and joint research and development for mutual benefit;
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 MS, 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:
Initially to start with 50 (fifty) Fellowships per year shall be awarded to young scientists and researchers from ASEAN-Member Countries to get affiliated with Indian academic and R&D institutions. These Fellowships shall be equally distributed among ASEAN Member Country. Initially, 5 Fellowship shall be allocated for each ASEAN country. However, this number could be re-adjusted in accordance with the number of applicants from respective each ASEAN MS.
Duration of fellowships:
The duration of the Fellowship will be for a period of two to six months. A minor variation in the duration would be allowed on recommendations of the Indian host Institute/ University depending upon the actual requirement of the research project as mutually agreed between the Fellowship holder and the Indian host institution.
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)-2016-2025. A copy of the APASTI is placed at Appendix-I. Fellowship will be offered for working in research topics under any of the following broad disciplines:
Biological and Medical Sciences
Chemical Sciences & Engineering
Computer Science & Engineering
Physical Sciences and Mathematics
Ocean, Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
Materials, Minerals and Metallurgy
Science Policy / IPR Management / Technology Transfer & Commercialisation
Other multi-disciplinary areas of Science, Technology and Innovation in alignment with APASTI.
Eligibility and requirements:
Applicant must be holding nationality of any of the ASEAN Member State.
Possess at-least a Masters Degree in any Natural Sciences or an equivalent degree in Technology / Engineering / Medicine / allied disciplines.
Applicant should be working / studying and / or affiliated to any national R&D or academic institution in his/ her home ASEAN Member country. 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.
The upper age limit for the applicant is 45 years as on date of submission of application.
The Applicants who have already availed Research Training Fellowship(RTF) are not eligible to apply again.
Fluency in English language
Indian nationals are not eligible for the Fellowship.
Applicants who have availed any fellowship scheme of Govt of India during last 5 years are not ELIGIBLE to apply.
Management & execution
RTF Program shall be managed and implemented by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), New Delhi
Submission of application and selection criteria
The applications are to be submitted only ONLINE at www.aistic.gov.in. The hard copies of the application are neither required. The applications submitted through any other form or channel shall not be considered.
The Applicant should submit the application online along with the following enclosures:
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.
If the applicant is not able to secure such prior consent, the IMRC Division DST will facilitate to connect the applicant with a suitable matching Indian institute on the basis of the information provided by the applicant and the research proposal submitted along with the application.
Securing a prior consent from an Indian institution/ scientist does not guarantee the selection of an applicant. All applications received will be scrutinised by ASEAN Secretariat which in turn shall recommend /forward the application to IMRC Division DST for consideration and support. IMRC Division DST shall make 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.
The completed applications / proposals can be submitted ONLINE throughout the year in two cycles ending 30th June and 31st December each year.
Financial and other terms & conditions
Full financial assistance will be provided to the selected Fellows which will include the following:-
All international travel related expenses ie round trip international airfare by excursion/ economy class 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.
A consolidated Fellowship amount of Indian Rupees (INR) 50,000 per month (non-taxable) for accommodation, meals and other miscellaneous.
One-time grant of INR 40,000/- for 6 months period for research contingency expenses, airport transfers, domestic travel (by road) for attending scientific /events and field-trips within India, and Institutional overhead charges @ Rs. 2,500/- per month.
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.
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.
Individual Fellow, or his/ her government / institution, is required to bear the following costs:
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.
Salary and other related allowances in the home country, if applicable, during the Fellowship period.
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:
Compensation in the event of death, disability or loss of personal belongings or compensation for damage caused by climatic or other conditions.
Travel and other costs incurred by the dependents, who might accompany the Fellows.
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.
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.
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.
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.