Indian social scientists can now join research teams in Europe

European Commission (File photo)

New Delhi (NVI): Top Indian social scientists can now temporarily join research teams in Europe with the funding of European Research Council (ERC).

This has been made possible with the signing of an arrangement between the European Commission and the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) to enhance scientific cooperation.

The joint initiative is the second of its kind for the ERC with an Indian funding body, a press statement by the European Commission said here today.

With the signing of this arrangement, a first important step has been set. More cooperation in research and innovation, in all areas, including the social sciences and humanities, will be available under the EU next research and innovation programme ‘Horizon Europe’ (2021-2027), the statement said.

The Implementing Arrangement was signed by Ambassador of the European Union to India Ugo Astuto and Member Secretary of the ICSSR Virendra Kumar Malhotra in a virtual mode.

This initiative will provide opportunities to Indian researchers (Principal Investigators of Research Projects, Senior Fellowship Awardees and Post-Doctoral Fellows) who are supported by the ICSSR and want to pursue research collaborations with European researchers, supported by the ERC, the press statement said.

The role of the ERC and the ICSSR is to facilitate contacts between their respective scholars who are interested in international cooperation.

The EU and India already cooperate in the field of research and innovation, but this is the first scheme fostering frontier research in social sciences and humanities.

Commenting on the development, Astuto said, “Science has no borders. Global research collaboration is essential for developing sustainable solutions to global and societal challenges. This arrangement will help foster collaboration in the field of social sciences between the EU and India”.

Maria Cristina Russo, Director for International Cooperation, added, “This initiative should be seen as a first step towards engaging on social sciences and humanities with India. Social sciences have a critical contribution to make in helping understand and design a more sustainable future for all. In the next EU framework programme Horizon Europe there will be many opportunities to increase our cooperation”.

Malhotra also said, “The expectations are that it will allow ICSSR scholars to deepen and widen their knowledge by engaging with ERC grantees across Europe”.

Since the start of the ERC in 2007, 62 Indian nationals have been awarded an ERC Grant. Compared with other non-European grant holders, Indians are ranked third after nationals of the US and Canada, which shows India’s scientific excellence.