Scheme for funding High Risk -High Reward Research


The Scheme for funding High Risk - High Reward Research aims at supporting proposals that are conceptually new and risky, and if successful, expected to have a paradigm shifting influence on the S&T. This may be in terms of formulating new hypothesis, or scientific breakthroughs which aid in emergence of new technologies.


  • Applicant should be an Indian citizen residing in India.
  • The applicant(s) must hold a regular academic/research position in a recognized institution.
  • The proposals can be submitted by an individual or by a team of investigators. Proposals submitted by a team of investigators must identify a Principal Investigator, who will spearhead the research objectives and administer the grant.

Nature of Proposals to be Supported:

The scheme is aimed at supporting proposals that are new, challenge existing hypothesis, and provide 'out of box' thinking on important problems. It should contain significant risk elements but promise of high reward if the difficulties could be circumvented. It is expected that the success of such proposals will have far reaching implications in S&T. Outcome could be new and significant theoretical or experimental advances, formulation of new hypothesis, or breakthrough science which will lead to new technologies. Proposals that address scientific issues which will result in 'incremental' knowledge will not be supported. Ideally, the proposal must contain bold research ideas which will have wide ranging impact and potential for new scientific and technological innovations.

Nature & Duration of Support

  • The funding is provided normally for a period of three years. In exceptional cases, the duration can be up to 5 years as assessed by the expert committee.
  • No budget limit is prescribed for this type of projects. The research grant covers equipment, consumables, contingency and travel apart from overhead grants.

Selection & Mode of Application

  • Submission under HRHR henceforth can only be made against call for proposals which would concurrently open along with CRG.
  • The proposals will be evaluated through peer review processes as approved by the Board

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the difference between an EMR project and a High Risk High Reward (HRHR) project?

A1: Both EMR and HRHR projects are expected to address important and challenging issues resulting in advancement of scientific knowledge. However, in HRHR projects, the risks associated to address the proposed scientific issues are high, and if it is successfully solved, should result in high reward. This could be in the form of new hypothesis, methodology, process or products, and may have the potential to open up new frontiers in S&T. In other words, proposals resulting in 'incremental knowledge' will not be supported under the HRHR scheme.

Q2: Does the Board has any priority areas for funding HRHR projects?

A2: No. The Board funds all areas of Science and Engineering without discriminating any discipline. The proposal will be funded if it is conceptually new, risky and challenge the existing hypothesis and approaches. If successful, it is expected to open up new frontiers in science and technology.

Q3: Can I apply for a project under HRHR scheme when I am already implementing another project (such as EMR) in SERB?

A3: Yes. You can apply and implement a HRHR project, in addition any other project being implemented by you in SERB.

Q4: I am currently executing an HRHR project in the area of Chemical Sciences. I want to apply for another HRHR project related to Engineering Sciences. Will I be funded another project?

A4: No. Only one HRHR project can be executed at a time.

Q5: Are Co-Investigators allowed in IRRD project? If they are from different institutions, can the budget be provided separately to both the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator(s)?

A5: Yes. Co-Investigator(s) are allowed in IRRD project, provided the work proposed require complementary expertise for its implementation. Separate budget can also be provided to the Co-Investigator (s) even if they belong to different institutions.

Q6: Can more than one Industry be involved in a project? If yes, how the industry contribution be shared between them?

A6: More than one industrial partner can join with academic partner (one or more) in executing a IRRD project. All the industrial partners jointly should contribute at least 50% of the total approved project.

Q7: Is there any specific time-line for applying proposals under this scheme?

A7: SERB is planning to fix time-lines to call for proposals for each scheme. Please look at notifications in websites ( and for information.