The governments of the United States of America (through the Department of State) and India (through the Department of Science & Technology) have established the United States–India Science & Technology Endowment Fund (USISTEF) for the promotion of joint activities that would lead to innovation and entrepreneurship through the application of science and technology. The aim of the Fund is to support and foster joint applied R&D to generate public good through the commercialization of technology developed through sustained partnerships between U.S. and Indian researchers and entrepreneurs. The U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Fund activities are implemented and administered through the bi-national Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF).
Through a competitive grants program, the Fund selects and supports financially promising joint U.S.-India entrepreneurial initiatives that address the theme of "commercializing technologies for societal impact." These initiatives can originate from government, academic, non-governmental or commercial entities, and any combination thereof provided they focus on applied R&D, incorporate a business plan and proof of commercial concept, and have significant sustainable commercial potential.
The following is only an illustrative and not an inclusive list:
(Co Chair), Advisor & Head (IBCD)
Department of Science & Technology Govt. of India
National S&T Entrepreneurship Development Board
Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, New Delhi
Department of Biotechnology Govt. of India
Professor, Finance, Innovation & Entrepreneurship (IME)
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
Ministry of External Affairs Govt of India, New Delhi
Director & Chief
National Innovation Foundation Ahmedabad
Former Managing Director and CEO
SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd, Mumbai
Mission Director of Programme Management
Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), New Delhi
Start-up village, Cochin
(Co Chair), Minister
Environment Science & Technology Affairs, U.S. Embassy New Delhi
Special Advisor Office of Technology Transfer
National Institutes of Health, MD
Hitek Venture Partners, CA
Associate Director Innovation
Institute of Standards and Technology, MD
Agricultural Research Service U.S. Department of Agriculture, MD
Director, Office of Science
International Environmental & Scientific Affairs U.S.
Manging Director Tano
Capital/Tano Ventures Palo Alto, CA
Supports the development of affordable biomedical devices, diagnostic/preventive/curative measures, or food and nutrition products to improve health. (Drug development and clinical trials are not eligible activities in this category).
Supports efforts to reduce the digital/technology divide. This could include information and communication technologies with societal impact in areas such as water, agriculture, financial inclusion, and education, among other areas.
Subject to change with evolving priorities. Promising areas other than the above areas may also be considered.
Proposals must include a minimum of one partner from each country. Bi-national teams applying to the Endowment Fund will work together to commercialize technologies for societal impact.
The bi-national teams can include:
As a general policy, participation of large companies is not encouraged as a competitor for USISTEF grants. However , their participation would be encouraged if they can bring distinct value to the partnering start-up and demonstrate their long term interest. Notional cost(s) can be provided to such large companies to take care of their direct expenses.
Each bi-national team must include at the time of application an entrepreneurial (small-scale as opposed to large-scale) entity that will receive a portion of the grant and take the technology to the market. If partners are planning to form a new venture to commercialize the technology, the proposal should include planned incorporation date and the amount of grants requested for the new entity.
The teams should be able to accept the terms and conditions of the award (Annexure-I) in case the proposal is approved.
The relationship between the U.S. and Indian partners must be clearly defined, including ownership of intellectual property rights for the technology proposed to be developed and commercialized.
The applicants must make a credible case that the proposed technology can enter the market within 2-3 years.
Grants of up to Rs. 2.50 crores or approximately $400,000 (subject to prevailing exchange rate). Proposals outside this range may be considered under exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the U.S.-India Science & Technology Endowment Board (hereafter referred to as the 'Board').
The applicants should put together their Budget requirement based on realistic assessment, corresponding to direct cost involved and properly justified by the nature and quantum of work involved. An attempt to do over budgeting simply to fill the bandwidth of maximum grant size is out rightly discouraged.
It may be noted that Endowment Fund is an Indian Rupee Fund and all the grants are denominated in Indian rupees (INR) only. Awards are made in tranches according to project milestones and installment amounts are fixed in Rupees. For U.S. Awardees, the grant is transferred after converting it into USD at the prevailing exchange rate as on the date of disbursement with no adjustment made for foreign exchange rate fluctuations. However, the applicants are encouraged to consider requesting a provision under the contingency line item of up to ten percent (10%) of the total budget in the event of a devaluation of the rupee against the dollar.
The Board will give stronger preference to proposals that include a reasonable balance in the distribution of work and the grant between Indian and U.S. partners.
Grants will be released in a phased manner based on successful completion of milestones (which may include requirements to raise/ invest additional outside funding to support the project).
All milestones for the grants will be specified at the time of the award.
The Board reserves the right to limit its award to selected project activities and milestones and in doing so approve partial funding.
The applicants should thoroughly review the entire Information Handbook for detailed information and understanding the processing of the U.S. - India Science and Technology Endowment Fund at different stages1 .
The evaluation of all the submitted applications will be undertaken by the U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Board in consultation with external experts and per the need of the application.
1It may be noted that the U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Board may change the processes, timeline, formats and Terms and Conditions at any time without specific notice. The decisions of the U.S.-India Science and Technology Endowment Board will be final.
All reviewers must sign a non-disclosure and conflict of interest agreement (Annexure VIII) with the Indo-US Science & Technology Forum (IUSSTF), Executive Secretariat for the United States–India Science & Technology Endowment Board. All information provided throughout the proposal process will be kept in strict confidence; however, neither the Endowment Board nor IUSSTF will sign non-disclosure agreements with any applicants.