Other links:

Other links:

2023 in Research: A Glance at the Research and Development Office, Ashoka University

From equipping laboratories with state-of-the-art infrastructure and high-quality research personnel to managing day-to-day services, the RDO is committed to enhancing the research environment at Ashoka University

Yukti Arora

18 January, 2024 | read

Ashoka’s Research and Development Office (RDO) supports and empowers faculty and researchers in pursuing their research objectives. From equipping laboratories with state-of-the-art infrastructure and high-quality research personnel to managing day-to-day services, the RDO is committed to enhancing the research environment at Ashoka University. The RDO provides centralised support to Ashoka’s researchers in their academic pursuits, maintaining a comprehensive funding database and disseminating information about funding opportunities across various disciplines.

In FY 2022-23, 32 new extramural grants with a funding commitment of 25.75 Cr were activated through the RDO. These research grants will be used to address some of the world’s most challenging and pressing issues, such as providing safer workplaces for female workers, expanding genomic surveillance for SARS-CoV-2, understanding the impact of COVID-19 on urban poor neighbourhoods and the question of antimicrobial resistance.

About 20 projects were awarded through domestic funding sources, including Axis Bank, the Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research and the Defence Research & Development Organisation. A further 12 projects were awarded by recognised international sources such as the Royal Society of Chemistry, Pfizer Inc., and the Centre For Economic Policy Research.

Ashoka University earned a 9.50 Cr INR grant under DST’s PURSE programme for advancing research on “Holistic Disease Dynamics in Indian Context.” Ashoka is one of 12 leading universities that have received the grant under the DST-PURSE 2022 scheme. The Simons-Ashoka Early Career Fellowship, the first such fellowship to be instituted by the Simons Foundation outside the United States, provides USD 1,000,000 to support interdisciplinary postdoctoral researchers in biomedical sciences and related fields.

In FY 2022-23, the RDO successfully handled 72 extramural grants, overseeing the release, utilisation, and financial reporting of over INR 17 Cr funds disbursed for these grants.

The RDO also forged strategic partnerships with top Indian and foreign universities, tackling key challenges in Healthcare, Ex-situ conservation, Astrophysics, Technology Development, Clinical Research, Data Analysis, AI, ML, and deep learning.

A landmark MoU has been signed with Carl Zeiss for establishing a Core Imaging Facility at Ashoka, raising awareness about state-of-the-art imaging methods and offering hands-on experience to the Indian research community. Zeiss will not only supply cutting-edge microscopy equipment to Ashoka but will also station two trained personnel here.

New research alliances were formed with institutions like the S.N Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences, Dr Dangs Lab, I-Hub for Robotic and Autonomous Systems Innovation Foundation, Université Côte d’Azur, The University of Groningen, and the Centre for Chronic Disease Control.

Signing of MoU between Ashoka University (left), and SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences (right)

In 2023, RDO shared 150+ national and international funding advertisements with Ashoka researchers, facilitating over 70 grant submissions. The RDO team crafted a Compendium on Research Grants stemming from the insights gathered during the “Lecture Series on Research Grants and Collaborations” in 2022. This compendium provides Ashoka researchers with comprehensive information on grant types, mandates, and direct access links to relevant websites. Additionally, RDO launched a Grant Database, encompassing diverse options like national/international grants, private foundations, and collaborative initiatives for research projects across disciplines.

In providing cutting-edge laboratory facilities to the Ashoka community, the RDO played a pivotal role, overseeing the establishment of state-of-the-art labs such as the Bio-instrumentation facility, Biorepository facility, and the Magnetic Characterization Lab.

Biorepository Lab (left); Complex Magnetic Characterization Lab (centre);
Central Instrumentation Facility (right)

The past year saw significant equipment acquisitions, including the CFX Opus Real-time PCR and Chemidoc system from Biorad, Glove Box Puremod SFT2 from Jacomax, High-Speed Refrigerated Centrifuge CR22N from Eppendorf, and ZNL Ventor Network Analyzer from Rohde and Schwarz. This year, RDO also published Research Scape showcasing Ashoka University’s research infrastructure.

In 2023, the RDO effectively managed substantial growth in Ph.D. programme enrollments and Research Personnel joining under various grants at Ashoka University. From 115 research personnel, the Ph.D. fellow count rose to 163 across 11 departments. The Department of Mathematics introduced its Ph.D. programme, recruiting scholars into its flagship cohort. Collaborating with Cactus, Editage, the RDO initiated a successful online researcher training programme covering modules on research writing and communication skills, research ethics, the peer review process, etc. For the 2023 Monsoon cohort, the RDO organised a comprehensive Ph.D. interaction meeting, offering valuable insights on well-being, creative writing, research ethics, methodology, and campus facilities.

The RDO also organised a series of two lectures to discuss and talk about the Nobel Laureates of 2023 from the fields of Sciences and Economics. These talks celebrated their achievements, disseminated knowledge, inspired students, fostered interdisciplinary connections, highlighted current relevance, and promoted public engagement.

Ashoka Colloquia on Nobel Prize 2023 organised by the Research and Development Office

The RDO is committed to broadening Ashoka’s research outreach through streamlined communication efforts, including Researchers’ Interviews, Research Highlights, and impactful social media campaigns. In 2023, it achieved significant milestones, publishing and promoting 15+ Research Highlights across 10 disciplines, generating around 4,000 website views. Complementing these were 8 Research Interviews, attracting approximately 3,400 views, and multiple Research News pieces reinforcing Ashoka’s research excellence. The inaugural research magazine, “Enquiry,” served as a valuable document for fundraising and collaborations.

Our key initiatives included webinars like “Sciences at Ashoka ” and “Scientifically Speaking Season 5,” student research interviews, and social media campaigns. Ashoka actively supported and participated in events like the NASA SARI Synthesis Forestry Meeting, Thermodynamical Formalism for Z actions, International Workshop on Quantum Systems in Chemistry, Physics, and Biology (QSCP-XXVI), Conference on River Islands Redefining the Anthropocene, Pluralising India: Locations of the political, Locations of History, and IR and Decolonisation, reinforcing a robust presence in academic forums.

Snapshot of some of the research stories and interviews published in 2023

The RDO is actively pursuing increased automation and optimisation of its processes concerning grant cycle management and research personnel administration. Additionally, the RDO aims to conceptualise and conduct capacity-building and training workshops, emphasising grantsmanship, research communication, and other essential research-related soft skills to empower the next generation of researchers.

Study at Ashoka

Study at Ashoka