Penn India Research and Engagement Fund


Launched in October 2017, the Penn India Research and Engagement Fund (Penn IREF) is a competitive matching program designed to stimulate and support activity in India. The primary goals of the fund are:

  • To support outstanding research projects from across the University that are poised to make significant contributions to their field and catalyze transformative ideas in and across academic disciplines and schools.
  • To increase the study and understanding of India at Penn and create opportunities for meaningful student engagement, including the development of innovative curricular activities, new courses, and short term study opportunities, such as Penn Global Seminars.
  • To develop new, or strengthen existing, institutional and faculty-to-faculty relationships with Indian partners.

Fund Sizes and Fund Terms

Up to $2 million will be awarded through the Fund over two years, with up to $1 million being contributed by the Office of the Provost and up to $1 million from matching internal or external funds. The minimum award amount will be $25,000; there is no maximum award size.  The Penn IREF term is limited to three years.  

Fund Requirements

Beyond the goals of the fund, there are two technical requirements for all applicants:

  • Matching funds from internal or external sources as detailed in Call for Proposals document.
  • Robust collaboration with academic partners or other institutions in India.


All Penn faculty and senior administrators are eligible to apply.  Proposals must be endorsed by the PI’s School Dean and senior Financial Administrator.  For proposals that are generated by more than one School or Center, the leadership of all institutions must endorse the proposal.

Types of Support

The Penn India Research and Engagement Fund will support a wide range of activities including:

  • Research and academic collaborations
  • Data collection and field/archival work
  • Conferences, symposia, and workshops
  • Professional consultation and collaboration
  • Short-term or embedded courses that bring students to India
  • In-country (India) travel for partners or collaborators
  • Costs associated with Penn faculty doing extended research in India
  • Hiring of overseas-based temporary employees essential to the project
  • International airfare to/from India is allowed (up to five economy class round-trip tickets/annum)

What is Not Allowable

The Provost’s Office funds may not be used for:

  • Faculty salary
  • Operational support
  • Payments to partner institutions for indirect costs or facilitation/hosting fees (actual cost reimbursement is allowed)
  • 2017 Timeline
  • Call for Proposals:

    October 13, 2017

    Proposals Due:

    January 19, 2018

    Awards Announced:

    March 2018

  • Information Sessions
  • Have questions about Penn IREF?  Join us for an information session to learn more about the fund! 

    December 5, 2017 | 2:00 PM

    Policy Lab, Perry World House 

    Register Here

  • 2017 Penn IREF Call for Proposals/Application Instructions
  • Download file