PSF Competitive Research Grant for COVID-19


Pakistan Science Foundation Covid-19 Call for Proposals Under Competitive Research Grant

Pakistan Science Foundation under “PSF Competitive Research Grant” invites research proposals from scientists/technologists/ engineers/ technopreneurs to carry out indigenous research to better understand and address challenges pertaining to the recent spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and allied issues.

Who can apply:

PSF Competitive Research Grants will facilitate the technological transformations for a strong, dynamic and internationally competitive economy. Under the proposed scheme following can be funded:

  1. Individual Researchers
  2. Consortium Research Grants for addressing National Challenges and Issues awarded to Joint Ventures of the public sector/HEC recognized organizations with each other or with private organizations.
  3. Research Projects under the Triple Helix Model to focus on Commercialization of R&D awarded to Academia/ R&D organizations and Industry Collaborations.

Researchers from HEC recognized public & private sector universities, public sector R&D organizations and industry can apply under the funding criteria given below. Principal Investigator should be from HEC recognized University or public sector R&D organization and private industry can be onboard for pilot scale/commercial trials, production and marketing activities.

Funding Categories:

i. Consortium Research Grants involving multiple organizations/institutions from multiple professions/disciplines

Consortium Research Plan

Researchers from HEC recognized public & private sector universities, public sector R&D organizations and industry with research based expertise can pool their R&D capabilities for socio-economic uplift by resolving Mega issues of the country The whole consortium should have the joint ownership of research results.

1.     Scope of National Issue:

A brief of the issue in the related field along-with its details and impact on the national economy to let the Technical Committee to evaluate the importance to address the National Issue.

2.     How to address the National Issue:

How the research components will be divided and how the research execution will be coordinated to have a concerted and productive outcome.

3.     Consortium Details: Team Composition:

Who will do what? Along-with the details of the expertise and the tasks assigned to each partner in the consortium.

4.     Brief SWOT Analysis:

Compare the Consortium expertise and the technical requirements of the National Issue along-with probability of success and failure of the research results.

5.     Expected Economic Gains after Project Completion:

Keeping in view the SWOT, what are the expected economic gains in both the cases of success, partial success and failure?

ii. Triple Helix Model (Research in collaboration with industry)

Business Plan for Triple Helix Model

1.     The Executive Summary of the Business Opportunity:

A brief overview of the product/technology/service as an outcome of this project, potential target market, growth potential, financial requirements to adopt or commercialize this product/technology/service and who is willing to make these finances and the imminent critical issues in the business and the kind of assistance required at the level of commercialization of the outcome of the research project.

2.     Enterprise Description

What experiences and qualities to be invested in the product/technology/service commercialization and what kind of improvement you expect in the existing business portfolio of the enterprise going to invest in the business.

3.     Competitive Analysis

What are the key points which can strike down competition? Provide the technical details that how the project will be able to address issues better than the already available solutions with the competitors. Be it the better pricing, technology or the features in the existing product/technology/service.

4.     Innovation/Unique Selling Points

Why the outcome of this project should be commercialized? What are the differentiation points of selling the product/technology/service expected to result from this project? How the customer validation will be carried out

5.     SWOT Analysis

The comparative profile of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for the product/technology/service, under question to let the evaluators have overall assessment of the project viability.

6.     Marketing & Sales Plan

The overall marketing plan will assess the ways and means of transmitting benefits of the product/technology/service to the general masses. The private sector entity involved in this project will point their existing capabilities to demonstrate such marketing & sales plan on ground after completion of the PSF Competitive Research Grant.

7.     Operational & HR Plan

How the product will make its way into the market? Will the private sector industry will be able to meet required resources and human resources for this product/technology/service.

8.     Financial Analysis

Given every dimension of the product/technology/service developed out of this project, how the financial statements are expected to behave which make it an attractive investment for the industrial partner.

iii. Individual Researchers

Individual researchers can also apply for PSF Competitive Research Grant. However the proposal must be completed and the objectives should be well defined. It is better that individual researchers formulate a team and define roles for each team member.

Research Focus for PSF Competitive Research Grant:

Indigenous Technology and Materials Development

(Low-cost Diagnostic Kits and/or rapid point-of-care diagnostic test for detection of COVID-19, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) including Masks (Especially N95 and others), Tyvek Suits, Gloves, Goggles, Head Covers, Sanitizing agents for individual use and/or mass level using indigenous raw materials, ventilators for medical applications, Temperature Screening Devices and Microsystems for COVID-19)

Targeted Studies for Infection Prevention and Control

(COVID-19 outbreak in Pakistan and its pattern of spread, Population cohort studies including vulnerable populations, Test ranges, Recovery ratio, gender division and geographical division, ICT-assisted Augmented Discovery of Potential Inhibitors, Evaluation of Intervention Strategies in Response to the COVID-19 Outbreaks, Harnessing human mobility and surveillance data for disease forecasting during the COVID-19 epidemic, Multi-node Telehealth system for COVID-19)


(Causes, Clinical manifestation and diagnosis, Critical aspects of viral infection, replication, pathogenesis, and transmission, long-term protection against disease)

Preparing Proposals for PSF Competitive Research Grant:

i. Funding limit per project is Rs. 20.0 Million (Rs. 8.0 Million for Individual Researchers)

ii. The research is to combat COVID-19

iii. Project costing should be based on actual market rates

iv. Project should be prepared on prescribed proforma of Competitive Research Program

v. P.I. and Co-Pls can mention their budget requirement separately but total cost of a project should not exceed Rs. 20.0 million (Rs. 8.0 Million for Individual Researchers)

vi. Grants of award will be determined by subject experts, technical committees, Project Award Committees and Steering Committees. The decision of PSF will be final.

vii. Proposals under Triple Helix Model must be supported by a viable Business Plan.

viii. Proposals under Consortium Research Grants must be supported by the Consortium Research Plan between the team members from universities/ R&D organizations etc.

Deadline for Submitting Proposal for PSF Competitive Research Grant:

Guidelines & Details for Principal Investigators for PSF Competitive Research Grant

1.     Background:

Socio-economic progress of any nation is achievable by development and appropriate use of indigenous technologies through application and commercialization of research. Socio-economic progress is the most daunting task faced by the third world countries. Pakistan is a country blessed with tremendous amount of natural resources. However, a strong and sustainable link amongst research organizations, industrial community/end-users and funding institutions is somewhat lacking and has to be established to achieve the objective of economic self-reliance which may directly enhance the quality of life in any society.

Thus, ultimate aim of this grant is to give magnitude to R&D culture through improvement of existing R&D institutions, effective collaboration between academia, R&D organizations and industry and ultimately the economic development of the country.  Therefore, keeping in view the constraints that lies in the way of prosperous economy, the concept of the Competitive Research Programme is being introduced to enhance the effectiveness of the public money by supporting basic / applied research of the R&D organizations as well as the technological developments for the benefit of the economy. 

The funding under this Programme is based on the following main objectives:

  1. Import Substitution
  2. Enhancement of exports
  3. Indigenous Technology Development
  4. Societal Needs
  5. Inventions and Innovations

2.     Nature of the Projects:

Duration for the execution / completion of the project will be maximum upto 3 years with the maximum funding limit up to Rs. 20.00 Million (Rs. 8.0 Million for Individual Researchers). Competitive Research Grants will be provided for:

  1. Creation of new knowledge through publications in impact factor journals as well as ultimate dissemination and citations
  2. Development of the new processes/ products/ applications through indigenous skills.
  3. Indigenous Technology Development through the established International Partners.
  4. Improvements in the existing products/ processes according to the needs of economy.
  5. Value addition & Commercialization of the developed /established technologies.
  6. Pilot Plant Studies
  7. Inventions & Innovations

5.     Main Streams of Funding:

Following major categories will be funded under this Call of Competitive Research Grants:

I.      Criteria for Selection under Individual Research Grants:

  • Individual researchers from the public sector R&D and S&T  institutes;
    • Private sector researchers can submit proposals where proper financial management system is in place and the organization is involved in R&D with proper track record and/or management hierarchy to prudently manage R&D funds and deliver results;
    • PSF may consider “lone” inventors to be eligible for an individual grant if he/she has an established track record of successful R&D. These will be consulted with the Steering Committee for approval of grant and formulation of SOPs.
    • The limit under individual research grants will not exceed Rs. 8.00 million.
    • The project can be basic or applied nature.

II.      Criteria for Selection under Consortium Research Grants:

  • Researchers from different public sector institutions and universities can join hands to submit one (or more) multi-disciplinary research proposals on issues of national importance and such consortia may be encouraged through efforts of PSF, under the authority vested in it by the Steering Committee, and/or in collaboration other national policymaking bodies such as the Planning Commission, PARC, HEC, PCSIR, etc. through an Open Call process.
    • The proposals for Consortium Grants must be thematic, inter-disciplinary, and must address a national issue of high importance for which an Open Call has been issued. Although, PSF may entertain unsolicited proposals in cases of extreme importance or emergency, preference shall be given to proposals received under Open Calls on National Challenges.
    • Developing the consortium will be the responsibility of the Principal Investigator (or Lead Institution) though PSF may support this process by organizing Scientific Meetings of key stakeholders to discuss possible approaches to solving National Problems.
    • Consortium Research Grants will be funded upto Rs. 20.00 Million.
    • The project must be of applied and problem solving nature with a clearly identified immediate outcome to address a National Issue or Challenge of high importance.
    • A separate proforma of Consortium Plan should be accompanied with the projects under this category.

III.      Criteria for Selection under Triple-Helix Model:

  • The research proposals of public-private collaborations with private/industry cost-share (in cash or kind) shall be solicited and funded under the Triple Helix Model. 
    • Industry Letter of Intent / Consent with clearly defined commercial value and private sector cost-share during or after (for commercialization) shall be mandatory with 15-20% in cash & kind.
    • Project must clearly elaborate a meaningful participation of the private sector during and commercialization mechanism or handover to private sector as the ultimate end-user after the culmination of the project.
    • Triple- Helix Research will be funded upto Rs. 20.00 Million.
    • The project must be of applied nature.
    • A separate proforma of Business Plan should be accompanied with the projects under this category. The mechanism of commercialization will be part of this project.

The Project Proposals complete in all respects along-with C.Vs of the P.I., Co-P.I. and the details of the private sector industrial partners should be submitted through email. The soft copy can be emailed (in MS Word format) at

Project Manager
Competitive Research Programme
Pakistan Science Foundation
1-Constitution Avenue, G-5/2
051-9202468 (Fax)

Project proposals for immediate solutions should be emailed to PSF before April 12, 2020.

How to Apply and Download Application Form for PSF Competitive Research Grant

i. Forms and guidelines can be downloaded from PSF website

ii. Soft copy of the complete project proposals along-with C.Vs (in single file of MS Word format) should be sent at PSF.COVID19@GMAIL.COM.

For More Info:

(Dr. Mirza Habib Ali) Director Research/Project Manager 051-9204033 – 051-9209664

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