Ayurveda signifies knowledge of what promotes life as well as that which injures it. By definition, it transcends the practice of medicine, but popularly it is identified with India's traditional system of medicine which has been in vogue since the Buddhist period and continues to serve 70% of India's rural population. Research in Ayurveda has been dominated by studies on medicinal plants and the development of herbal drugs, which has a large market growing at 15% per year. However, basic research which employs modern biology, immunology, and chemistry to investigate the concepts, procedures,and products has received little attention. This gap calls out for correction lest the absence of basic studies according to modern scientific protocols should lead to Ayurveda being regarded as a form of "herbal therapy" as was done by the WaltonCommittee in the UK. Concepts of body constitution, digestive process of food in the gut and substrates in tissues, rejuvenation, body adaptation to seasons and taste as a chemical indicator are examples of the rich collection of cues that Ayurveda provides for the modern investigator. The programme on Ayurvedic Biology was initiated primarily by the office of the Principal ScientificAdvisor to the Government of India. The programme, now reconceived, is being implemented by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). Against this background, the SERB constituted a Task Force to promote the application of basic sciences in the investigation of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures and products, and nurture the discipline of Ayurvedic Biology.

Specific objectives:

  • Development of a basic understanding of the concepts, procedures and products of Ayurveda in terms of modern sciences such as Molecular biology, Immunology and Chemistry.
  • To Promote Human resource development in Ayurvedic Biology.
  • To Promote collaborative research with national institutions who are active in pursuing research activities on traditional medicine and may have shared interest in Ayurvedic biology.

  • 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.

Thrust areas of research:

  • Rasayana and degenerative diseases especially of the central nervous and musculo skeletal systems.
  • Prakriti and human genomics.
  • Role of pathya and nutritional sciences in health and disease.
  • Physiological, immunological and biochemical correlates of traditional Ayurvedic procedures such as Panchakarma

Operation of the Program:
The programme of Ayurvedic Biology will be steered by a Task Force to promote high quality research which would lead to major contributions to scientific knowledge and which could have implications for improving the standards of health care. The investigative work in this programme will necessarily involve the full participation of scientists and Ayurvedic experts who would be part of established institutions of science, medicine, and Ayurveda in India. Individual or groups of scientists, physicians and Ayurvedic experts are encouraged to submit project proposals on any interesting aspect of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures, or products, which would lend themselves to investigation by employing modern scientific protocols. All project proposals should conform to the standard SERB format for Ayurvedic Biology and would be considered on the basis of peer review.

Task Force:
The Task Force will be responsible for

  • Setting priorities, identifying research areas and developing proposals through meetings, brainstorming session etc.
  • Evaluate individual R&D proposals received from the project investigators and make appropriate recommendation for funding or otherwise.
  • Ensuring smooth implementation of the projects, monitoring of progress and mid-term correction and final evaluation of the achievements.
  • Suggesting any other means and modalities to fullfill the objectives of the Ayurvedic Biology programme.
  • Ensuring the proposals' duration, cost, items of expenditure etc. are specific to the requirements of the proposed research work.
  • Preparing detailed action plan for advancing the development of Ayurvedic Biology.

Specific Guidelines for submission of Project proposals.

  • Proposals could be submitted any time, but would be considered by the Task Force only twice a year.
  • Project proposals should be written with the same rigor as for any research proposal in any branch of modern science but the cues for the proposed study should emanate fromthe concept, procedures or products of Ayurveda. Modern biology, immunology, and chemistry provide most of the tools for research in Ayurvedic Biology.
  • As a matter of policy, Task Force will not consider project proposals relating to the development, standardization etc., of herbal drugs or reverse pharmacology; ethnopharmacology; or clinical trials of herbal products or Ayurvedic procedures for safety and efficacy.
  • All projects should be the joint effort of scientists and Ayurvedic experts whose respective institutions should be involved in carrying out the study.

How to apply online:
For successful online submission of the application the following points may be noted:
  • Applicant(s) should first register into the online website click here to register
  • After log-in, applicant(s) are required to fill all the mandatory fields in Profile Detail section under User Profile. which includes Bio-data, Photo, Institute Address etc.
  • If you have CO-PI in your proposal then ensure that all the CO-PI's are also registered into the system following the same procedure.
  • Some of the details of your proposal like Project Title (max 500 characters), Project summary (max 3000 characters), Keywords (max 6), Objectives of project (max 1500 characters), Expected output and outcome of the proposal (max 1500 characters), Budget (Manpower,Consumables,Travel, Equipment, Contingency, Overheads ) have to be entered at the time of proposal submission.
  • Other relevant information of the proposal has to be uploaded in single PDF file not more than 10 MB as other technical document (OTD). Download Template

Documents required (in PDF) should be in prescribed format:
  • Biodata (under user profile section) Download Template
  • Certificate from Principal Investigator Download Template
  • Endorsement Letter from the Head of Institution Download Template
  • If project is approved for SERB support, the Quotations of the approved equipment need to be uploaded within one month of the date of the Approval Letter.

Contact person Details:
The contact details of Programme Officers are given below:

Dr. Balachandar Venkatesan Phd, Scientist 'E'
Member Secretary- Health Science/Ayurvedic Biology
Science and Engineering Research Board
5 & 5A, Lower Ground Floor,
Vasant Square Mall,Plot No. A, Community Centre,
Sector-5, Pocket-5, Vasant Kunj
New Delhi-110070
Phone: 011-40000337.
Email: venkatbala[at]serb[dot]gov[dot]in

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: What is the main objective of the AB program?

The main objective of the AB program is to promote the application of basic sciences towards the investigation of Ayurvedic concepts, procedures and products with the materials and methods of Molecular Biology, Immunology and Biological Chemistry.


Q2: How is the Project Proposal submitted under AB program different from those supported by the ministry of Ayush?

A2: AB program confines itself to the subjects indicated in Question 2. It excludes herbal drug development, clinical research including clinical trials for safety and efficacy of drugs and medical procedures.


Q3: Does the Board have priority areas for funding under AB Program ?

A3: The current areas of interest are the following:

  • Rasayana and degenerative diseases especially of the central nervous and musculo skeletal systems.
  • Prakriti and human genomics.
  • Role of pathya and nutritional sciences in health and disease.
  • Physiological, immunological and biochemical correlates of traditional Ayurvedic procedures such as Panchakarma.
The above list is not rigid. Study of basic concepts and mechanistic basis of therapeutic effects in Ayurveda employing novel approaches would be considered.


Q4: What is the budget limit for the ABprojects supported by the SERB?

A4: There is no budget limit. However, the budget is decided based on the requirement for its successful implementation. The Investigator should propose a budget which is realistic based on proposed objectives and supporting experiments.


Q5: What is the normal duration of a project?

A5: The normal duration of a AB project supported is three years. However, depending on the quantum of work, the duration can vary as well.


Q6: Currently I am executing an EMR project under Life sciences. Whether I am eligible to apply for a project under Ayurvedic biology program?

A6: Yes.


Q7: I wish to apply for a project on plant based research. Will it will be considered under ABprogram?

A7: Projects that deal with ethnopharmacology will not be considered.


O8: I am a basic biologist I wish to apply a project under AB. Is it mandatory that I should have co-Investigator with Ayurvedic knowledge?

A8: Yes.


Q9: Are co-investigators allowed in ABproject? If they are from different institutions, can the budget be provided separately to both the principal investigator and co-Investigator (s)?

A9: Yes. Co-Investigator(s) are allowed in AB projects.Separate budget can also be provided to the co-investigator (s) even if they belong to different institutions. However, the co-Investigator (s) role and the budget should be appropriately justified. PI should clearly indicate a Co-Investigators in his institution, who should be qualified, ready and willing to take over in case the PI leaves.


Q10: How does the SERB monitor the progress of funded projects?

A10: Apart from submitting annual progress report and account statements, the investigators may also be called for presentation before the Task force. In certain cases, on site visit also made to assess the progress of work.


Q11: When can I apply for funding? Is there any time schedule for submission of application?

A11: Proposals can be submitted any time of the year.