Sponsored Research (RESPOND)


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has evolved a programme through which financial support is provided for conducting research and development activities related to Space Science, Space Technology and Space Application to academia in India. This programme of Research Sponsored by ISRO is called RESPOND. In special cases research and development projects proposed by non-academic R & D laboratories can also be supported through this programme. The aim of RESPOND is to encourage quality research in areas of relevance to the Indian space programme.

The primary objective of the Indian Space programme is to harness the advanced research areas of space science and technology for national development and to derive the maximum benefit for the people of India. The Indian Space Programme includes the following major elements:

Demonstration of the feasibility of deriving from space science and technology- applications in space communications, long distance education, earth resources mapping/survey, meteorology and geodesy.

Development of indigenous capability for design and development of orbiting satellites for scientific research and space applications, sounding rockets and satellite launch vehicles.

RESPOND (Sponsored Research) programme started in the 1970s aims at encouraging academia to participate and contribute in various space related activities. Under RESPOND; projects are taken up by universities/academic institutions in the areas of relevance to Space Programme. Apart from this, ISRO has also set up Space Technology Cells at premiere institutions like Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) - Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur & Madras; Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and Joint Research Programme with University of Pune (UoP) to carry out research activities in the areas of space technology and applications. These STCs and JRP are guided by Joint Policy Committee's (JPC) chaired by Director/Vice Chancellor of the respective institution and with members from ISRO/DOS (Senior Scientists/Engineers) & the respective institution. Under the STC, projects are taken up by the faculty of the Institute (for more details visit: www.csre.iitb.ac.in/isro_cell; www.iitk.ac.in/dord/isro; www.kcstc.iitkgp.ernet.in; www.icandsr.iitm.ac.in/ISRO_IITM_CELL; www.unipune.ac.in/isro ); List of Compeleted Projects under  STCs from 2008-March 2018; List of Ongoing Projects under STCs as of April 2018.

The main objectives of the RESPOND Programme is to establish strong links with academic institutions in the country to carry out research and developmental projects which are of relevance to space and derive useful outputs of such R&D to support ISRO programmes. RESPOND programme aims to enhance academic base, generate human resources and infrastructure at the academic institutes to support the space programme. The major activity of RESPOND is to provide support to research projects in wide range of topics in space technology, space science and applications areas to universities/ institutions. In addition conferences, workshops and publications, which are of relevance to space research, are also being supported.

General rules



ISRO Research Fellowships, Research Associateships and Research Scientists hereinafter referred to as Fellowships/ Associateships/ Scientists are awarded for specific projects or Education/Research Schemes approved by ISRO.Change of level of Research Fellow, subsequent to the approval of the project will not be permitted.



The recipients of these Fellowships/ Associateships /Scientists are expected to conduct research work whole time under the Principal Investigator of the ISRO sponsored project. In special cases of individual Research Fellows/Associates, the candidates could be governed by the conditions of Research work as specified by the projects/ programmes/ schemes for which the Fellowships have been offered by ISRO.



ISRO may nominate a member in the committee(s) appointed by the institution in connection with the approved project.



The Fellows/ Associates/ Scientists, appointed for ISRO project, shall not be transferred from one institution to another.



The award of ISRO Fellowships/Associateships/ Scientists does not imply any assurance or guarantee by or from ISRO or any kind of employment to the beneficiaries.



Generally the upper limit for the period of Fellowships/ Associateships/ Scientists will be the same as that of the project. However, in exceptional cases, mainly to enable the Fellow to complete all formalities required for submission of doctoral thesis, ISRO may consider extension of the fellowship purely based on the merit on case by case basis. However, such extensions cannot be claimed as right by either fellow or PI.




Leave for a maximum period of 30 days in a year, in addition to general holidays, may be allowed to the Fellows/ Associates/ Scientists during the tenure of Fellowships/ Associateships/ Scientists by the appropriate authority in the university/institution. The general holidays, however, do not include the vacation period e.g., summer, winter and pooja vacations.




Monthly emoluments of the Fellowships/ Associateships/ Scientists will be paid by the concerned institution by utilizing the project grant.

Note: The scales of pay, service benefits, terms and conditions, etc for appointment are subject to revision from time to time by the Department of Space/Government of India.

Research Fellowships

Junior Research Fellow (JRF) / Senior Research Fellow (SRF)

Research Fellow


Ist & 2nd Yr (monthly emoluments)

Junior Research Fellow (JRF)

(i) Post Graduate (PG) Degree in Basic Science with NET or equivalent qualification


 (ii) Graduate Degree in Professional Course with NET /GATE or Equivalent Qualification.


 Post Graduate degree in Professional Course







Senior Research Fellow(SRF)

Qualification prescribed for JRF with two years of research experience


Note: The performance of the Junior Research Fellows (JRF) shall be reviewed on completion of the two years, by an appropriate Review Committee duly constituted by the Directors of Centres/Units. Based on the recommendations of the review committee and approval of the Director of Centre/Unit, Junior Research Fellow may be awarded the position of Senior Research Fellow (SRF).


NET Examinations and Its Equivalent for Coverage under the OM.


Any National Level Examination conducted by the Central Government departments/agencies for admission to PhD programme are considered equivalent to NET. The following are the list of examination which can be equated to NET:


  1. CSIR-UGC National Eligibility Test Including NET –Lecturership.
  2. Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) conducted by MHRD.
  3. Joint Admission Test (JAM) conducted by MHRD.
  4. Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT) conducted by MHRD.
  5. Biotechnology Eligibility Test & Test conducted in Bio-Informatics by Bio-Informatics National Consortium.
  6. Joint Entrance Screening Test (JEST), Joint Graduate Entrance Examination for Biology & Interdisciplinary Life Sciences (JGEEBILS) conducted by Department of Atomic Energy.
  7. JRF Entrance Examination conducted by Indian Council of Medical Research.
  8. All India Competitive Examination (AICE) conducted by Indian Council of Agricultural Research.


Research Associates (RA): The fellowship for Research Associates may be fixed as a consolidated amount at any of three pay levels given below depending upon the qualification and experience.

Educational Qualification: Doctorate or equivalent degree in Science/Engineering/ Technology or having 3 years of research, teaching and design and development experience after ME / MTech with atleast one research paper in Science Citation Indexed (SCI) journal.

Sl. No.


per month(Rs)


Research Associate I (RA-I)



Research Associate II (RA-II)



Research Associate III (RA-III)


Research Scientists (RS):

The fellowship for Research Scientists remains unaltered

Sl. No.

Scales (as per VI CPC)


(PB-3) 15600-39100  + GP of  Rs 5400


(PB-3) 15600-39100  + GP of  Rs 6600


(PB-3) 15600-39100  + GP of  Rs 7600


Other scales below 15600-39100  + GP of Rs 5400 as recommended by VI CPC and approved by Govt. of India

Service conditions

Dearness Allowance: JRFs, SRFs and Research Associates will not be entitled to this allowance. The Research Scientists will be eligible to draw DA as per rates of Central Government as per rules of the local institutions where they are working.

House Rent Allowance: House Rent Allowance will be allowed to all research fellows viz.Junior Research Fellows (JRF), Senior Research Fellows (SRF), Research Associates (RA) and Research Scientists (RS), if they are not provided with hostel accommodation, as per rules of the institutions where they are working. For this purpose, the fellowship amount for JRF/SRF / Research Associates and Research Scientists will be taken as Basic Pay.

Medical Benefits: The JRF, SRF, Research Associates and Research Scientists will be allowed medical benefits, as per rule of the institution where they are working.

Leave and other service benefits:  JRFs/SRFs are eligible only for casual leave while Research Associates/Scientists are eligible for leave as per rules of the Institutions. Maternity leave as per Govt. of India instructions would be available to all female JRFs/SRFs/ RAs/RSs.

Participation of JRF/SRF/ RA/RS in any scientific event in India or abroad will be treated as “on duty”. The travel entitlement for JRF/SRF/RA/RS for participation in scientific events/ workshops In India will continue to be the same as earlier i.e., IInd AC by rail.

Bonus & Leave Travel Concession: Not admissible to any category.

Retirement Benefits: JRFs / SRFs / Research Associates and Research Scientists will not be entitled to these benefits.However, Research Scientists who are appointed for the duration of the project may be allowed to be members of the New Pension Scheme (NPS) of the Institution.

Encouragement for pursuing higher studies:  JRFs/SRFs may be encouraged to register for higher studies and the tuition fees to undertake these studies may be reimbursed from the contingency grant sanctioned under the project grant, if required.

Benefits to Host Institutes: Overhead expenses of 20% of the total project cost not exceeding Rs 3.00 lakhs may be permitted to the host institutions for meeting their costs   including infrastructural facilities.

Obligations of JRF/ SRFI RA:

   a)  JRF/SRF/RA/RS shall be governed by the disciplinary regulations of the host institute. 

   b) The JRF/ SRFI RA/RS must send a detailed consolidated report of the research work done during the entire period of Fellowship on completion of the tenure/ resignation at the earliest.

The periodic enhancement of Research fellowship: The Research Fellows, Research Associates and Research Scientists are not entitled for annual increment.

The revised emoluments will take effect from Oct 01, 2014 for all categories of JRS/SRF/ Research Associates.