Through our work in Science in the South Asia region, we are able to create opportunities for learning, institutional collaborations and academic partnerships.

Forming networks and partnerships in science enhances the international flow of information and trust, raising the profile and reputation of both the UK and South Asia in the field of science, research and higher education.

The South Asia Science programme supports British Council’s key objectives in scientific, technological, cultural and educational cooperation between the UK and other countries through capacity building and research collaboration opportunities. 

The countries in South Asia where the programme is delivered are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The programme was launched in 2017 and was scheduled to run until the end of 2019. Due to the impact of Covid-19, the programme has been on hold. The planned end dates of some projects have been extended until December 2021. New opportunities will be published on this webpage.

The South Asia science programme has three priority areas:

Water Initiative South Asia (WISA)

WISA is a five-year project (2018-2023) promoting science and research partnerships between the countries in South Asia and the UK. The initiative brings together key experts including researchers, scientists, decision makers and analysts,
 as well as senior managers of corporations and research institutions to review and investigate key aspects of water science in South Asia. 

The main themes of WISA are: 

  • Health, water quality and sanitation
  • Water resource management
  • Transboundary water cooperation

Mental Health Initiative for South Asia

The Mental Health Initiative for South Asia focuses on improving mental health in the UK and South Asia. The purpose of the scheme is to identify areas for collaboration and facilitate communication and partnerships for research on mental health between universities and research institutes in the UK and South Asia.

The main themes of the Mental Health Initiative are:

  • Mental health resilience
  • Child mental health
  • Mental health skills sharing 

Global Health Initiative for South Asia

The Global Health Initiative aims to strengthen research capacities and facilitate collaboration between global health scientists and practitioners. 

The main objectives of the initiative are to develop a knowledge exchange and learning platform on migration and health rights and facilitate new collaborations to address evidence gaps for responsive and coherent migration and health policies.

Under these priority areas different courses and research funding opportunities are provided.

  • Professional Development for Researchers
    Researcher Connect is a professional development course that focuses on the development of excellent communication skills for international and multicultural contexts. The aim is to enhance the productivity of individual researchers and create new opportunities for international collaborations.
  • Researcher Links provides opportunities for academics and researchers in the UK and South Asia to interact, learn from one another and build long-lasting working relationships.
  • Small-Scale Research Project Scheme provides funding (up to £5,000) for early career researchers in the UK and countries in South Asia to work collaboratively on a joint research project. The duration of the research project should be between 6 and 12 months.
  • Professional Training provides a variety of specialised learning opportunities to help practitioners in South Asia improve their professional knowledge, competence, skills and effectiveness.
  • Research Leadership Training Scheme provides emerging research leaders with the opportunity to develop their leadership and application for funding skills and ability to manage large scale projects at a regional/global level.

Current Opportunities

Applications are currently closed for the above South Asia opportunities. New opportunities will be published on this site. 


If you have any questions, please contact the South Asia Science team at