Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest medical research bodies in the world. As early as in 1911, the Government of India set up the Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) with the specific objective of sponsoring and coordinating medical research in the country. After independence, several important changes were made in the organisation and the activities of the IRFA. It was redesignated in 1949 as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) with considerably expanded scope of functions. The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The Council's research priorities coincide with the National health priorities, such as: control and management of communicable diseases, fertility control, maternal and child health, control of nutritional disorders, developing alternative strategies for health care delivery, containment within safety limits of environmental and occupational health problems; research on major non-communicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, blindness, diabetes and other metabolic and haematological disorders; and mental health research and drug research (including traditional remedies). All these efforts are undertaken with a view to reduce the total burden of disease and to promote health and well-being of the population.
ICMR promotes biomedical research in the country through intramural as well as extramural research. Over the decades, the base of extramural research and also its strategies have been expanded by the Council. Intramural research is carried out currently through the Council's (i)21 Permanent Research Institutes/Centres which are mission-oriented national institutes located in different parts of India and address themselves to research on specific areas such as tuberculosis, leprosy, cholera and diarrhoeal diseases, viral diseases including AIDS, malaria, kala-azar, vector control, nutrition, food & drug toxicology, reproduction, immunohaematology, oncology, medical statistics, etc. and (ii) 6 Regional Medical Research Centres which address regional health problems, and also aim to strengthen or generate research capabilities in different geographic areas of the country. Extramural research is promoted by ICMR through: (i) Setting up Centres for Advanced Research in different research areas around existing expertise and infrastructure in selected departments of Medical Colleges, Universities and other non-ICMR Research Institutes; (ii) Task force studies which emphasise a time-bound, goal-oriented approach with clearly defined targets, specific time frames, standardized and uniform methodologies, and often a multicentric structure; and (iii) Open-ended research on the basis of applications for grants-in-aid received from scientists in non-ICMR Research Institutes, Medical colleges, Universities etc. located in different parts of the country.
Links to the health workforce crisis
In addition to research activities, the ICMR encourages human resource development in biomedical research through: research fellowships, short-term visiting fellowships, short-term research studentships, and Various Training Programmes and Workshops conducted by ICMR Institutes and Headquarters.
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