SPARSH is BIRAC’s social Innovation fellowship/award program aimed at creating a pool of biotech “Social Innovators” who can identify the needs & gaps within communities and further help to bridge the existing gaps either through an innovative product development or services. The Program is implemented through SPARSH Centers. SIIC IIT Kanpur is one among the 14 SPARSH centres pan India.

Focus Domains

Cohort 1: Waste to Value

Himanshu Gupta

Jitendra Choudhary

Prasanna Kumaran

Cohort 2: Maternal & Child Health



  • The Social Innovation fellowship is a prestigious award which will be provided to only Indian Citizen.
  • Indian undergraduate (B.Tech, BE, MBBS) or postgraduate (MSc, MS, M.Tech, MPhil, MD) & PhD below 35 years from fields of Life sciences, Agriculture, Engineering, medicine & human biology are eligible to apply.
  • Preferred areas of expertise - Public Health, Biological anthropology, Gynecology, Community health and other allied areas.
  • The selected fellows will have to undertake rigorous fieldwork for a period of 5 to 6 months. They must have prior field expertise and/or must be willing to explore the nuances of the field through immersive research across rural areas.


Application Process

  • Step 1

    Call for applications

  • Step 2

    First round of internal review

  • Step 3

    Announcement of shortlisted applicants

  • Step 4

    Interview/ Presentation to external selection committee

  • Step 5

    Final announcement of selected fellows

  • Step 6

    Pre-immersion phase begins

Months Program Duration

Fellows Supported

Funding Released

SPARSH Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the potential beneficiaries of the SPARSH fellowship?

The SPARSH Fellowship requires the Innovators to work fulltime and cannot be combined with fellowships from other funding organizations. Applicants must have completed their degree or must be able to produce a provisional degree at the time of selection. We are inviting applicants interested in exploring solutions for burning public health issues focused in maternal and child health. Public health professionals, medical professionals, engineers, and science graduates with given eligibility can apply to work on an innovative idea through problem identification from field.

Can I apply if I am a UG / PG student?

Current students in the last year of their degree can apply. They will need to produce a provisional degree certificate at the time of onboarding, if selected as a SPARSH fellow. However, selected individuals cannot pursue other jobs/ fellowships/ education degrees alongside the SPARSH fellowship.

Do I need to have an idea before applying to SPARSH?

No, the applicant must be able to provide the proof of their eligibility and establish a keen interest in social innovation and entrepreneurship. The selected fellows will work in the field as a part of the immersion phase and select a problem statement during the course of the fellowship.

The fellows will develop a prototype based on the selected problem statement as the key deliverable of the SPARSH fellowship.

Should I have a guide/mentor?

No, it is not compulsory to have a guide or mentor with a technical and/or business expertise. The SPARSH centre (SIIC IIT Kanpur, in this case) will connect fellows with mentors and industry experts throughout the course of the fellowship. SIIC IIT Kanpur offers unmatched industry connects in public health and will facilitate clinical immersion with prestigious medical institutions for the fellows. A dedicated program manager will offer round-the clock support to foster critical.

Is the duration of the project extendible?

No. The project has to finish in 18 months.

What is the program structure?

The 18 months fellowship will start from the Pre-Immersion orientation and Induction phase. The fellowship is divided into five key stages.

1- Recruitment & Selection of Social Innovator Fellows: The SPARSH Centres will complete the process of selection of SPARSH fellows within 2 months of approval from BIRAC to operationalize the program. Each partner shall recruit a maximum of 5 fellows for 18 months under a particular theme.

2- Pre-Immersion orientation & Induction: Once the fellows are selected, SPARSH partners are expected to brief the fellows about objectives & expected outcomes of the program as well as provide necessary tools and guidance to identify existing gaps & needs in the identified thematic area.

3- Immersion Program:The “immersion” component of the program would be for a period of 5- 6 months. During this period the social innovators would ideally be exposed to both clinical settings as well as rural (or urban resource poor) community settings. Within the clinical landscape, it would be desirable that the fellows gain exposure at 3 levels- primary, secondary & tertiary healthcare.

4- Post Immersion Filtration:On completion of the immersion component, fellows are expected to do desk research to understand various solutions explored and list out all the gaps & need analysis carried out during immersion. 5- Product Design, Prototyping and Delivery Mechanism. This stage will provide the live prototype development environment or planning a delivery implementation to the Social innovators. The detailed plan of action submitted by applicant will be reviewed by Partner and a report for release of grant should be submitted to BIRAC