The Chingari Smalls Grants Scheme could be the spark you need to get your India related project off the ground. Quite literary meaning ‘spark’ in Hindi, the grants program, run by the Australia India Institute (AII), is an opportunity for you to apply for a small amount of money (between AUD $1,000 and AUD $5,000) that could just make all the difference for your collaborative research project, event or initiative that will help connect Australia and India.

Applications are open to nearly anyone with a relevant project, who are residing permanently in Australia or studying in Australia for a tertiary qualification. This includes researchers, practitioners, professionals, and members of the public. All you need to do is pitch your project.


What projects can you seek assistance for?

The Chingari Small Grants Scheme is open to a broad range of projects that will bring significant benefit in terms of understanding India in Australia and that fit within the AII’s core themes of education, skills, and training; health and technology; governance, security and justice; and cities, infrastructure, and sustainability.

There are so many possibilities. For example, initiatives that have previously been selected for funding include:

– A virtual reality enabled education project

– A film project exploring the impact of broadband Internet in rural India

– An art project in conjunction with the Kochi Muziris 2016/17 Biennale; a youth exchange enabling staff from Oaktree’s partner NGO’s in India to gain experience in Australia; and

– A health project to improve emergency responses to infectious diseases.

A full list of previous projects, to help you get an understanding of other possibilities, is available on the AII’s website.


How to apply

There are currently three rounds of grants with applications closing on May 1, September 1 and January 1 respectively each year. All you need to do is submit a 750 word proposal that includes:

  1. An outline of the project
  2. An explanation of how it fits with the Chingari scheme
  3. A budget and timeline

In terms of how it fits with the Chingari scheme, you should be clear in your application about what benefits the project brings to understanding India in Australia, how the project will be delivered, including evidence of other funding (the Chingari grants are designed as kick-starter funding or funding to fill specific gaps), and how you will work with the AII to disseminate the outcomes of your project. The AII notes that it is keen to work with successful applicants in this regard, particularly through organising seminars or other innovative forms of communication to promote your initiative. Successful applications can contact Tess Gross, EA to Craig Jeffrey at [email protected] to discuss possible options.

Applications will be assessed against the following four criteria:

  1. Significant benefits in terms of understanding of India in Australia, including benefits to the AII itself – e.g. working with the AII to help disseminate your findings
  2. Cogent and careful explanation of how the money will be used, with a clear budget
  3. Evidence of funding sought from other sources
  4. Links to the AII’s core themes as noted above

The AII asks that applications be submitted to [email protected]. It also encourages you to contact its friendly staff with any questions prior to submitting to the same email address. Full application details are available on the AII website.

For more information on what it’s like researching in India, read Noni’s experience living and working in Mumbai as a PhD candidate or for creative ideas listen to James’ interview with Dr. Jane Dyson about how social research in India led to making her first film: lifelines.

And, don’t forget to read Asia Options’ 10 important tips for successful applications before you begin writing your Chingari Small Grant proposal.


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