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Competitive Research grants are expected to facilitate and support basic and applied scientific research for the advancement of knowledge and socio-economic development of the country while promoting capacity building of S&T personnel. It will also provide assistance to supplement the financial, physical and manpower resources available for scientific research in the scientists' own institutions.


NSF will be awarding Competitive Research Grants to undertake research in the following disciplines:

• Agriculture and Food Sciences
• Basic Sciences (Physical/Chemical/Biological Sciences)
• Biotechnology 
• Nanotechnology
• Engineering Sciences and Architecture
• Environment & Biodiversity                                                                     
• Health Sciences
• Indigenous Knowledge
• Information Communication Technology (Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, etc.)
• Library & Information Science
• Science & Technology Policy Studies
• Science Education
• Social Sciences


•To encourage researchers to utilize their knowledge for the benefit of society
• To facilitate researchers with postgraduate qualifications to enhance their career prospects
• To facilitate science/engineering graduates to pursue postgraduate research degrees
• To strengthen the infrastructure facilities for research



•The Applicant/Principal Investigator should have a postgraduate research degree (PhD, MPhil) and publications/patents in the relevant area.    Applicants with MSc, MD or MS qualifications should have a minimum of one-year research component in the course and publications/patents in the relevant area. Co-Investigators should have postgraduate qualifications or and research experience as evidenced by publications/patents.
• For first time applicants to the NSF, the upper limit of funds will be Rs. 2 M per project excluding allocations for Research Personnel. The grants duration will be 02 years.
• Full-time Research Students can be allocated only for Principal Investigators with a minimum of two years of postdoctoral research experience.
• Full-time Research Scientists can be allocated only for Principal Investigators with adequate research experience, as determined by the NSF.


Call for Applications 2020 is closed.

  • Application form (doc, 420kb)  Sorry! Applications are now closed.  
  • Programme Brief(pdf, 310kb)

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The National Science Foundation (NSF), which believes in multidisciplinary and collaborative research to address national needs and to drive the national research system to produce well defined outputs that will benefit the intended end users, initiated the National Thematic Research Programme (NTRP) where the themes are decided as per the national priorities. In this Programme the NSF adopts a new approach, where the NSF itself identifies the research problems and invite research groups who have demonstrated their capability in conducting research successfully over the years to carry out research on these identified research problems.

The NSF has identified Food Security, Climate Change & Natural Disasters and Water Security as the priority areas to start with under the NTRP. The Research Programme will address problems under each theme using a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach to carryout research on identified problems.

Under the NTRP it is expected to promote research which commence from national needs and terminate in producing end-products that can be harnessed for national development. Further it is expected that the research promoted under the proposed programme will achieve self-sustainability.

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This grant scheme provides financial support to eminent senior Scientists / Engineers with postgraduate or equivalent qualifications as determined by the Board of Management, to carry out fulltime research for up to 3 years. This scheme is kept in abeyance to be considered when the need arises.

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The NSF Postgraduate Research Scholarship scheme is implemented in order to increase the number of postgraduate research studies conducted by Sri Lankan graduates at local Universities. It is also intended to attract and encourage graduates from recognized Universities to conduct fulltime research leading to postgraduate research degrees and to encourage them to take up careers related to research. Applications for the first call of 2020 are closed. The second call is on hold due to the prevailing situation.


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