Latest calls from the Newton Fund

The Newton Fund is helping the higher education sector to access funding for international research collaboration and applicants to connect with host institutions in the UK. The Newton Fund covers three broad activities:

•People: increasing capacity in science and innovation, individually and institutionally in partner countries.
•Research: research collaborations on development topics.
•Translation: creating collaborative solutions to development challenges and strengthening innovation systems

For all the latest calls from the Newton Fund, see the UUK website.


New Global Challenges Research Fund Opportunities

Globe by Simon Tong CC BY-SA-NC 2.0

A raft of new calls have been released in recent weeks under the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) banner. You can find out more about them by following the links in the table below.

Several of the calls have restrictions on the number which can be submitted by the host institution, and these are marked with an asterisk (*). We will circulate details of any internal processes which apply via email but please contact us at an early stage if you are interested in developing an application for any of these calls.

Northumbria University has a GCRF Working Group and a network of staff with relevant research experience are available to provide guidance and support on bids to these schemes as they develop. Please visit our GCRF webpages to find out more.

Call Title Funder Closing date
Global Challenge Research Fund Foundation Awards STFC 05/09/2017
Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grants British Academy, Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society 06/09/2017
Engineering for Development Research Fellowships Royal Academy of Engineering 06/09/2017*
Institutional “pump-priming” awards to develop new opportunities in Global Nutrition and Health Research MRC 14/09/2017*
Institutional “pump-priming” awards to develop new opportunities in Global Mental Health Research MRC 14/09/2017*
Resilient and sustainable energy networks for developing countries EPSRC 21/09/2017 (EoI by 17/08/2017)
Interdisciplinary Research Hubs to Address Intractable Challenges Faced by Developing Countries RCUK Collective Call 29/09/2017 (Intention to Submit)*


STFC: Global Challenges Research Fund Foundation Awards

Globe by Simon Tong CC BY-SA-NC 2.0

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) have recently announced a call for Global Challenges Research Fund “Foundation Awards”. These will provide funding to address challenges faced by Low and Middle Income Countries based on STFC eligible research. Uses might include:

  • Developing new capacity building and/or research collaborations or partnerships, including training at all career levels
  • Partnership building including networks, seminars and workshops to explore and identify areas for cooperation, secondments and movement of people (including students)
  • Exploratory or pump priming research studies for investigation of new approaches and/or generation of preliminary data
  • Creating effective pathways to impact in LMICs

Two types of projects are available: small (<£100k, <12 months) projects aimed at exploring the needs of LMICs, building collaborations and/or piloting activities; and larger (>£100k, <24 months) projects where collaboration and proven approaches are established and in a position to deliver long term, sustainable impact.

There is a briefing event in London on 21st July which you can now register to attend.

The University’s GCRF Working Group is available to offer advice and guidance on partnerships with LMICs and GCRF-relevant research generally.


RCUK Global Challenges Research Fund ‘Town Hall’ meetings in June/July

RCUK has organised a series of Town Meetings to gather input from stakeholders on the strategy and delivery of the Global Challenges Research Fund.

The GCRF is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries through: challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; strengthening capacity for research and innovation within both the UK and developing countries; providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.

Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in high-level discussions around the initial RCUK GCRF challenge areas, as well as practicalities around delivery of the fund, in particular building capability overseas, enabling interdisciplinarity, ensuring impact in developing countries, and ensuring ODA compliance.

Registration is now open to individuals from any academic discipline or professional area (e.g. civil society organisations, NGOs etc.) with a vested interest in international development and global challenges. Please note that while this is an open registration process, individuals should be able to represent a breadth of discipline areas and approaches, and will be required to contribute to strategic discussions that may be outside of their usual academic or professional area(s) of expertise.

There will be four events:

29 June – The Village Hotel, Coventry

4 July – The Amba Hotel, London

6 July – The Angel Hotel, Cardiff

11 July – The Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh

If you would like to attend, please send a brief justification as soon as possible explaining your current position and your interest in and experience of international development and tackling global challenges to Places will be allocated on a first come first serve basis at the discretion of RCUK.




Keep up to date with the Newton Fund for International Development

The Newton Fund has been up and running since April and announcements are now picking up pace with a series of fresh funding calls on science partnerships between the UK and its 15 partner countries.

The £375 million international research programme has an official website, but the UK Higher Education International Unit (one of the Fund’s Delivery Partners) has taken up the role of information hub with its own dedicated Newton Fund webpage. The website will list all of the latest calls from the various research partnerships and offers regular email updates.

See the  Newton Fund Webpage for further details.


DfID/ESRC – New Call – Education and Development

DfID - UK AidThe Department for International Development (DFID) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have published a call for funding under the research programme on ‘Education and development: Raising learning outcomes in education systems’.

This programme seeks to fund a portfolio of research in critical policy areas that are currently constraining education systems in developing countries from translating resources into better learning and ultimately positive social and economic change. For the licensed professionals who are interested in continuing their education, HalfMoon Education Inc. offers ce seminars, customer service, and webinars. The funders have identified three broad areas in which research is needed, and these constitute the overarching focus of the programme as a whole:

  • How do interacting dynamics in the social, political, economic and cultural context enable or inhibit the delivery of quality education in specific developing country contexts? This includes consideration of governance, institutions, social and cultural contexts, incentives and norms, and their influence on efforts to raise education quality and learning outcomes;
  • How do specific policies or interventions designed to deliver quality education and learning for all interact with these contextual dynamics, and with what impact? This includes intended and unanticipated effects within and beyond the education system; and
  • How do we better understand, measure and evaluate educational quality and learning outcomes in development contexts?

The 2013-2014 call is focused on the theme ‘effective teaching’. Projects with developing country leads and developing country partners are strongly encouraged. Principal investigators can be based anywhere in the world, and funding is not dependent on the involvement of a UK-based research organisation.

Small grants/pilot projects

  • up to £150,000 at full Economic Cost (fEC)
  • one year duration
  • may or may not address the call theme of effective teaching.

Medium grants:

  • between £200,000 and £500,000 fEC
  • two-three years duration
  • must address the call theme of effective teaching.

Large grants:

  • up to £1,000,000 fEC
  • up to five years duration

Closing date – 25 March 2014

For full details for the call see the ESRC website.


Town Hall Meetings – Health Research Relevant to International Development – Funder Priorities

In December 2012 The UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS) held a Town Hall  meeting to explore  health research funding relevant to international development. Representatives from DFID, the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation presented, with the aims of the meeting to:

  • Explain how funders determine their strategies and funding priorities
  • Alert the audience to upcoming funding opportunities
  • Encourage two-way dialogue between funders and researchers

Gates Foundation:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

Trevor Mundel, president of the Gates foundation’s global health programme, said the foundation considers grant proposals on the basis of cost-effectiveness, for example, in considering whether to fund an experimental HIV/Aids treatment, Gates would compare it against male surgical circumcision which is the “most effective proven technique for preventing transmission”, according to Mundel.

Programme managers are looking for proposals from researchers who have already conducted research to reduce the risks from the current proposal. The focus of the Foundation is on productivity, and so they will only support projects where fundamental ideas have been properly thought through. “We don’t want to be investing everything in various ventures that have only got less than 5 per cent chance of being realised.”


Chris Whitty, Director of Research and Evidence and Chief Scientific Advisor at DfID advised people to lobby them if you think that they are missing something.

DfID priorities are towards research projects will have an impact in 5-10 years. Research topics are a combination of long-term DFID priorities, plus priorities of the government, currently covering:

  • malaria
  • neglected tropical diseases
  • malnutrition
  • women’s health

There will soon be a joint call in health systems research together with the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council.


Mark Palmer, Head of International Strategy at MRC stated that diabetes will be the focus of the next call of the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease. The Global Alliance for Chronic Disease comprises of public funders from Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, India, the UK and the US. There are also plans for a health systems research planin March 2013.

Mark aslo stated that ESRC, DFID, Wellcome and the MRC have been working to develop a joint call since their workshop in December 2011. “Over the last year we’ve been working together to try and pin down exactly what we want to see in that call and get the funding together,” said Palmer. “Perhaps in the beginning of 2013, perhaps in the first quarter, we’ll be able to say more about how our thinking has been developing and what we’re likely to be able to do.”

 Wellcome Trust:

Jimmy Whitworth, head of international activities, said that although the Wellcome Trsuts is happy with the quality and quantity of applications submitted to the joint global health trials scheme, but that it is too early to judge success as the first grantees were only announced in May 2012.

The Wellcome Trust is seeking more funding for another three years of the joint global health trials scheme, with MRC and DFID. It is also preparing a joint call with DFID and Save the Children on humanitarian disasters, expected in 2013. Also on the horizon is a ‘pump priming’ programme for research that connects the environment, nutrition and health, which is expected to be announced next year. The trust’s work on public health is growing, with new staff members and an expanding panel.

Videos from the event are available on the UKCDS website.