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Global Challenges Initiative

The Cambridge Strategic Research Initiative for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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Funding Archive

Restricted call: ESRC Transformative Research call 2017-18 (Cambridge internal deadline: 31st October 2017; EPSRC deadline: 7th November 2017)

The aim of this call is to provide a stimulus for genuinely transformative research ideas at the frontiers of the social sciences, enabling research which challenges current thinking to be supported and developed.

AHRC-ESRC-FCO Knowledge Exchange Fellowship scheme (deadline: 31st October 2017)

The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are pleased to invite applications to the AHRC-ESRC-FCO Knowledge Exchange (KE) Fellowships scheme. The scheme will provide the opportunity for each intake of fellows to be seconded into the FCO to work alongside, advise and influence policymakers. Fellows will bring fresh thinking, depth and breadth of expert knowledge and apply their learning to policy challenges. This is not a scheme to support research projects about the FCO. It will build new capacity in the FCO and across the UK research base.

EDCTP Targeting control and elimination of NIDs through clinical trials (deadline: 31st October 2017)

The objective of this Call for Proposals is to provide funding for clinical trials to accelerate the development of new or improved therapeutics for NIDs(1) in sub-Saharan Africa. Proposals that are in line with EDCTP’s strategic research agenda are encouraged.

AHRC-MRC Global Public Health: Partnership Awards Call 2 (deadline: 26th October 2017)

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) offers a unique opportunity for the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the MRC to launch a global public health initiative that responds to the challenge of bringing together expertise in medical science and health interventions in developing countries, with arts and humanities research bringing an understanding of local knowledge and history, cultural and historical contexts and dynamics, community engagement, and trust.

Department of Health/ UK Vaccine Network/ BBSRC "One Health" Approaches to Accelerate Vaccine Development (deadline: 25th October 2017)

BBSRC, on behalf of the Department of Health and the UK Vaccine Network, has announced a £5 million call for ‘One Health Approaches to Accelerate Vaccine Development’. This call forms part of the UK government’s commitment to Official Development Assistance (ODA).

BBSRC/GCRF Translation Award (deadline: 25th October 2017)

The GCRF Translation Awards call will fund activities that aim to achieve outcomes that deliver impact. The call aims to enable research outputs of current or previous BBSRC-funded (or other research council-funded research activity that falls within BBSRC remit) to be further developed into practical application, which delivers benefit and impact in developing countries.

Newton Fund Researcher Links Travel Grants - UK and Peru (deadline: 25th October 2017)

Researcher Links Travel Grants provide financial support for early-career researchers to undertake an international research placement to strengthen links for future collaboration, build research capacity in developing economies, and enhance the researcher's career opportunities.

UK-India Newton-Bhabha Fund joint call on pulses and oilseeds (deadline: 24th October 2017)

The Newton Bhabha Fund uses the UK’s strengths in research and innovation to support greater scientific research capacity in India and build research partnerships between British and India research institutions leading to joint solutions to the challenges facing India in economic development and social welfare. BBSRC and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) announce a call for research into pulses and oilseeds, supported by the Newton-Bhabha Fund and the government of India.

NERC/AHRC Exploring & Understanding Colombian Bio Resources (deadline: 24th October 2017)

NERC and the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) are inviting research proposals under the Exploring & Understanding Colombian Bio Resources call. The overarching aim of this call is to gain a better understanding of socio-ecological systems in the Colombian regions of Boyacá and Cundinamarca, and their response to environmental change, including climate, land use and social or political change, and the underpinning role and value of biodiversity in these ecosystems.

International Centre for Humanities and Social Change - Humanities/ social science-led projects (Phase 1 deadline: 23th October 2017)

The Centre has announced a competition to Cambridge academics, working in collaboration with scholars, policymakers and practitioners from across the globe, to develop innovative projects that will ultimately provide Humanities-led solutions to the pressing societal problems of our age.

RAE GCRF Africa Catalyst (deadline: 23th October 2017)

This capacity-building programme is under the remit of the Royal Academy of Engineering as a delivery partner for the Global Challenges Research Fund. The aim of GCRF Africa Catalyst is to strengthen professional engineering bodies in sub-Saharan Africa so that they can effectively promote the profession, share best practise and increase local engineering capacity, to help drive development.

Newton Fund/ BEIS Researcher Links Biodiversity Travel Grants - Latin America (deadline: 20th October 2017)

These grants are funded by the Newton Fund and managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) together with partner funders from around the world. They provide financial support for researchers to undertake an international research placement to strengthen links for future collaboration, build research capacity in developing economies, and enhance the researcher's career opportunities.

Newton UK-China Agritech Challenge 2017 (registration deadline: 13th September 2017; application deadline: 20th September 2017)

Innovate UK and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) are investing up to £8 million (£4 million each) in projects that use cutting-edge technologies to solve agricultural challenges in China.

British Academy Knowledge Frontiers: International Interdisciplinary Research Projects (deadline: 11th October 2017)

The British Academy is inviting proposals from UK-based researchers across all disciplines within the social sciences and humanities to develop international interdisciplinary research projects with development impact, in collaboration with colleagues from the natural, engineering and/or medical sciences.

British Academy The Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling the UK's International Challenges (deadline: 11th October 2017)

The British Academy is inviting proposals from UK-based researchers in the humanities and social sciences to develop interdisciplinary projects which bear on our understanding of the UK’s international challenges and opportunities (past, present and future). Proposals which relate to the themes of Conflict, Stability & Security; Europe’s Futures; Justice, Rights & Equality; and Urban Futures are particularly welcome. This call for proposals is the second round of this scheme, following a first round last year.

BBSRC Follow-on Funding Call (deadline: 11th October 2017)

A Follow-On Grant enables researchers who have a sound understanding of the market opportunity for their intellectual assets to execute a defined programme of work of up to two years in length that has clearly defined and complementary technical and business plan development milestones. The aim of the programme is to help researchers maximise the societal and economic benefits of their research.

Innovate UK/ BBSRC/ EPSRC/ Newton Bhabha UK-India Industrial Waste Challenge 2017 (registration deadline: 11th October 2017; application deadline: 11th October 2017)

Innovate UK, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) are investing up to £8 million in projects that use cutting-edge solutions to reduce industrial waste in India, as part of the Newton Bhabha Fund.

BBSRC-Brazil (FAPESP) joint funding of research (deadline: 4th October 2017)

Research Councils UK (RCUK) and FAPESP, the State of Säo Paulo Research Foundation, have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to welcome, encourage and support applications that may cut across their national boundaries and involve international collaborative teams.

Restricted call: Leverhulme Research Centres 2018 (Cambridge's internal deadline: 1st October 2017; Leverhulme Trust deadline: 9th January 2018)

The aim of this call is to encourage new approaches that may establish or reshape a field of study and so transform our understanding of a significant contemporary topic. Applicants are therefore invited to be bold in compiling their bids. The Trust has a reputation for encouraging higher-risk research which is often therefore fundamental or curiosity-driven – so-called 'blue skies' – and pan-disciplinary.

Royal Society International Exchanges Scheme (deadline of different geographically-focused calls: October)

This scheme is for scientists based in the UK (or US for the Kan Tong Po programme) who want to stimulate new collaborations with leading scientists overseas through either a one-off visit or bilateral travel.

Singapore National Research Foundation’s Intra CREATE seed funding grant call (deadline: 30th September 2017)

The Intra-CREATE (Singapore National Research Foundation’s Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise) Grants aim to generate an impetus for forming collaborations between researchers from the CREATE Partner Institutions co-located in Singapore in order to exploit the potential of CREATE and achieve greater impact from their collaborative research efforts.

Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS) Flexible Funding Scheme (deadline: 30th September 2017)

Opportunity for Leading and Established Researchers in Systems Analysis - UK-South Africa (deadline: 29th September 2017)

The British Council, under the Newton Fund, has partnered with the National Research Foundation South Africa to support and expand its SASAC (Southern African Systems Analysis Centre)/ IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) PhD programme.

GCRF Collective Fund Interdisciplinary Research Hubs (Cambridge internal deadlines: 29th September, 18th October, 27th October, 30th October 2017; RCUK/GCRF deadlines: 29th September, 9th of November)

The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a 5-year £1.5Bn fund and a key component in the delivery of the UK Aid Strategy: tackling global challenges in the national interest. Research Councils UK invites proposals from eligible UK research organisations to establish and lead a number of challenge-led and impact-focused GCRF Interdisciplinary Research Hubs - 12-15 Hubs will receive between £8M and £20M (full economic cost) for 5 years starting in December 2018.

NERC/DfID/ESRC Building resilience to natural disasters using financial instruments (deadline: 26th September 2017)

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Department for International Development (DfID), and the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) invite proposals to address the topic building resilience to natural disasters using financial instruments. Funding is available to apply environmental and social science research to inform the design, development, refinement and validation of financing instruments to help developing countries respond and recover from extreme weather and natural disasters.

IDRC Strengthening engineering research and training in Africa (expression of interest deadline: 24th September 2017)

This call for proposals challenges universities as well as public and private stakeholders to develop and implement novel ways of delivering quality and relevant training and research in engineering and applied science fields.

India-UK Water Centre: Open Calls for Workshops and Researcher Exchanges (deadline: 22nd September 2017)

The India-UK Water Centre is inviting proposals from members of its Open Network of Water Scientists.

British Council Cultural Protection Fund - Large Grants (Cambridge deadline for letter of support: 18th September 2017; EoI deadline: 3rd November 2017)

The Cultural Protection Fund is an initiative of the UK government, which has dedicated £30 million in overseas development assistance (ODA) funding between 2016 and 2020 to support cultural heritage in conflict-affected countries. The Cultural Protection Fund is now accepting applications for Large Grants (over £100k).

Anticipated EPSRC 2018 CDT Call: Expression of Interest (deadline: 15th September 2017)

In early 2018, the EPSRC is likely to announce a call for the next round of funding for Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs). The School of Technology and the School of Physical Sciences are seeking early expressions of interest (EoI) for potential new CDTs in order to gain a clear idea of likely demand, to provide initial feedback on the scope of the proposal and whether the topic is already well addressed.

DfID/ MRC/ NIHR/ Wellcome Trust Global Health Trials scheme (deadline: 14th September 2017)

This partnership between the UK Department for International Development (DfID), the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute for Health Research and the Wellcome Trust funds late-stage trials of interventions that will provide evidence to help improve health in low- and middle-income countries.

Restricted call: Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellowships and GCRF Engineering for Development Research Fellowships 2017/18 (Cambridge's internal deadline: 21st July 2017; RAE deadline: 6th September 2017)

The RAEng Research Fellowships are designed to promote excellence in engineering. They provide support for high-quality engineers and encourage them to develop successful academic research careers.

Pre-call announcement: BBSRC-FAPESP Joint Pump-Priming Awards for Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) and Insect Pest Resistance in Agriculture (non-mandatory workshop deadline: 29th August 2017; call opens early December 2017)

BBSRC in the UK and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in Brazil have pre-announced a joint Newton Fund call for collaborative research proposals focussing understanding and managing resistance, including novel methods, for pathogen and pest control. Applications for a preparatory workshop are open.

Newton Fund Institutional Links Grants (deadline: 19th September 2017)

Applications are open for Newton Fund Institutional Links Grants to build UK-partner country research and innovation collaborations centred on shared research and innovation challenges which have direct relevance to social welfare and economic development.

EDCTP Clinical trials to reduce health inequities in pregnant women, newborns and children (deadline: 13th October 2017)

The objective of this call is to accelerate the adaption and/or optimisation of treatment and prevention products (excluding vaccines) for PRDs in sub-Saharan Africa for use in pregnant women, newborns and/or children. This call is restricted to the following diseases: HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhoeal diseases and lower respiratory infections.

UK (RCUK/Newton Trust)-India (DBT) Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative (deadline for mandatory sandpit: 11th September 2017)

Research Councils UK (RCUK), the strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils, and the Indian Department for Biotechnology (DBT) have launched a joint initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance funded by the Newton Fund.

Human Development Innovation Fund of Tanzania – Phase 3 (deadline: 8th September 2017)

Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) is a challenge fund providing grants for innovations in education, health, early childhood development and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) across Tanzania.

NERC Call for ideas for strategic research (cut-off date for strategic programme areas (SPAs) ideas: 7th September 2017)

NERC invites ideas for scientific advances that will, over time, contribute to addressing some of these major challenges of the 21st century: benefiting from natural resources, resilience to environmental hazards, and managing environmental change. The ideas will be used to inform the development of new strategic research investments through either highlight topics (HTs) or strategic programme areas (SPAs).

Newton Advanced Fellowships (deadline: 6th September 2017)

This scheme provides established international researchers with an opportunity to develop the research strengths and capabilities of their research group through training, collaboration and reciprocal visits with a partner in the UK. The skills and knowledge gained should lead to changes in the wellbeing of communities and increased economic benefits.

RCUK-CIAT Newton-Caldas Fund Sustainable Tropical Agricultural Systems Programme (expression of interest deadline: 6th September 2017)

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) have announced a new UK-Colombia programme in sustainable tropical agricultural systems supported by the Newton-Caldas Fund.

EDCTP - Treatment innovations for poverty-related diseases (deadline: 5th September 2017)

The purpose of this Call for Proposals from consortia comprising a minimum of three independent legal entities is to provide funding for the clinical evaluation and development of new and innovative drug candidates for HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, diarrhoeal infections or lower respiratory infections, including co-infections.

STFC/ GCRF Foundation Awards 2017 (deadline: 5th September 2017)

This call is supported through Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC)’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) allocation for projects with the aim of accessing the untapped potential of STFC’s community to contribute to addressing challenges in developing countries.

GPSDD Collaborative Data Innovations for Sustainable Development (deadline: 1st September 2017)

The World Bank’s Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB), in collaboration with the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), is seeking proposals to encourage collaboration, experimentation, learning and capacity development for sustainable production, dissemination, and use of data.

Mission Innovation – Off Grid Access to Electricity (deadline: 31st August 2017)

The objective of this Call is to promote affordable and accessible access to clean energy derived from off grid electricity through the development of systems that integrate innovative technologies (components, sub-systems etc.) at high readiness level, demonstrate their technical feasibility and cost effectiveness in diverse social contexts of countries requiring off-grid access to electricity, including India.

Restricted call: NIHR Global Health Research Groups (Cambridge's internal deadline: 24th August; NIHR deadline: 20th October 2017)

New NIHR call for internationally-outstanding applied global health research to benefit people’s health in low and middle-income countries across the globe and build research capacity.

Newton RCUK-CONICYT Broadening Impact Call 2017 - Energy-Food-Water-Environment Nexus (deadline for intention to submit: 18th August 2017)

Research Councils UK (RCUK) and National Commission for Scientific Research and Technology (CONICYT) are pleased to invite applications to the Newton RCUK-CONICYT Broadening Impact Call 2017.

EPSRC/GCRF Resilient and sustainable energy networks for developing countries (mandatory EoI deadline: 17th August; application deadline: 21st September 2017)

The aim of this activity is to support an internationally leading programme of research to tackle the energy distribution challenges faced by developing countries; proposals to this call must focus on sustainable local energy networks, including off-grid to grid transitions.

Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises Programme (R2HC) - ‘Open Call’ (deadline: 16th August)

R2HC aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises. This ‘Open Call’ encourages research that informs the prioritisation of public health humanitarian interventions and maximising value for money.

DfID Developing Effective Private Education in Nigeria Challenge Fund (deadline: 12th August 2017)

The Fund will support ambitious innovations designed by Lagos’ private schools’ proprietors, service providers and other entrepreneurs. The concept at the heart of the Fund is ‘innovation’.

Restricted call: Medical Research Council/ GCRF Global Nutrition and Health Research institutional "pump-priming" awards (Cambridge's internal deadline: 4th August 2017; MRC deadline: 14th September 2017)

The “Confidence in” schemes are used to demonstrate MRC’s support for institutional development in key strategic areas. The “Confidence in Global Mental Health Research” scheme is part of its suite of activities under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF): it provides institutional “pump-priming” funds that will lay the grounds for future large scale, multi-disciplinary, cross-country global mental health research bids to address issues of primary relevance to Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). Medical Research Council

Restricted call: Medical Research Council/GCRF Global Mental Health Research institutional "pump-priming" awards (Cambridge's internal deadline: 4th August 2017; MRC deadline: 14th September 2017)

The “Confidence in” schemes are used to demonstrate MRC’s support for institutional development in key strategic areas. The “Confidence in Global Nutrition and Health Research” scheme is part of its suite of activities under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF): it provides institutional “pump-priming” funds that will lay the grounds for future large scale, multi-disciplinary, cross-country global mental health research bids to address issues of primary relevance to Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC).

Internal funding opportunity: EPSRC Global Challenge Research Fund grants (deadline: 31st August 2017)

Applications are invited for research projects and knowledge exchange activities compliant with the ODA guidelines, i.e. research primarily relevant to the problems of developing countries and where establishing economic development and welfare of developing countries is the main objective of research.

2017 Global Alliance funding call (expression of interest deadline: 31st July 2017; call deadline: 11th September 2017)

The Global Alliance was formed in 2016 as a tripartite agreement between University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley), the University of Cambridge (Cambridge) and National University of Singapore (NUS) in order to develop innovative research across the three universities to address research questions that could not be answered by one institution alone. Within the Global Alliance there are three themes: Precision Medicine, Cities, and Smart Systems.

OpenPlant Fund (deadline: 30th June 2017)

The OpenPlant Fund supports innovative, open and interdisciplinary projects relevant to plant Synthetic Bioloy over 2015-19. Up to 20 six-month projects per year will receive £4k each, with an additional £1k awarded on completion for follow-on and outreach.

The Global Challenges Initiative is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.


Find out about open funding opportunities, pre-call announcements, responsive calls, studentships and awards relevant to the global challenges agenda.

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