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Global Challenges Initiative

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

Studying at Cambridge


Open Calls

Horizon 2020: European Union funding for research into global and EU challenges (various deadlines)

The Horizon 2020 research and innovation funding programme is targeted at addressing both global and EU challenges. It includes four focus areas, intended to collect different funding calls together to address big-ticket challenges. These focus areas are: building a low-carbon, climate-resilient future, connecting economic and environmental gains (circular economy), digitising and transforming European industry and services, and boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union.

UK Royal Society – Newton Advanced Fellowships 2018

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.

ESRC Trust and Global Governance Large Grants (deadline: 28th June)

Trust and global governance in a turbulent age is one of the seven key research priorities of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). We are looking for innovative and methodologically ambitious proposals that link foundational research on the nature and dynamics of trust and trustworthiness, with new empirical research on the relationship between trust and global governance.

ESRC Impact Acceleration Account: Impact, Follow-on and NGO Data calls (Cambridge internal deadline: 1st June 2018)

Funds for impact projects in social science disciplines (Impact and Follow-on calls) and to explore opportunities for data reuse within Nongovernmental Organisations (NGOs) and implementation agencies that operate in an Official Development Assistance (ODA) context (NGO Data call).

MRC/ESRC/WT/DFID Call for Providing evidence to strengthen health systems in LMICs (deadline: 5th June 2018)

The Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust (WT) jointly fund the Health Systems Research Initiative. The 5th call of the Health Systems Research Initiative invites collaborative proposals from UK and LMIC researchers to address key questions on strengthening and improving health systems in developing countries.

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants (deadline: 6th June 2018)

The BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants are available to support primary research in the humanities and social sciences. They cover the cost of the expenses arising from a defined research project; research topics may be chosen freely.

BBSRC/GCRF Call Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy in the Developing World (deadline: 6th June 2018)

BBSRC invites applications for collaborative research projects on the theme of Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy in the Developing World that address challenges relating to industrial biotechnology and bioenergy in the developing world.

UKRI Future Leader Fellowships (expressions of interest deadline: 7th June 2018; full application deadline: 3rd July 2018)

The UK Research and Innovation Future Leaders Fellowships (FLF) aim to grow the strong supply of talented individuals needed to ensure that UK research and innovation continues to be world class.

Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop Grants (deadline: 8th June)

Newton Researcher Links Workshops bring together early-career researchers from the UK and a partner country to make international connections that can improve the quality of their research.

Newton Fund Researcher Links Travel Grants (deadline: 8th June 2018)

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.

MRC/Newton Fund/FAPESP UK-São Paulo/Brazil: Neglected Infectious Diseases Joint Centre Partnerships (expression of interest: deadline 8th June; closing date: 19 July 2018)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) invite proposals to the UK-São Paulo/Brazil Neglected Infectious Diseases Joint Centre Partnerships Initiative under the umbrella of the Newton Fund.

Newton Fund Institutional Links Grants (deadline: 8th June)

Applications are invited for Newton Institutional Links with the aim 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.

Newton BhaBha Fund Researcher Links Workshop Grants, India (deadline: 8th June 2018)

British Council in collaboration with Royal Society of Chemistry announces Newton Bhabha Fund Researcher Links Workshop grants for early-career researchers from India and the UK to allow them to make international connections that can improve the quality of their research.

WT/DFID Call Epidemic Preparedness: Social Science Research Protocols (preliminary application deadline: 11th June 2018; full application deadline: September 2018)

This joint initiative between the Wellcome Trust (WT) and the Department for International Development (DIFD) supports social science researchers who want to develop new standardised ways to conduct research for epidemic preparedness and response.

BA/Jisc Digital Research in the Humanities Grants (deadline: 13th June 2018)

The BA/Jisc Digital Research in the Humanities Grants are available to enable novel research through the application of new methods and tools to existing digital resources.

ESRC Large Grants Competition 2018 (deadline: 14th June 2018)

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) invites proposals for standard research projects, large-scale surveys, infrastructure projects, and for methodological developments in any area of the social sciences. Interdisciplinarity, both within and beyond the social sciences is actively encouraged.

ESRC Call: Transnational organised crime; Deepening and broadening our understanding (deadline: 14th June 2018)

As part of ESRC's contribution to the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Partnership for Conflict, Crime and Security Research (PaCCS), ESRC wishes to commission research that will deepen and broaden understanding of the complex issues related to Transnational Organised Crime (TNOC) and its interrelation with other licit and illicit activities.

Newton Fund UK-China collaboration to tackle antimicrobial resistance (registration of interest deadline: 30th May; proposal submission deadline: 14th June 2018)

UK researchers can apply for a share of up to £10 million for joint projects with Chinese partners to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

MRC/GCRF Cancer and Global Health Research Initiative (deadline: 20th June 2018)

Through the UK’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) the Medical Research Council (MRC) has launched a dual pump-priming and substantive research call to tackle the cancer challenges relevant to LMICs. Both calls require collaboration between UK and LMIC investigators.

Gates Foundation Grand Challenge: Ending the Pandemic Threat, A Universal Influenza Vaccine Development (deadline: 22nd June)

To find a game changing, universal solution to all these challenges, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Page Family are launching the "Universal Influenza Vaccine Development Grand Challenge" during the centenary year of the 1918 flu pandemic. The goal of this Grand Challenge is to identify novel, transformative concepts that will lead to development of universal influenza vaccines for at least three to five years.

ESRC New Investigator Grants (Cambridge internal deadline: 25th June 2018; deadline: March 2019)

New Investigator Grants form one element of The Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) support for early career researchers and the scheme is specifically aimed at supporting those looking to make the transition to an independent researcher through managing their first major research project.

MRC/RISTEKDIKTI/ Newton Fund Joint Partnership on Infectious Diseases, Call for Proposals (registration of interest: 26th June; application deadline: 24th July 2018)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) and Kementerian Riset Teknologi Dan Pendidikan Tinggi Republik Indonesia (RISTEKDIKTI) are pleased to invite research proposals to the UK-Indonesia Joint Partnership on Infectious Diseases through the Newton Fund.

NERC/Newton Fund Latin American Biodiversity Programme: Biodiversity - Ecosystem services for sustainable development (deadline: 26th July 2018)

This is a call for multilateral collaborative research proposals through UK-Latin American (LATAM) applications that focus on understanding the role of biodiversity and ecosystem services for sustainable development.

2018 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge (deadline: 5th September 2018)

The 2018 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge by the GBIF (the Global Biodiversity Information Facility ) seeks innovative proposals that rely on open biodiversity data or open-source tools to advance open science.

Elrha’s Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises Programme (R2HC) - ‘Open Call’ (deadline: 16th July 2018)

R2HC aims to improve health outcomes by strengthening the evidence base for public health interventions in humanitarian crises.

WT Investigator Awards in Humanities and Social Science (preliminary deadline: 4th July 2018; full application deadline: 18th Sept 2018)

Investigator Awards enable humanities and social science researchers with a compelling research vision to tackle the most significant questions in human health.

WT Collaborative Awards in Humanities and Social Science (preliminary deadline: 4th July 2018; full application deadline: 18th Sept 2018)

Collaborative Awards promote the development of new ideas and bring disciplines together to speed the pace of discovery. This scheme funds teams who are tackling major health-related questions in the humanities and social sciences that require a collaborative approach.

WT Seed Awards in Science (deadline: 5th July 2018)

WT (Wellcome Trust) Seed Awards help researchers develop novel ideas that will go on to form part of larger grant applications to Wellcome or elsewhere.

UKRI/EPSRC Call: Creative Circular Economy Approaches to Eliminate Plastics Waste (EOI deadline: 10 July 2018; submission deadline: 16 August 2018)

An invitation to research institutions to respond creatively to the challenge of creating new circular economy approaches to eliminating future plastic waste.

EPSRC Healthcare Impact Partnerships 2018/2019 (internal Cambridge deadline: 27 June 2018; EOI deadline: 12 July; application deadline: 23 August 2019)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences research Council (EPSRC) invites proposals for Healthcare Impact Partnerships to support projects that progress previous EPSRC-funded research towards generating impact in healthcare.

MRC/ UK Nutrition Research Partnership Collaborative Awards (deadline: 31 July 2018)

The MRC, on behalf of the UK NRP is pleased to invite proposals for multidisciplinary pump-priming Collaborative Awards on Human Health and Nutrition.

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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