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International Development Research @ Cambridge


The Science and Technology Facilities Council invites applications for its 21st century challenge networks fund. This supports the creation of new multidisciplinary research communities at the STFC 21st challenge interface.

STFC provides funding to create new multidisciplinary research communities at the STFC 21st Challenge interface which are focused on addressing user needs, including those of Government departments, Government agencies, industry and other academic communities. Three types of Networks are funded, depending on the stage of development of the community: Standard Network, Network+ and Extended Network+. 

The aims of Standard Networks are to:

  • Support interactions between STFC-funded researchers and appropriate science, technology, industry and end-user groups to build interdisciplinary communities at the interface between STFC science and 21st Century Challenge areas.
  • Facilitate knowledge sharing and identify priority user-needs that STFC science could have a role in addressing.
  • Create new multidisciplinary project teams to develop proposals to seek funding for projects addressing the 21st Century Challenges.

Network+ and Extended Network have the same aims as Standard Networks but additionally aim to:

  • Network+   Demonstrate STFC-funded capability to address 21st Century Challenges and de-risking of concepts to facilitate applications for next-stage funding.
  • Extended Network+ Maximise the impact of earlier Standard Network or Network+ activities and further demonstrate STFC-funded capability to address 21st Challenges and de-risking of concepts to facilitate applications for next-stage funding.


To be eligible proposals must be for Networks involving the application of science and technology developed through the STFC core science programme (nuclear physics, particle physics, particle astrophysics, astronomy, space science, and computing and accelerators in support of these) or the STFC national facilities and laboratories.

Level of funding

Funding is provided at 80% FEC and is worth up to £240,000 over three years for standard networks, up to £480,000 over four years for network+ networks and up to £360,000 over three years for extended network+ networks.


For examples of previously funded networks and application guidance please see the STFC website.


Welcome to Cambridge Global Challenges

Cambridge Global Challenges is the Strategic Research Initiative (SRI) of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, with a particular focus on the poorest half of the world’s population.


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Information on how Cambridge Global Challenges can support your research is shared here.


Contact us

Programme Manager (Dr Sara Serradas Duarte):​.