New Call: China–UK research and innovation bridges competition



Innovate UK, the Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the Ministry for Science and Technology (MoST) China are to invest up to £16 million in collaborative research and development projects that propose new commercial solutions to critical challenges impacting the socio-economic growth and development of China in relation to energy, healthcare, urbanisation and agri-food.

The UK investment has been made possible through the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills-managed Newton Fund

The aim of the competition is to bring together companies (small to medium-sized companies and/or larger businesses), research organisations, academics and other collaborators from China and the UK for the joint research and development of new solutions to key socio-economic challenges, in the form of innovative products, processes or services. The principal market a project must consider is China.

Projects must be collaborative, involving both UK and Chinese participants, with both a UK lead partner and a Chinese lead partner. On the UK side, projects can be led by either a business or a research organisation. The lead partner should be able to demonstrate a clear route to commercialisation of the proposed product(s) or service(s), and should have a primary focus on the translation of research and/or knowledge.

We expect to fund mainly industrial research projects. For UK participants, small or micro businesses could receive up to 70% of their eligible project costs, medium-sized businesses 60% and large businesses 50%.

We expect total UK project costs to range in size from £800,000 to £1 million (although we may consider project costs outside this range), and for projects to last for up to 24 months.

The UK lead partner must submit an application on behalf of all UK participants in the project to Innovate UK. The Chinese lead partner will submit their application for the same project to MoST or MoST’s executing agency.

This is a 2-stage competition that opens for applicants on 16 November 2015. The deadline for stage 1 applications is at noon UK time on 30 March 2016. UK applicants must register by noon on 23 March 2016, one week before the application deadline.

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International Exchange with China

This fund is for scientists who want to stimulate new collaborations with leading scientists in China through either a one-off visit or bilateral travel. Similar schemes are also available for Taiwan and Ireland.

Funding Body: Royal Society

Scheme: International Exchanges Scheme- China cost-share programme

Overview: This stimulates new collaborations within the natural sciences between scientists in the UK and China.

The UK applicant must apply to the Royal Society and the Chinese applicant must apply to NSFC. Both applicants must have completed a PhD or have extensive experience at an equivalent level. They must hold a permanent or fixed term contract in an eligible organisation in their respective countries. The participation of junior scientists is encouraged.

Budget: The Royal Society provides up to £12,000 for the UK team’s airfare to China and the Chinese team’s subsistence whilst in the UK. Up to £2,000 of this amount may be spent on research expenses and consumables. An additional £12,000 equivalent is available from NSFC to the Chinese team’s airfare to the UK and the UK team’s subsistence whilst in China.

Deadlines: 21 October 2014 (this call repeats annually)

Further Information:


Royal Society priorities include

  • Promoting science and its benefits
  • Recognising excellence in science
  • Supporting outstanding science
  • Providing scientific advice for policy
  • Fostering international and global cooperation
  • Education and public engagement


Funding for Conferences in China on any subject

This find contributes towards fees and living expenses. Applicants include British postgraduate students (i.e. UK citizens only) giving conference papers in China, or travelling to China to pursue essential doctoral research.

Funding Body: Great Britain-China Educational Trust

Scheme: Student awards

Overview: The Great Britain-China Educational Trust invites applications for its student awards. These support Chinese students studying for a PhD in any subject at a UK university as well as British postgraduate students giving conference papers in China, or travelling to China to pursue essential doctoral research. Chinese students must have started their third year before they are eligible to submit their application. Students may only apply twice for the award.

Budget: The maximum award amount is £3,000. The most common amount awarded is between £1,500 and £2,000.

Deadlines: 19 April 2014

Further Information:


DFID-ESRC China and Africa research programme


The Department for International Development (DFID) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) have announced a dedicated programme of research to investigate in comparative perspective the economic development impact of China’s engagement in sub-Saharan Africa. The programme aims to critically evaluate what lessons China’s own economic development transformation can offer other developing countries – in particular in low-income Africa.

Research projects under this call are expected either to take a developmental challenge facing Africa and examine possible solutions linked to recent experience from China’s own economic development, or to build understanding of an aspect of China’s engagement with Africa relevant to the continent’s economic development.

The programme encourages academics from developing and developed countries to work together in any configuration of their choice and principal investigators can be from anywhere in the world.

Grants will be for a maximum of four years and with a full Economic Cost (fEC) value of between £200,000 and £2 million. It is expected that a mixed portfolio of small (in the region of £200,000 to £500,000) and larger (£500,000 and above) research projects will be funded under this call. UK-based researchers will be funded at 80 per cent fEC, whilst non-UK researchers will receive 100 per cent of the direct costs of the research, plus a variable overhead. The total budget for this call will be £4.5 million.

Deadline for applications: 16.00 UK time, 13 March 2014.

Call specification (PDF, 217Kb)

There will be a webinar on 11 December at 9.00 (UK time), to allow anyone interested in the call for proposals to ask specific questions about the application process. If you would like to take part in the webinar, please contact at least 24 hours before the start. (If you are unable to join the meeting using your web browser, you will be able to join over the phone instead).

For further information go to:


Global Innovation Initiative

state U.S. State Department Brittish Council Institute of International Education

The Global Innovation Initiative is a higher education partnership grant opportunity established between the United States and the United Kingdom aimed at strengthening multilateral research collaborations between universities in the US, UK and other selected countries. The Global Innovation Initiative will award grants to university consortia focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-related issues of global significance that foster cutting-edge multinational research and strengthen institutional international partnerships.  The Institute of International Education will administer the U.S. competition and the British Council will administer the UK competition.

The Department of State and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have identified Brazil, China, India and Indonesia as designated countries for the Global Innovation Initiative.

New or existing research partnerships comprised of at least one US, one UK and one institution of higher education from one of the four emerging economies are invited to apply for a Global Innovation Initiative grant. Partnership research proposals in the area of STEM are eligible.

Goals of the Global Innovation Initiative

  • To increase the global mobility of students, researchers, faculty, and higher education administrators from the US, the UK, and other countries;
  • To develop a cadre of people in the US, UK, and other countries who have the international experience, outlook and knowledge to confront global challenges and operate in a global context;
  • To encourage international collaborations that develop capacity across a range of universities in the US, the UK and other countries;
  • To forge university and business linkages that support a globally mobile talent pool and a multinational base for the exchange of discovery and innovation.

Approximately 20 grants will be awarded ranging from $150,000 to $250,000 (US competition) or from £100,000 to £150,000 (UK competition).

UK-led partnership proposals must apply through the UK grant competition, administered by the British Council.

British Council

The application for both country competitions will close December 16, 2013

For further information go to:

Fund a One Year Partnership with China

This exchange fund from the British Academy will be of interest to academics working in humanities and social sciences and looking to develop a programme of work in China. The deadline is in February, so this leaves plenty of time to work up links with a Chinese partner.

Funding Body: British Academy

Scheme: International partnership and mobility scheme – UK-China one-year partnerships

Overview: The aim of this scheme is to support the development of partnerships between the UK and China, strengthening research excellence through new, innovative initiatives and links.

The scheme intends to strengthen research capacity and capability, with both partners gaining from the collaboration, and to initiate the development of long-term, vigorous links between the UK and Chinese scholars whilst also encouraging an intra-regional exchange of expertise and knowledge sharing. Awards cover any branch of the humanities or social sciences and are intended to focus on collaborative research on a specific theme of mutual interest. Workshops and seminars should form an integral part of the research programme. Partnerships including a training element and involving early-career scholars will be looked on favourably.

Both applicants must be of postdoctoral or equivalent status and based at a research-active institution.

Budget: Funding is worth up to £10,000 for one year

Deadlines: 5 February 2013

Further Information:


UK-China travel grants

Travel grants of £1500-£2000 are available for travel to China for specific research, conferencing or lecturing reasons from the Universities’ China Committee in London (UCCL).  The grants are for post graduate or research degree students. Return visits from China can also be supported.  Further information is available at  Please contact if you require help.  The deadline is 1st June 2013.