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University Global Partnership Network Research Collaboration Fund

About the UGPN Research Collaboration Fund

The University Global Partnership Network (UGPN) is a global platform for academics and students from world-leading universities to work together to address sustainability challenges across diverse global regions and communities. Members include North Carolina State University (NC State), Universidade de São Paulo (USP) and the University of Surrey (UoS). Further information can be found at

The Research Collaboration Fund (RCF) provides seed-funding to foster innovative, high-quality and transdisciplinary research collaborations among the UGPN partner institutions.

With a focus on addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the RCF supports bilateral and trilateral research teams connecting the UGPN partners to catalyse research-led projects for academic and societal impact.

We welcome engagement and co-creation with stakeholders in industry, policy or community, and we encourage projects that support early-career researchers in building their global networks or enable the inclusion of PhD students for enhanced research training.

For the 2024 call, the UGPN particularly welcomes proposals which:

  • Contribute to addressing at least two SDGs
  • Are transdisciplinary across STEM, Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Contribute to one or more of the broad research areas below:
    • Planetary Health
      • Nature-based solutions
      • One health, one medicine
      • Lifelong health & healthy ageing
      • Sustainable food security, nutrition & food cultures
      • Bioeconomy & natural resource governance
      • Planetary health & global governance
    • Technologies for an inclusive society
      • Environmental engineering for inclusive development
      • Renewable energy & sustainable energy transitions
      • AI applications & solutions for sustainability and sustainable AI
      • Technology and global governance

Funding Support

We will fund projects with up to US$10,000 (or the £, R$[1] equivalent) per participating institution in each successful proposal. This means that a bilateral collaboration may be funded with up to US$20,000, and a trilateral collaboration may be awarded up to US$30,000.

Funding will be awarded on the basis of strategic benefit and scholarly merit of proposals along with availability of resources.

We encourage proposals that include matched funding from other sources.

Expected Outputs and Outcomes

Proposals should involve substantive international engagement and are expected to lead to high-quality outputs, including:

  • Publication of co-authored papers from collaborative research and workshops.
  • Joint proposals for external funding bids (including bids for PhD scholarships).
  • International research training activities for graduate students, including PhD mobility and co-supervision, and engagement of early-career researchers.
  • Co-designed and co-created research with industry, policy and community partners, with potential outputs including:
    • Publication of policy briefs or opinion papers
    • Industry or policy-relevant training for PhD students and ECRs
    • Living labs for data collection, testing and analysis or proof-of-concept studies
    • Public engagement activities
  • Development of resources such as databases and data repositories, websites, research collaboration sites, or social networking tools to inform external funding bids or disseminate results.
  • Research-led engagement with teaching (e.g. guest lectures, master classes, short courses), development of teaching materials, or joint activities to internationalise the curriculum (e.g. leading to collaborative programmes or dual degrees).

Deadline for Submission & Key Dates

  • Call for proposals opens: Monday 15 April 2024
  • Submission deadline: Thursday 20 June 2024 (17:00 UTC)
  • Results announced by: Wednesday 31 July 2024
  • Project period: 1 August 2024 – 31 July 2025

Who Can Apply

Proposals are invited from permanent, tenured or tenure track faculty at all UGPN universities, as well as research professionals (those who comply with Sponsored Programs eligibility requirements) at NC State.

All proposals must involve collaboration between university-eligible faculty from at least two of UGPN partners, with trilateral collaboration particularly welcomed.

Please note:

  • Post-doctoral researchers based at the Universidade de São Paulo are not eligible to lead a project or receive funding for mobility.
  • We welcome proposals by applicants who have previously been involved or worked together on a UGPN RCF project but the PI and research team must demonstrate how the proposal tackles a new problem and is distinct from previously funded projects.

Eligible Costs & Activities

Planned expenditure should be in line with the financial policies of the participating institutions.

Eligible costs include:

  • NC State: travel and subsistence; consumables directly related to the project; dissemination of results.
  • USP: travel and subsistence; consumables directly related to the project; dissemination of results.
  • University of Surrey: travel and subsistence; consumables directly related to the project; dissemination of results; and payment for research assistants.

Travel & subsistence costs may include international and local travel, accommodation and subsistence associated with researchers spending time at partner institutions. Subsistence costs
need to be line with staff expenditure policies at each participating institution.

Consumables directly related to the research project may include costs associated with hosting meetings, workshops and seminars, or costs for testing equipment, databases etc.

Dissemination costs may be requested for publications, media and other resources; the development of teaching and curriculum materials; and public engagement activities.

Research assistants can only be funded at the University of Surrey.

The inclusion of PhD or other Higher Degree Research students as project investigators must be indicated in the application.

Please note that funding for the use of a UGPN partner’s laboratory facilities and infrastructure may not be included.

How to Submit Your Application

The Principal Investigator should submit the grant proposal via the online form available at this link no later than: Thursday 20 June 2024, 17:00 (UTC). Please use your institutional email address to access this section of the website.

Submission guidelines

Please complete the online proposal form and budget template, and upload the supplementary documents as detailed below:

Proposal form

  • Title of the project
  • Principal investigator (please allocate one PI for the project from the lead partner university) with contact information.
  • Co-Principal Investigators (please name one co-PI for each additional university participating in the project), with contact information.
  • Further Co-Investigators (optional) (an opportunity to list further collaborators or PhD student participants at each partner), with contact information.
  • Synopsis of the proposed project (max. 1,000 characters) and a list of 5 key words. This should be a summary of your proposal and may be used to promote the project on our website.
  • Project description (max. 1,000 words), which should include:
    • the objectives of the collaboration and the relevance of the project;
    • how the project addresses a new question or area of research (and has not previously been funded by the UGPN);
    • a work plan which clearly articulates the activities to be undertaken to achieve the objectives;
    • how the project aligns with the thematic focus of this RCF call and addresses least two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
    • overview of the research team, including their respective roles and contributions in the project, and diversity of the team.
  • Benefit statement (max 300 words) outlining the expected project outputs, outcomes and impact for academia and society.

Please include sufficient detail to reviewers to evaluate the proposals according to the evaluation criteria. Please remember that some reviewers may come from outside your discipline, therefore remember to avoid jargon or to explain highly technical terms.

Budget (1 page maximum): please use the template to include a budget table with justification.

CVs of the PI and Co-PIs (2 page maximum): please include the CV of one named representative per partner. The CV should include education, professional appointments, up to five (5) publications
related to the proposed research or scholarship, and activities relevant to this grant application.

Letters of support from Faculty Deans (or their designees) from each collaborating institution and from sources of any matching funds.

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals that meet the eligibility requirements will be reviewed and assessed by internal review panels at each of the three universities. A joint committee consisting of representatives from all UGPN partners will make the final decision for awards.

Proposals will be assessed with reference to the following criteria:

  • Relevance: degree to which the project addresses a globally important challenge and demonstrates innovative, transdisciplinary and sustainable collaboration among UGPN partners;
  • Proposal content: clearly articulates measurable goals, objectives and activities that are feasible (evidenced by a reasonable and justified budget) and align with the purpose of the RCF;
  • Outputs & impact: focus on achievable results that can lead to high impact outputs and the potential to leverage future funding, and clearly articulated pathways to academic and societal impact.
  • Research Team: involvement of a diverse team of appropriately qualified researchers from at least two UGPN partners (with diversity to include disciplinary approaches and gender, skills, and career profile of the researchers (PhD, Early Career Researcher, Mid-Career Researcher, etc)

In making their decisions, the joint selection panel will seek to support a representative variety of research topics.

Reporting & Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement of UGPN support
Recipients are expected to acknowledge UGPN in all subsequent published material and presentations.

Successful applicants are required to submit a final report no later than one month after the end of the grant period.

Contact & Enquiries

Please direct enquires to the following contacts at each UGPN partner university:

  • NC State: Office of Global Engagement:
  • UoS: International Partnerships Team:
  • USP: Mr Daniel Barcelos, International Relations Assistant:

[1] Equivalent to R$ upon conversion made based on the sale price of the US dollar, published by the Central Bank of Brazil, referring to the date of 31 August 2024, with no change due to any exchange variation.

Further Information & Previous RCF Projects

Previous RCF projects are listed online at this site (UGPN Institution log-in required).

In the academic year 2023/2024, UGPN partners have awarded funding for 8 new project teams to undertake cutting-edge research on a range of topics including health, clean energy, and gender equality.

Projects are addressing challenges such as the use of AI for sustainable healthcare and precision medicine; access to menstrual health and hygiene in low- and middle-income regions; and animal welfare in lifestock production.

Supporting early-career researchers in building their global networks, awardees also include two Surrey Future Fellows, Dr Monika Kreitmair and Dr Nikolas Makasis, who joined the School of Sustainability, Civil and Environmental Engineering in May 2023. They are working with colleagues at USP to map the potential of geothermal heating and cooling for sustainable and resilient energy supply in the cities of London and São Paulo.