The UK government, as part of its industrial strategy white paper, has announced a new Fund for International Collaboration (FIC). This Fund aims to enhance the UK’s excellence in research and innovation through global engagement and will focus on bilateral and multilateral partnerships with “leading nations with a reputation for excellence". It is administered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and is worth £110 million.
The first FIC call has now opened (subject to funding being secured from the FIC) for collaboration with Japan. This UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) - Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) call is in the area of life sciences and environmental sciences and its UK budget is £5 million. Although it is strongly encouraged that researchers indicate their intention to submit a proposal by 24 July 2018, the deadline for the full proposal is 14 August 2018.
We anticipate a few more FIC announcements over the summer and although the other priority countries have not been confirmed, Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, Israel, South Korea, Sweden and USA (several calls) are thought to be likely contenders. As some of the FIC funding will need to be spent this financial year, we expect that some of these calls will only be open for a short period and therefore we would like to encourage our research community to regularly check the UKRI website for the latest developments.
FIC complements the different funding opportunities, such as Newton and GCRF, that the UK has set up in the past few years to address some of the challenges faced by developing countries. There are currently calls open from both of these Funds, and we anticipate a substantial wave of GCRF calls to open ove the next few months (possibly with a stronger focus on Africa and the following subject areas: Food and Nutrition, Cities, Conflict and Education). If you would like an overview of international calls currently open, we recommend you consult UUKi’s page 'Gateway to international opportunities'.