International collaboration and knowledge exchange are vital to progress in research. In the UK many schemes and programmes encourage the sharing of ideas and experience between individuals and groups around the world.
The European Science Foundation (ESF) is committed to facilitating co-operation and collaboration in European research, which it does through mechanisms such as supporting conferences, networks, workshops and programmes.
The World Universities Network is an international alliance of leading higher-education institutions. It disperses support through an Annual Research Fund and runs a Research Mobility Programme to enable postgraduate and junior faculty to study overseas and establish links with WUN partners in Europe, the USA and China.
The NATO Programme for Science for Peace and Security offers support for scientific collaboration in the priority research areas of threats to security including terrorism and other country-specific priorities.
The European Research Council supports researchers of any nationality or age to do fundamental research in any of the 27 EU member states or associated countries. ERC publishes calls for applications from researchers at starting, middle and advanced level independent research. These last for up to 5 years and are for any research field, including social sciences and the humanities.
The HFSP supports novel, innovative and interdisciplinary basic research focused on the complex mechanisms of living organisms. A clear emphasis is placed on novel collaborations that bring biologists together with scientists from fields such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer science and engineering to open new fields of investigation in the life sciences. Research grants and fellowships are available from the post-doctoral level upwards, for young scientists of any nationality to work in the UK, other EU countries, Australia, Canada, Japan, The Republic of Korea, Switzerland or the USA.
European research activities are funded under framework programmes. The current 7th Framework Programme (FP7) runs until 2014, when the next programme, Horizon 2020, is due to begin These provide various levels of opportunities , with an emphasis on creating and strengthening European research. The ‘People’ work programme supports individuals and networks, and includes Marie Curie actions. The UK Research Office provides information on how to apply for funding.
The Access4EU – International Research and Development funding database contains information about Research, Technology Development and Innovation programmes around the world, including in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, USA. It will soon be transferred to a new web portal on EU bilateral science, technology and innovation cooperation.