Tuesday 17 June 2014


The British Council and the UK Higher Education International Unit welcome today’s announcement by David Cameron and Premier Li Keqiang that hundreds of ambitious UK researchers will have new opportunities to partner and collaborate with their Chinese counterparts, thanks to the new UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund.

The Fund, known in the UK as the Newton Fund, is intended to strengthen the existing knowledge partnerships between the UK and China and reaffirm the UK and China’s relationship as world leaders in science and innovation. £200m will be made available over the next five years, from both countries, to drive cutting edge research and innovation collaboration. The Newton Fund will support projects to develop solutions for global challenges and promote economic development and social welfare.

The British Council and the International Unit are working together under the Newton Fund as one of the main delivery partners (alongside Research Councils UK, the UK Academies, and the Technology Strategy Board) and we will work with Chinese partners to develop three new programmes – the Newton PhD Programme (together with Research Councils UK), the Researcher Mobility programme (alongside the Academies), and a Professional Development and Engagement Programme.

These programmes will provide the opportunity for hundreds of Chinese and UK researchers to undertake exchanges and develop long term meaningful collaborations. UK higher education institutions will also be able to engage with Chinese Universities to build researcher capability and cement longer term research and innovation links.

Susan Milner, Director of Education for the British Council in China, said “Researcher collaboration and PhD partnerships, which are central to the UK-China relationship in Education, have undergone a step change through the Newton Fund. China is a major global investor in R&D and the UK will benefit enormously from research and innovation collaboration on issues of global significance”.

Vivienne Stern, Director of the International Unit remarked: “The International Unit welcomes this opportunity for the UK higher education sector to continue and enhance its collaboration in research and innovation with China. The UK is China’s second largest research partner, and these links are highly valued by our higher education institutions. The UK also welcomes more international students from China than from any other country.

The UK-China Research and Innovation Partnership Fund, also known as the Newton Fund, will enable both the UK and China to build on these existing relationships over the next five years and to enhance the global impact of UK-Chinese science and research.”

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact:

Tim Sowula, British Council, tim.sowula@britishcouncil.org 0207 389 4871


Daisy Jones, UK Higher Education International Unit - Daisy.jones@international.ac.uk 020 7419 5457

Newton Fund Introductory Brief

The Newton Fund is a £375 million fund (£75 million a year for 5 years starting 2014/15). Through the Newton Fund, the UK will use its strength in research and innovation to promote the economic development and social welfare of partner countries. By working together on bi-lateral and multi-lateral programmes with a research and innovation focus, the UK will build strong, sustainable, systemic relationships with partner countries. This will support the continued excellence of the UK research base and innovation ecosystem and act as a golden key to unlock opportunities for wider collaboration and trade.

 The Fund will cover three broad categories of activity:

(i)            People: capacity building, people exchange and joint centres;

(ii)           Programmes: research collaborations on development topics; and

(iii)          Translation: innovation partnerships.

 It will support projects across the agreed priority areas. These are likely to include:

·         joint research on development topics;

·         student and researcher fellowships and mobility schemes;

·         challenge funds to develop innovative solutions on topics of interest to developing nations;

·         science and innovation capacity building.


  • The UK Chancellor announced on 5 December the creation of an Emerging Powers Research and Innovation Fund of £375 million over five years to support science and innovation partnerships with emerging powers.
  • The Fund was formally launched under its Newton brand on 9 April by the Chancellor during a visit to Brazil.
  • The Fund forms part of the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment and its primary focus is to develop partner countries research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth
  • On the UK side the Fund is overseen by a Board, which includes the Minister for Universities and Science, the Government Chief Science Advisor, the Presidents of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering and other experts. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (which is the UK Department with responsibility for science and innovation) will administer the Fund. 

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover which last year was £781m. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.

The UK Higher Education International Unit

The International Unit represents all the UK's Higher Education bodies internationally. It acts for the HE sector at Governmental and EU policy forums and enhances the UK higher education sector's ability to compete in a global market by providing intelligence on internationalisation and European policy development. The International Unit initiates and carries out high profile projects and activities, commission’s research and produces publications to support and develop the UK HE sector's international activities.

The IU is part of Universities UK, and is also funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Scottish Funding Council, Department for Employment and Learning (Northern Ireland), GuildHE, the Higher Education Academy and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. For more information, please contact our press team at press@international.ac.uk