Monday 28 October 2013

(Washington DC) The themes have been released and applications are now open for the first year’s competition of the new UK-US higher education research programme – the Global Innovation Initiative (GII). 

Higher education partnerships from the UK, US and select countries (Brazil, China, India and Indonesia) may apply for a grant to strengthen multilateral, interdisciplinary research in the following areas: energy, environment and climate change; agriculture, food security and water; global health and wellbeing; and urbanization.  

Two parallel competitions open on 28 October 2013 in the UK and the US.  UK-led partnerships may apply through the British Council for grants ranging from £100,000 - £150,000.  US-led partnerships may apply for grants ranging from $150,000 - $250,000 through the Institute of International Education. 

Grants will be awarded to higher education partnerships focusing on globally significant issues related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  The initiative is funded by the British Council and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in the UK and by the Department of State in the US.

At the London launch on 8 October at Lancaster House, Rt Hon. David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, remarked that “while the strong partnership between the UK and the US is a solid foundation from which to find solutions to some of today’s global challenges, we believe a multilateral approach through collaboration offers another dimension in finding these solutions.  The Global Innovation Initiative provides a platform to build multilateral collaboration on science, innovation and higher education.  We are looking forward to exploring new areas of partnership with the US, not only between ourselves as the two global leaders in science, innovation and higher education, but also with other countries important to our future economic success.”

Martin Davidson, CEO British Council, said that “our Researcher Links programme is an example of the power of bilateral relationships within higher education.  Adding in a third element will have a multiplier effect – creating the kind of innovation we will need if we’re to think our way out of some of our most intractable problems.  It’s a win-win-win situation.  Critical thought, academic freedom, and excellence in scholarship are the hallmarks of the British and American higher education systems.  These are the strengths this project aims to share with universities in the developing world.  The Global Innovation Initiative will allow our nations to pool and extend our networks of friendship and history for mutual benefit.”

Meghann Curtis, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Academic Programs, Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, US Department of State, commented that “the Global Innovation Initiative will build on the long history of collaboration between the UK and US in higher education, research and development – reflecting our mutual recognition that STEM education and a strong innovation ecosystem are essential elements of economic prosperity, national security, health and welfare, and environmental sustainability.”

Notes to Editor

  • WHAT: The Global Innovation Initiative is a shared commitment of the UK and the US to support STEM research collaboration between universities in the UK, US and select countries including Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. 
  • WHEN: The US and UK grant competitions open Monday, 28 October 2013.
  • WHO: The initiative is funded by the British Council and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in the UK and by the Department of State in the US.. 

For more information, contact Alexandra Dimsdale on +1 202 588 7837 or

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-in-aid 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.


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