Two female researchers both wearing lab coats in a lab conducting experiments
Newton Fund researchers in the Istanbul Microalgae Biotechnologies Research and Development Centre. ©

Pinhole Istanbul

About the opportunity 

The British Council Research and Insight Team is seeking to commission a literature review and synthesis of evidence on the benefits of modest collaborative research grants. 

The British Council has significant experience in administering research grants and brokering collaborations between the UK higher education sector and global partners. This work has enabled a vital exchange of learning and ideas that have benefited individuals, institutions and wider society. It now seeks to understand more of the broader, medium-to-long term benefits, that go beyond direct grant objectives. 

Study Objectives  

The main objective of this literature review is to synthesize existing evidence on the research question: what benefits do modest collaborative research grants create for participating institutions, researchers, and the broader higher education ecosystem in the UK and internationally? 

Further objectives will aim to uncover: 

  • Do modest collaborative research grants in general, help attract and retain skilled researchers at participating institutions in the UK and abroad, and if so, how? 
  • In what ways, if any, do international collaborative research projects initiated through modest grants help raise UK and partner institution profiles, reputation, and attractiveness that then have tangible impacts (enrolment, further internationalisation and partnerships, and greater funding)? 
  • Do modest collaborative research grants between UK and partner institutions contribute to anchoring sustainable partnerships and building mutual trust and if so, how? What are the tangible outcomes of this trust-building such as low-risk opportunities to develop enduring collaborations or larger-scale partnerships?   

These objectives will: 

  • Unpack a common yet understudied way in which the British Council engages in impactful cultural relations – through collaborative research grants between HEIs worldwide. Whilst intuitively understood, the mechanisms driving benefits need further research.   
  • Explain the processes through which modest collaborative grants create long-term and ongoing value, complementing monitoring and evaluation insights. 
  • Provide generalisable principles for grant design and management.  

Outputs and deadlines 

  • A full literature review including an executive summary, bibliographic/references, and selected British Council case studies.  
  • Slide decks of key findings, including those most relevant to the British Council's higher education partnerships work. 
  • Recorded webinar of the findings and key conclusions for British Council stakeholders.

The timelines for this research work will commence in mid-October and must be completed by mid-December. 



Date / time 

RFP Issued to bidding suppliers 
Thursday 7 September 2023 
British Council to host a supplier Q&A 
(Please contact for further information and Q&A invite) 
Monday 18 September 2023 
Deadline for clarification questions (Clarification Deadline)  
Wednesday 20 September 2023 
British Council to respond to clarification questions 
Monday 25 September 2023 
Deadline for submission of Proposals by potential suppliers (Response Deadline)  
Wednesday 4 October 2023 
Final Decision 
Friday 13 October 2023 
Contract concluded with winning supplier 
Monday16 October 2023 
Contract start date 
Wednesday18 October 2023 
Inception meeting 
Wednesday18 October 2023 
Mid-point check-in meeting 
Wednesday15 November 2023 
Analysis and all data output delivered  
Friday 15 December  
Recorded webinar and stakeholder session 


 The maximum award for this research work is £25k including VAT.  

How to apply 

This page shows a summarised version of the research brief. For a full outline of the opportunity, download the Request for Proposals document. 

To apply, complete a Supplier Response Form and a Pricing Approach. The supplier form asks you to answer a series of questions whilst the pricing document asks you to consider the project budget. 

To express an interest, you must register (if you have not already) for free on our procurement platform In-Tend to ask us any clarifying questions, and to submit your application ahead of the timeline. 

The opportunity is under In-Tend number BC/03092.

Apply on In-Tend by Wednesday 4 October 2023