A researcher consulting a book in an academic library
Supporting early-career research fellowships in the UK. Image ©

British Council.

Call for Proposals: UK HEI partnerships for international research fellowships

This opportunity has now closed.

The British Council is offering grants to support a programme of international research fellowships. There are two separate Calls for Proposals: one for fellowships on the theme of cultural relations and climate action, building on our The Climate Connection programme, and one on for fellowships on the theme of cultural heritage protection. Both Calls have the same application process and timetable: see links below to Call guidelines (including detailed project briefs) and application forms. 

Grants will be awarded to UK higher education institutions (HEIs), Independent Research Organisations (IROs) or other not-for-profit UK research organisations eligible to receive UKRI funding. The grants will be used to fund international early-career researchers from selected countries to undertake research fellowships in the UK. Fellowships will be for nine months in duration, and would commence in early 2023. See the Call guidelines documents for researcher eligibility criteria for the fellowships. 

The HEIs (or other eligible research organisations) that are awarded the grants will manage and administer the fellowships whilst working in close collaboration with the British Council to develop and supervise the projects. The research fellows will engage closely with the British Council throughout their fellowships, including through spending time based at British Council offices in the UK. Opportunities for research fellows to spend time based at a British Council office in their home countries or regions will also be encouraged. 


The fellowships programme is intended to: 

  • generate new knowledge that builds on or complements British Council data, evidence, insight and expertise;  
  • diversify and broaden the British Council’s knowledge base, including through embedding gender sensitivity into research and providing opportunities for knowledge exchange with researchers from the global south and other regions and communities under-represented in global research production and discourse – thereby also supporting the British Council’s own commitment to EDI and its Anti-Racism Action Plan;
  • support the international capacity building and professional development of up-and-coming research experts from eligible countries; 
  • foster longer-term connections, networks and partnerships between UK and international researchers and British Council staff; 
  • promote the academic engagement and professional networking of British Council staff and partners; 
  • enhance the visibility, use and application of the data, evidence and other forms of knowledge and insight generated through the British Council’s global programmes and network;  
  • contribute more broadly to the UK research and skills agenda (including the UK Research and Development Roadmap and the Research England Knowledge Exchange Framework). 

Qualifications required: 

We invite proposals from UK HEIs or other UK research organisations to partner with the British Council to support and supervise research fellowships in the areas of either climate action or cultural heritage protection (or both) that will deliver the above objectives.

The Principal Supervisor must be an established member of a UK higher education institution (HEI) or approved Independent Research Organisation (IRO) eligible to receive UKRI funding. The Principal supervisor will be the point of contact for any communication related to the application.

Proposals will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Academic expertise: Relevance and fit to the project of the academic expertise of Principal supervisor and Co-supervisors;
  • Approach: Extent to which proposed development of the project brief and collaboration with the British Council and other partners will support the programme’s objectives;
  • Research environment: Level of institutional support for the academic supervision, networking, professional development and capacity building of the research fellow;
  • Administration: Capacity to manage and administer the recruitment and onboarding of the research fellow and provide pastoral support;
  • Funding: Level of in-kind support and match funding committed to the project, the degree to which the costs requested from the British Council are justified and clearly laid out.

This Call is intended to support fellowships for early-career researchers. We define early career researchers as those who are within 10 years of receiving their PhD. Allowances can be made for career breaks. 

See the Call guidelines documents for further details of which researchers will be eligible to apply for the fellowships.

We encourage proposals that include Co-supervisors based in overseas institutions and that outline potential to involve international partners such as NGOs, third-sector organisations and civil society groups, particularly those based in ODA-eligible countries. 

Outputs and deadlines: 

  • Submit all application documents (see documents below) including project proposal, budget, and Gender Equality Statement by 26 September 2022, 24:00 BST.
  • The evaluation process will take place between 27 September and 14 October 2022
  • Decisions on awards will be communicated to the applicants by 21 October 2022
  • Collaboration Agreements will be finalised by end of October 2022
  • Subject to contract execution and due diligence checks, initial grant payments will be made by end of November 2022
  • It is anticipated that the fellowships funded through this Call will commence in early 2023; with a requirement that all fellowships commence by 31 March 2023 at the latest. 

How to apply: 

Please consult the Call guidelines at the link below and complete the Application form and the Budget spreadsheet and return, along with your gender equality statement, to researchglobal@britishcouncil.org by 26 September 2022 at 24:00 BST.


See also

External links