This call is now closed. The following is for information only.

The ESRC and National Research Foundation (NRF) invite collaborative projects between the UK and South Africa which can offer additional value to existing programmes of education research, and contribute to the economic development and welfare of South Africa and Africa more broadly.

In particular we invite proposals which address the following themes:

  • Organisation of higher education systems, higher education institutions (HEIs) and alternative providers 
  • Equity in higher education access and participation 
  • Curriculum, pedagogy and modes and levels of provision
  • Higher education for the public good
  • Higher education and the labour market

This call has been launched under the Newton Fund and as such all research projects should be collaborative in nature and be focused on addressing research of relevance to South Africa or wider Africa more broadly. Each project will therefore require both a UK and a South African principal investigator.

The ESRC has allocated up to £2.5 million and NRF has allocated RAND 10 million; we expect to fund between four to six research projects through this joint call depending on the quality of proposals received.

Proposals are invited for joint UK and South African projects; each proposal may request £415,000 - £630,000 at 100 per cent fEC from the ESRC and R1.67m to R2.5m from NRF over 30 months in duration.

Correction 16 March: The project duration was previously stated as being up to 20 months. This was incorrect and has now been amended in all documentation to the correct maximum duration of 30 months.

Consortia should consider how their proposal makes the best use of available expertise in the UK and South Africa, the added value of collaboration, and how the proposal will meet the Official Development Assistance (ODA) requirements (RCUK website) of this Newton Fund activity and contribute towards the economic development and welfare of South Africa and Africa more broadly.

Proposals should be submitted by 16.00 (UK) / 17.00 (South Africa) on 3 May 2016

Application process

As this is a joint proposal to ESRC and NRF, applicants should ensure that identical proposals are submitted by 16.00 (UK) / 17.00 (South Africa) on 3 May 2016 to both ESRC and NRF. Any proposals received after this deadline will not be considered for funding.

Both proposals should feature an identical case for support written in English. For each collaborative proposal, the UK and South African lead partners should prepare a single case for support that should be submitted to both ESRC and NRF. This common case for support will allow the ESRC and NRF to obtain reviews of the same document, coming together in a joint panel decision meeting.

Please ensure that following are included in both submissions:

  • Common case for support in English
  • International funding agency resource form (available below)

UK submission

The UK application should be submitted through the UK Research Councils grant submission system Je-S (further details in the Je-S guidance below).

South African submission

For full details on how to submit please follow the instructions in the call specification below.

The Newton Fund

The UK contribution will be channelled from the Newton Fund. The Newton Fund is an initiative intended to strengthen research and innovation partnerships between the UK and emerging knowledge economies to promote economic development and social welfare of partner countries. It was launched by the Chancellor in April 2014, and will deliver £375 million of funding over the course of five years.

The Fund forms part of the UK's Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment which is monitored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). ODA funded activity focuses on outcomes that promote the long-term sustainable growth of countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee list. Newton Fund countries represent a sub-set of this list.

The Newton Fund requires that the funding be awarded in a manner that fits with Official Development Assistance (ODA) guidelines (RCUK website). All applications under this call must therefore be compliant with these guidelines.

Key dates

  • Closing date for proposals – 3 May 2016
  • ESRC and NRF joint panel – August 2016
  • Decisions announced – September 2016
  • Grants commence – 1 October 2016

Call documents