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Global Research Team Addresses Global Challenges

U.S. and U.K. governments announce second round of funding for STEM research partnerships

NEW YORK, August 18, 2014—A joint program of the U.S. and UK governments is bringing research teams from across the world together to tackle some of the biggest global challenges in sustainable energy, urban development, food security and health. The Global Innovation Initiative made grants to 23 partnerships in the first round of funding and has announced that the application for the second round of funding will open on August 18, 2014.

Grants will be awarded to partnerships between teams of researchers at universities in the U.S., UK and a designated other country (Brazil, China, India, or Indonesia). The funds will support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research in the following areas: energy, environment and climate change; urban development; agriculture, food security and water; and global health.

The program aims to raise the bar for international collaboration while developing a new cadre of globally-savvy academics. It will support research into global challenges, strengthen cooperation between higher education institutions, and show the benefits of multilateral partnerships.  

In the first round, 23 multilateral research partnerships received a total of $5.1 million (£3 million) for projects including:

  • Scientists in the UK, U.S. and China are using the echolocation process used by bats and dolphins to develop a device for blind people that will improve their independence in daily life through enhanced spatial sensing.
  • Researchers from the U.S., UK, and Indonesia are examining Indonesia’s booming aquaculture industry and ways to mitigate the detrimental effects of waste materials on the local ecology.
  • Specialists from the U.S., UK and India will use rapid crowdsourcing to monitor access to safe drinking water in India and estimate village-scale drinking water risks.
  • Experts from the UK, U.S. and Brazil are addressing infectious diseases by looking into how land use  change affects biodiversity and vector-borne diseases.

For the second round, two new parallel competitions will be conducted in the United States and UK. U.S.-led partnerships may apply for grants ranging from $100,000 - $200,000 through the Institute of International Education. UK-led partnerships may apply through the British Council for grants ranging from £100,000 - £150,000. For further application information, please visit the Global Innovation Initiatives website.

The Global Innovation Initiative was announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, and was formally launched in October 2013 by Rt Hon. David Willetts MP. The initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the British Council.  The Institute of International Education administers the program in the U.S. on the behalf the U.S. Department of State and the British Council administers the program in the UK.

The Global Innovation Initiative was created to support multilateral research collaboration to address global challenges, in keeping with the vision of U.S. President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s joint statements in 2011 and 2012.

Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, stated, “The U.S. and UK share a long and rich history of higher education collaboration, and both countries have also benefited from partnering individually with counterparts in Brazil, India, Indonesia and China. The Global Innovation Initiative will foster new multilateral partnerships in the conviction that major global issues such as climate change, food security, urban development, and global health require expertise from and collaboration among these key countries.”

British Council CEO, Martin Davidson, said that “our Researcher Links program 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.”

More information about the competition can be found on the Global Innovation Initiative’s website.


About the Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations.

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