The Global Partnerships Seedcorn Fund enables UK researchers to develop new international partnerships and networks, which underpin the development of long-term sustainable collaborations.
Proposed collaborations may involve international research partners from any country and in any science area within NERC’s remit.
UKRI believes freedom to work without fear of reprisals is essential and international collaboration is vital in addressing the global challenges we all face.
However, you are strongly encouraged to consider the current geopolitical environment and corresponding institutional and funding guidance with respect to the conflict in Ukraine. The Global Partnerships Seedcorn Fund team will be pleased to consult specifically on questions arising in this area. Please see ‘Contact’ for details.
Although the majority of the application should lie within NERC remit, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations with international partners are welcomed.
The aim of the Global Partnerships Seedcorn Fund is to support development of partnerships that are:
- international (from any country)
- new (partners you have not collaborated with previously)
- long-term (that will be self-sustaining beyond the lifetime of the grant)
Whilst some exploratory elements are expected, the proposal must include specific scientific objectives. Research excellence remains a consideration and the partnership should aim to develop in areas of excellence that could not be achieved from working with UK partners.
You should ensure the balance between partnership building activities and direct research is appropriate, considering the key objectives of the funding opportunity.
Supported activities may include but are not limited to:
- programmes of exchange visits or staff secondments
- establishing networks on a common research area
- scoping, feasibility or proof of concept studies
New collaborations may enable UK researchers and international partners to share:
- unique or complementary data
- field sites
In all cases, activities must be undertaken with the clear and demonstrable intention of developing long-term sustainable collaborations.
The inclusion of 1 or more international project partners is mandatory.
To maximise the quality of the activity and its potential to develop long-term sustainable partnerships, international project partners must have an integral role in the proposed work.
You can work with project partners from any country (please note comment above) around the globe, outside of the UK.
You should note the following when considering potential partners:
- the quality of partnerships should be the primary criteria rather than the number of international partners
- while existing long-standing international partners are welcome to participate, the application must primarily involve developing new international project partnerships
- proposed work can include promoting socio-economic development, impact and welfare, but be aware this is not an Official Development Assistance (ODA) opportunity
Details of the project partners and their contributions to the project must be recorded in the appropriate sections of the application including:
- the Joint Electronic Submission (Je-S) system form
- case for support
- project partner letters of support
Letters of support will be a key consideration of the panel at assessment and should complement the case for support effectively.
Proposals with international partners from São Paulo, Brazil
This opportunity will accept joint proposals with researchers from the State of São Paulo in Brazil under the terms of the UKRI-São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) lead agency agreement (PDF, 260KB).
Please read the FAPESP guidance (PDF, 78KB).
Learn more about FAPESP.
Proposals with international partners from Taiwan
This opportunity will accept joint proposals with researchers from Taiwan under the NERC-National Science and Technology Council, Taiwan (NSTC) memorandum of understanding.
Please read the NSTC guidance (PDF, 91KB).
Learn more about NSTC.
NERC has provisionally allocated £1 million to this funding opportunity. The maximum funding for Global Partnerships Seedcorn Fund proposals is £100,000 at 100% full economic cost with a duration of up to 2 years.
All applicants are advised to consult their institutional finance officers when completing the financial parts of the application.
All applicants should enter the 100% full economic cost of the proposed research into the budget sections of the Je-S form. All costs should be in pounds sterling (£).
Requested costs for UK research organisations will be funded at 80% of full economic cost. All costs associated with the project must be itemised in the Je-S form and justified in the justification of resources document.
Eligible international co-investigator costs (under the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis or Norway agreement) are funded at 100% for eligible direct costs and can be a maximum of 30% of the full economic cost value (for all international costs). This is separate to the allowable project partner travel and subsistence costs for this opportunity.
For eligible international co-investigators, we will fund:
- co-investigator salaries
- directly incurred costs (for example, travel and subsistence, consumables)
- research assistants
We will not fund:
- estates and other indirect costs
- capital costs
- equipment over £10,000 (anything under £10,000 can be requested under directly incurred costs)
Funding for international project partners
International project partners are not eligible for direct funding. However, eligible UK organisations may request up to £15,000 towards their international partners travel and subsistence costs during visits or exchanges.
All travel and subsistence for international project partners will be payable at 100% of actual costs. For projects seeking support from FAPESP or NSTC, you may still use this allowance, or part of it. However, you should carefully consider and make clear which costs are supported by NERC and why.
What we do not cover
You cannot receive support for the following costs under this opportunity:
- conference attendance, including registration fees, and travel and subsistence costs
- standard office computing equipment
- equipment over £10,000 (inclusive of VAT)
- all international project partner costs, such as, salary and estates costs, except for travel and subsistence up to £15,000
- associated studentships
Projects should be no longer than 24 months in duration, with an earliest start date of 2 October 2023 and latest of 15 November 2023.
You must adhere to UKRI open research policy and NERC data policy and include an outline data management plan under the data management and sharing section.
Read the NERC data management planning guidance.
For details of data centres, see the NERC Environmental Data Service.
NERC will pay the data centre directly on behalf of the programme for archival and curation services, but you should ensure that you request sufficient resource to cover preparation of data for archiving by the research team.
Additional services from the data centres, such as database development or a specialist in project data management during your project, will need to be discussed with the relevant data centre prior to submission, costs for additional services will need to be included in the grant application.
If you wish to use a NERC service or facility, you must seek agreement from the facility at least 2 months before submitting your proposal.
Applying to use NERC services and facilities.
All NERC grant holders are required to report through the UKRI reporting system, Researchfish. This is required annually and continues for up to 5 years after funding ends.