WUN Research Development Fund

The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) has issued a call for applications from the Research Development Fund (RDF). We would like to invite you to submit a Concept Note in which you give a brief outline of a project to be considered for submission to the WUN.

Worldwide Universities Network

The WUN includes 18 research-intensive institutions from 11 countries on five continents. It creates new multilateral opportunities for international collaboration in research and postgraduate education. Research activities are focused into Global Challenges, which are collections of high-quality WUN collaborative research projects that address issues of global significance. There are currently four Global Challenges:

1. Responding to Climate Change – focusing in the 2016 round on (i) global research platforms; and (ii) resilience of human systems. Both of which should relate to food and environment security.

2. Global Public Health [non-communicable disease (NCD)] – focusing in the 2016 round on life course approach to healthy ageing; health of migrants across the life course; the resilience of adolescents and health workers in different cultural contexts; and schools as a setting for reducing risk factors associated with NCDs.

3. Understanding Cultures – focusing in the 2016 round on migration and population; two-way understanding of China; trans-disciplinary approaches to indigenous research; global digital cultures; and heritage.

4. Global Higher Education and Research – focusing in the 2016 round on access; mobility; and investment in higher education.

Proposals are particularly encouraged that address one or more of these Global Challenges as well as one of WUN’s developing cross-cutting themes in economics, big data, and regional programmes of the Global China Group and the Global Africa Group. The RDF provides one year of seed funding with the firm expectation that projects will result in academic publications, policy impact and sustainability through securing funding from external sources.

Research Development Fund

The WUN RDF offers seed funding grants of up to £12,000 (average £10,000), to foster partnership in the network and support longer-term research collaborations. Importantly, the amount requested in a proposal from the WUN will have to be matched by all universities partnering on a proposed project. Salary payments of existing research staff will not be accepted as matching cash support. The maximum amount that the University Research Committee (URC) will pledge is R50 000.

There is a firm expectation that funded projects will result in academic publications, policy impact and on-going sustainability through securing funding from external sources.

RDF funds may cover the costs of exploratory research initiatives, targeted workshops, faculty exchanges and the formation of collaborative networks, among other activities.

PLEASE NOTE: Applications that incorporate a research mobility component for early career researchers and postgraduate students are encouraged. We therefore encourage post-docs to work with eligible staff to put in a joint proposal.

The WUN Research Development Fund does not cover management fees, salaries or salary supplementation, purchase of capital assets, equipment depreciation, scholarships, course fees, bench fees, indirect costs. Applicants need to obtain a waiver for indirect costs from their faculties. Where funds are to be used for air travel, only economy class fares are permissible.

The project should engage at least three WUN member universities from at least two different countries. The collaboration can include non-WUN universities and external partners but it must have an active core of WUN member universities.

It is priority to include new WUN members, i.e. the University of Ghana and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Assessment criteria

1. Objectives – the project is of high academic quality and addresses a novel research problem or takes an existing WUN research project in a significantly new direction. The project is likely to have significant impact, is interdisciplinary and is international in scope.

2. Relevance to WUN Goals –  

  • Does the project align with the WUN strategic objectives o
  • Does the project address a WUN Global Challenge

3. Sustainability – the program will build long-term international relationships based on genuine commitment by the research partners, and provides a plan for attracting sufficient resources for the continuation of the project beyond the initial

4. Teamwork – does the project involve a team of researchers across a range of relevant disciplines and regions? Furthermore, projects that include early-career researchers and PhD students are particularly encouraged and an outline of how this integration will be achieved should be provided.

5. Outcomes – the project will result in external funding and academic publications and/or policy options.

Eligibility criteria

  • Permanent academic staff;  
  • Emeritus Professors; Emeritus Associate Professors; Honorary Professors; Honorary Associate Professors and Senior Research Scholars who have published in accredited, subsidy-earning publications in the past year;
  • Joint permanent academic staff (excluding registrars); and
  • Contract staff employed on academic conditions of service and who have published in accredited, subsidy-earning publications in the past year.

Application Process and Deadlines 

Please note that all of the deadlines listed below are non-negotiable and not subject to change

Phase 1: 9 September 2016

  • This is the deadline to submit the completed Concept Note to Wilna Venter
  • A selection committee will review the applications.
  • Only three proposals will be selected from the submitted Concept Notes and be invited to submit full proposals.

Phase 2: 20 October 2016

  • This is the deadline for the selected applicants to submit a full proposal.

Phase 3: 28 October 2016  

  • UCT will forward the proposals to the WUN by the closing date of 28 October 2016.


Download the Concept Note (application form) here.