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Call Open: Worldwide Universities Network Research Development Fund 2019

What is the WUN Research Development Fund? 

The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is a world-leading research university network, tackling global challenges through international collaboration. 

The Research Development Fund provides grants of up to £10,000 to foster research collaborations among academic staff members at WUN partner universities. Grants are awarded on a match-funded basis, to augment funding from WUN Partner Universities. This means that total funding for projects can be up to £20,000.  

The WUN prioritises collaborations that align with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and almost a third of the WUN’s member universities are in ODA-compliant countries. A successful RDF project can help establish productive partnerships and networks that could form the basis of a proposal to a larger funding opportunity, such as the Global Challenges Research Fund.

What areas of research are prioritised?

 Projects must fall within the scope of one or more of the WUN global challenges:

This year, the WUN is particularly encouraging proposals that either:

             (A)  Involve collaboration across two or more of the WUN Global Challenges (or)
             (B)  Address one or more of the Global Challenges Group's priority areas

Full information, including details of the Global Challenges Group's priority areas, can be found on the full WUN RDF Guidelines:  WUN Research Development Fund Guidelines (PDF , 135kb)Please contact Elisha Witcomb, the University of York’s WUN Coordinator, for advice on choosing a project theme. 

What activities are funded by the WUN RDF?

Funds may be used for such activities as exploratory research initiatives, planning workshops, faculty exchanges, the formation of collaborative networks, and engagement with students via guest lectures or master classes. Applications that incorporate research mobility for PhD students are encouraged.

What are the eligibility requirements?

The RDF is open only to academic staff at WUN partner universities.

Projects should engage at least three member universities, in at least two countries. Projects that engage newer members of WUN (University College Dublin, Tecnológico de Monterrey, and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) are especially encouraged.

How can I apply?  

Contact Elisha Witcomb for advice on eligibility, preparing the application, identifying collaborators in the network, internal deadlines, and the internal review process. Full guidelines can be found here: WUN Research Development Fund Guidelines (PDF , 135kb)

There is a two-stage application process for WUN applications, as the University of York is limited to two lead-RDF applications per call. To allow time for internal prioritisation, applications must be submitted via the online portal by Monday 30 September 2019. The link to the online portal can be found here.  A simple video tutorial for applicants that demonstrates how to use the online application system can be found here.


  1. Register your interest with Elisha Witcomb as soon as possible. P-Is to complete the online application form
  2. Monday 30 September 2019: Internal deadline of submission of proposals, via the online application system 
  3. Throughout October 2019: Applications will be reviewed and prioritised by an internal panel, chaired by the PVC-Research
  4. 31 October 2019: Applications that pass the internal review are then submitted for review by the WUN Central Selection Committee
  5. Results announced: 31 December 2019.

What if I have been invited to collaborate on a WUN RDF Project?

Funding is available through the University of York’s Research Priming Fund, to support co-investigators’ involvement in WUN RDF projects. Your Primary-Investigator will require a letter to confirm your support in the project, whether that be matched-funding or support in-kind. Please be mindful that your Primary-Investigator will be required to go through an internal prioritisation process at their respective university, and that their deadlines may be different.  Contact Elisha Witcomb, to request a letter of support.

Contact details

Elisha Witcomb
Global Partnerships Officer and WUN Coordinator for the University of York
Global Engagement