International Opportunities Fund

The aim of the International Opportunities Fund (IOF) Scheme is to provide resources to NERC-supported research groups to allow them to forge long-term partnerships with overseas scientists that add value to existing NERC-funded science

NERC's usual funding schemes encourage international project partnerships and the IOF is not intended to simply support international collaborative research. It has a specific aim of adding value to existing NERC-funded research, data and knowledge through international collaboration. Furthermore, the IOF seeks to provide a foundation for long-term partnership and added value that will continue beyond the lifetime of the grant. As such, the IOF aims to support collaborations that are not typically supported through NERC's usual funding schemes.

This IOF scheme supports two levels of grants with one closing date in May each year:

  1. IOF Pump Priming grants

    These aim to help researchers establish and develop new, collaborative links with international partners. Although the proposed projects may have exploratory elements, they should include specific objectives in defined science areas.

    Proposals for IOF Pump Priming awards may request funding of a maximum of £40,000 (at 80% full economic cost (FEC)) for up to two years' duration.

    Pump Priming grants will be assessed at an assessment panel meeting in September.

  2. IOF Pump Priming Plus grants

    These aim to support establishment of novel international collaborative links, as for the IOF Pump Priming grants, but allow for development of partnerships that require more resource. Such partnerships will be exceptional.

    Proposals for IOF Pump Priming grants may request funding of a maximum of £250,000 (at 80% FEC) for up to three years' duration.

    Pump Priming Plus grants will be peer-reviewed and assessed at a moderating panel meeting in September.

International Opportunities Fund - Announcement of Opportunity June 2017

Closing date: 6 Jun
2017

21 Mar 2017

NERC is inviting proposals for Pump Priming and Pump Priming Plus grants to its International Opportunities Fund (IOF). The IOF scheme provides resources to NERC-supported researchers to allow them to forge long-term partnerships with overseas scientists that add value to current NERC-funded science.


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In 2009-10 NERC conducted a review of its recent and current funding schemes that support international activities. One of the aims of the review was to ensure that future investments target gaps where international activities are not typically supported through NERC's 'usual' funding schemes. Based on the results and recommendations of the review, the International Opportunities Fund (IOF) was re-launched to support international collaborative activities that are not typically funded through other NERC funding schemes.

Following the 2012 IOF call NERC undertook a survey of previous applicants and panel members in order to review how best the IOF scheme could continue to meet the needs of the community to support international partnerships. The outcome of the consultation was the creation of two separate calls under the IOF scheme; a Pump Priming call to support the initiation and development of new international partnerships and a Pump Priming Plus call to support the development of partnerships that require more resource. Projects funded under both calls should add value to current NERC research.

Following an internal review of the IOF scheme in 2015, a number of important changes will be introduced from 2016:

  • There will be a single Announcement of Opportunity for both IOF Pump Priming and Pump Priming Plus grants to be held annually in May;
  • Maximum requested funding in Pump Priming Plus proposals will be reduced to £250,000 (at 80% FEC) and peer reviewed in line with the process for NERC Standard grants;
  • Co-investigators currently in receipt of eligible NERC research funding can now apply directly to both IOF Pump Priming and Pump Priming Plus grants;
  • Applicants will be required to submit an additional mandatory attachment in their application detailing how the IOF proposal will add value to existing NERC-funded research.

Further information on the above changes to the IOF scheme and updated guidance for applicants will be published in due course in the Announcement of Opportunity.

Timing

2010 - onwards

Can I apply for a grant?

Closing dates for both the Pump Priming and Pump Priming Plus call will be held in May each year.

Budget

The funding available for each call will be published in the Announcement of Opportunities.

Programme awards

Award details are shown in our online grants browser - Grants on the Web - external link