International Opportunities Fund - Announcement of Opportunity September 2014

8 Aug 2014

Closing date for full proposals: 25 September 2014 at 16.00 BST

Aims

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is inviting proposals 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. IOF grants are pump-priming, to help stimulate novel research collaborations. Mature research collaborations should apply to NERC's Standard or Large Grant schemes, which allow for overseas project partnerships, or to other appropriate sources of funding.

Awards

In general, NERC expects pump-priming for international research can be supported with modest amounts of funding. For example, to support a focused programme of exchange visits and/or scoping workshops. This call is for IOF Pump Priming grants and larger Pump Priming Plus grants.

Applicants considering international collaboration with researchers from São Paulo State, Brazil, should note that this call will accept joint proposals to NERC-FAPESP (the State of São Paulo Research Foundation) under the terms of the RCUK/FAPESP Memorandum of Understanding (see Annex A of the Guidance for Applicants for further details).

The total funding available for this call is anticipated to be approximately £820k to fund a combination of Pump-Priming and Pump-Priming Plus grants.

IOF Pump-Priming Grants

These aim to help researchers establish and develop new collaborative links with international partners. Although the grants may have exploratory elements, the proposal should include specific scientific objectives.

Proposals for IOF Pump Priming Grants may request funding of a maximum of £40k (at 80% FEC) for up to two years duration. As IOF Pump Priming Grants are limited to a maximum of £40k (at 80% FEC), proposals should be realistic in terms of proposed objectives, resources and impact. Proposals should also show clear added value to NERC science (ie from a specified existing NERC grant or NERC Research Centre programme: please see eligibility criteria), and 'buy-in' from the international partner(s).

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, and the additional resources must be well justified. Examples of where such resources may be appropriate include:

  • UK leadership of large scale, multilateral, international efforts
  • Piloting the deployment of UK infrastructure overseas.

Proposals for IOF Pump Priming grants may request funding of a maximum of £320K (at 80% FEC) for up to three years duration. Proposals should also show clear added value to NERC science (ie from a specified existing NERC grant or NERC Research Centre Programme: please see eligibility criteria) and 'buy-in' from the international partner(s).

Eligibility

Standard NERC eligibility requirements apply (see Section B of Research Grants Handbook). In addition, because the aim of the IOF is to add value to current NERC investments through international collaboration, applications must be made by a Principal Investigator (PI) who is currently both eligible for NERC responsive mode funding and currently in receipt of NERC research funding as a PI (lead or non-lead), through one of the following mechanisms:

  1. a NERC responsive mode grant
  2. a NERC Research Programme grant
  3. a Research Scientist at one of the NERC centres
  4. a current recipient of a fellowship grant from NERC.

The NERC grant reference should be quoted on the application and it should be made clear how the proposed work adds value to current NERC-funded work.

How to apply

Proposals must be submitted using the Research Councils' Joint Electronic Submission system (Je-S). Please select Proposal Type 'Standard Proposal' and then select the Scheme 'International Opportunities Fund' and the Calls:

  1. For IOF Pump Priming Grants: 'International Opportunities Fund 2014a Pump priming'
  2. For IOF Pump Priming Plus Grants: 'International Opportunities Fund 2014a Pump Priming Plus'

In addition to NERC's usual guidelines the Guidance for Applicants contains further information and guidance specific to this IOF Call. It is essential that you read it before applying to the scheme.

IOF Call Guidance for Applicants (PDF, 93KB)

Where the RCUK-FAPESP Memorandum of Understanding is being applied, applicants must attach the completed FAPESP-NERC Pump Priming Proposal Form as supporting documents. It is essential you also read Annex A of the Guidance for Applicants before applying.

FAPESP-NERC Pump Priming Proposal Form (Word, 54KB)