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Challenge Grants


As part of the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF), the Royal Society has launched a new grants programme: Royal Society Challenge Grants.  This scheme is an exciting opportunity for the exceptional scientists supported by the Society through its Dorothy Hodgkin, University Research, Sir Henry Dale and Industry Fellowships, Wolfson Research Merit Award holders and Research Professorships to work on some of the global challenges and problems facing developing countries.

Royal Society Challenge Grants

Objectives of the Challenge Grants are to enable some of our best researchers to:

  • Develop new areas of research that will address such global challenges directly and primarily relevant to developing countries.
  • Employ interdisciplinary approaches to address some of the complex research questions posed by global development problems.
  • Develop collaborations with the best overseas researchers around the world to encourage new alliances to be brought together.

The scheme is not intended to supplement existing grants.

The proposed research must fall within the remit of the Royal Society (the natural sciences including engineering). The Royal Society does not cover social sciences or clinical medical research.

Am I eligible to apply?

You can apply for this scheme if you are: 

  • A Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin, University Research, Sir Henry Dale and Industry Fellow, Wolfson Merit Research Award holder or Research Professor. Researchers must be supported by the Society during the grant. (Instances where the RS fellowship will end during the grant the applicant must have secured an academic position or fixed term position.)
  • Proposals must address research questions or problems relevant to Global Challenge themes and ultimately benefit the economic development and welfare of developing countries (i.e. compliant with the ODA guidelines).

Before applying, please ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements, which are explained in the scheme notes.

Applicants can only submit one application per round.

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

This scheme provides:

  • Up to £100,000 and will be dependent on case for support.
  • Duration for 12 months (requests for no-costs extensions will be considered).
  • The grant can be used flexibly on activities directly relevant to the research. Requests can include: research expenses, salary (or contribution) for research assistance (note this must take account of FEC), collaborative travel essential for advancing the research project, small pieces of equipment of up to £10K
    (including VAT).

All projects must start by 4 December 2017.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s grants and awards management system (Flexi-Grant®). Applications will be reviewed by the Royal Society Challenge Grants selection panel, a broad scientific panel. 

Further details about the award, including information on how to apply and the assessment criteria, can be found in the scheme notes.

Find further guidance about the Global Challenge Research Fund.