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International Exchanges

This scheme is for scientists in the UK who want to stimulate new collaborations with leading scientists overseas through either a one-off visit or bilateral travel.

Computer-enhanced blue/grey iris of the eye. Credit: DAVID PARKER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY. Past recipient Professor Harvey Burd studied the human eye

The scheme is intended to stimulate new collaborations between scientists in the UK and overseas.  It is not intended to support continued research between a UK applicant and co-applicant who was a former colleague or PhD student or to support other existing or recent collaborations between the applicant and co-applicant. .

Additional funding is available through Kan Tong Po Fellowships to support collaborations with scientists in Hong Kong. This has been made possible through the generosity of the family of the late Mr Kan Tong Po and it aims to contribute at the highest level of scientific research and education by awarding Visiting Fellowships each year to UK or US based scientists to collaborate with a Hong Kong-based academic, or for Hong Kong-based scientists to collaborate with an academic based in either the UK or US.  Please refer to scheme notes for more information and eligible universities.

Thanks to the support of the Royal Society of Chemistry additional grants are available through the Royal Society – Royal Society of Chemistry International Exchanges Award for collaborations between researchers in the UK and those in Sub-Saharan Africa working on projects in the field of Chemistry. Up to £12,000 is available for 2-year projects for travel and subsistence including a maximum of £2,000 for research expenses. Applications must be made through the Standard Programme and more information can be found in the standard programme scheme notes.

Am I eligible to apply?

The scheme covers all areas of the life and physical sciences, including engineering, but excluding clinical medicine.

You can apply for this scheme if both you and your co-applicant:

  • have a PhD, or are likely to have a PhD by the time the funding starts
  • hold a fixed or permanent contract at an eligible organisation for the duration of the project (ineligible organisations include industrial, private and commercial organisations, university spin-out companies, government bodies and research institutes and research councils)
  • are based in the respective countries at the time of the application

Collaborations should be based on a single project and travel can only take place between the UK and a country where the overseas collaborator is based. In the case of cost share applications (see below), a relationship between both parties should already be established prior to making an application.

The International Exchanges Scheme is available for travel to all countries outside of the UK.

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

What is the scheme’s value and tenure?

The funding available is dependent upon the length of the visit. Applicants may request:

  • up to of £3,000 for one-off travel lasting up to 3 months
  • up to £6000 for multiple visits to be completed within 1 year (including a maximum of £1000 for research expenses)
  • up to £12,000 for multiple visits to be completed within 2 years and cost share projects fixed at 2 years (including a maximum of £2000 for research expenses)

Cost-share programme

If you intend to collaborate with partners in Taiwan, France, Ireland, China or Russia, your proposal can also be considered as a cost share application. This entails the UK applicant submitting a proposal to the Royal Society for up to £12,000 and the overseas applicant simultaneously submitting a proposal for an additional amount up to/equivalent to £12,000 to a partner organisation, with whom the Royal Society has a funding agreement. For further details about the countries covered, application process and eligibility requirements please read the cost share programme scheme notes.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s electronic grant application system (e-GAP). Applications are initially reviewed by members of the International Exchanges Scheme panel with the most appropriate scientific expertise. Following this a shortlist is drawn up which is reviewed by the panel Chair before a decision is made. Results are available approximately 4 months after the round closes.

Case studies

Professor Paul Bates

Professor Scott Armbruster