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International Exchanges

This  scheme is for scientists based in the UK (or US for the Kan Tong Po programme) 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  schemes are 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.

Standard Programme 

The Standard Programme is available for travel to/from all countries outside the UK. 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)

The Royal Society - Royal Society of Chemistry International Exchanges Award

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 (excluding South 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.  Further information can be found in the Standard programme scheme notes.

The Royal Society Colin Pillinger International Exchanges Award

The Royal Society offers additional funding through its Colin Pillinger International Exchanges Awards. This support has been made possible by the family and friends of Professor Colin Pillinger. In addition to the funding available through the Standard programme, applicants who wish to apply for this award can request an additional sum of up to £1,000 to enable them to communicate their research to the general public.

Cost Share Programme

If you intend to collaborate with partners in Argentina, China, France, Ireland, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, your proposal can also be considered for the Cost Share Programme. 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. Further information can be found in the Cost Share programme scheme notes.

Kan Tong Po Programme

The Kan Tong Po Programme are for UK or US-based scientists to collaborate with Hong Kong-based academics based at University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the City University of Hong Kong or the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Applicants may request up to of £3,000 for one-off travel lasting up to 3 months. Further information can be found in the Kan Tong Po programme scheme notes.

Am I eligible to apply?

The scheme covers all areas life and physical sciences, but excluding social science, clinical or patient-oriented research.

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

  • hold a PhD or equivalent research experience 
  • 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 and government bodies)
  • 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, a relationship between both parties should already be established prior to making an application.

What is the application process?

Applications should be submitted through the Royal Society’s grants and awards management system (Flexi-Grant®). 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.

Please note that confirmation of support from the UK and overseas heads of department will need to be completed before the advertised deadline in order to successfully complete and submit the application.  Your Research Office will not be able to approve your application for submission to the Royal Society until the departmental supports and application form have been completed. Applicants should bear this in mind when coordinating the completion of the application prior to submission.

Case studies

Professor Paul Bates

Professor Scott Armbruster