Collaboration Grants Call

1.0 Background

Thank you for your interest in applying for a collaboration grant under the second phase of the University Staff Doctoral Programme (USDP). The USDP was launched in July 2018 by the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The USDP is an initiative of DHET under the University Capacity Development Programme (UCDP) which focuses on student development, staff development and programme or curriculum development. 

One of the aims of the USDP is to promote collaborations that seek to increase the number of academics with PhDs in South African universities (including enhancing the infrastructure and resources for PhD and Master’s Supervision). Similarly, the USDP’s Phase 2 goal is to increase the number of permanent academic and professional staff at South African institutions with doctoral degrees while also building supervisory capacity in postgraduate programs.

In preparation for the USDP Phase 2, the British Council has partnered with the Department of Higher Education and Training to support collaboration and institutional links between South African and UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI). This phase will focus on partnerships between UK and SA universities in support of doctoral training for university academic staff exploring various models for Doctoral training. 

2.0 Overview of Opportunity: Collaboration Grant in Preparation for the USDP Phase 2 Proposal Submission

South African and UK Universities are invited to apply for a grant to enable partnership discussions and joint programme development in support of doctoral training for South African academics. Programmes which are developed as part of this phase can be regarded as pilot programmes with potential for further rollout in support of doctoral training for both SA and UK students. This is an exciting opportunity to forge new links and partnerships and to strengthen existing links between SA-UK universities.

The collaboration grants call is a preparatory phase for the USDP Phase 2 call where SA-UK universities will be required to submit their final proposals in support of doctoral training for academics at SA institutions. Through this call a maximum of 15 grants to the value of GBP 5,000-10,000 (ZAR 180,000) will be awarded to UK and SA universities. SA Universities are required to partner in a consortium which includes a minimum of 1 HDI. Consortia which develop draft collaboration proposals in the scoping and development phase will be invited to apply for the USDP Phase 2 grants through a South African lead university. The primary output required of the collaboration grants call is to have a well-developed proposal produced ahead of the USDP Phase 2 project proposals deadline, which will be coordinated by DHET in July 2019. 

The scoping visits and the development of draft partnership proposals from UK-SA universities must be completed by end of June 2019. See below for more information.

2.1 Timeline

Activity Deadline
Call to UK-SA HEI consortia for collaboration grants to develop USDP Phase 2 proposals opens 7 December 2018
Call closes/deadline for submission of proposals 25 January 2019
Evaluation of collaboration grant applications 28 January - 1 February 2019
Announcement of successful applications 4 February 2019
Contracting successful applicants 5 - 28 February 2019
Grant disbursements to successful applicants March 2019
Scoping visits and USDP Phase 2 proposal development1st 1 April 2019 - end June 2019
Proposals for USDP Phase 2 submitted 5 July 2019
Review of USDP Phase 2 proposals 8 - 26 July 2019
Feedback to applicants 31 July 2019
Contracting concluded and USDP Phase 2 grant disbursements to successful consortia August 2019
Launch of USDP Phase 2 September/ October 2019
Implementation USDP Phase 2 January 2020-December 2024
Bi-annual reporting 2020- 2024
Monitoring and evaluation Ongoing
USDP Phase 2 closure report End March 2025

2.2 Eligibility criteria

This call is open to all UK and SA Universities. The lead institution for this collaboration development grant application can be a UK or SA university. For the USDP Phase 2 submissions, however, lead institutions have to be from South Africa. 

  • Institutions must have demonstrated capability in doctoral training for academic and professional staff.
  • Universities that have previously participated in UK-SA workshops/ Universities UK International (UUKi) and USAf/NRF workshops held between UK and SA universities are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Institutions which participated in the USDP Phase 1 call are eligible to apply for this funding, however, this should be a new proposal. If successful, a 2nd cohort of PhD students will be recruited as part of the partnership with a UK institution. 
  • The consortia to be formed ahead of the joint submission for USDP Phase 2 must consist of two South African universities, one of which must be a Historically Disadvantaged Institution or University of Technology as well as a UK university.

2.3 Selection criteria

Grants will be awarded based on the potential of applicants to do the following: 

  • Engage in a robust process of scoping and exploring doctoral training partnerships with the view to develop joint grant proposals for USDP Phase 2 
  • Explore various modalities for doctoral training partnerships e.g. professional doctorates, support for the establishment of Doctoral Training Centres etc
  • Form consortia of SA-UK universities with clear responsibilities and models for PhD support and completion and with evidence of institutional support.

2.4 Activity guidelines

The collaboration grant will enable institutions to undertake the following activities: 

  • Internal staff surveys to determine which departments/ disciplines at each institution require additional PhD capacity
  • Identification of areas of strategic growth (priority areas) regarding future capacity needs
  • Strengthening of existing links with UK institutions and establishment of new institutional links
  • Strategic planning and research to inform the development of a UK-SA doctoral training partnership
  • Provide an opportunity for 1-2 representatives from each institution to undertake a site visit with potential partners in the UK or SA (visits can be either inbound or outbound from the UK). Travel should follow British Council guidelines for flights, accommodation.
  • Provide a platform in which to feedback and collaboratively process the learning and forge partnerships with like-minded organisations in the UK-SA
  • No extensions will be granted on the funding duration, and any grantees who do not submit a USDP funding application will be deemed to have not used the funding for its intended purpose. Where no funding proposal is submitted, the grantee will be expected to return the grant to the British Council. Any extenuating circumstances which may arise and which may prevent the submission of a joint funding proposal should be explained in writing and approved by the British Council.

2.5 Eligible costs

2.5.1 Travel and subsistence

  • Travel (economy class) 
  • Local travel in the UK and South Africa (public transport to and from the airport and for meetings/visits is encouraged where possible)
  • Local travel in SA
  • Subsistence costs in line with British Council policies 
  • Visa fees, vaccinations, medical insurance for travel essential to the collaboration, to South Africa or the UK
  • Accommodation in SA or UK

2.5.2 Event operations

  • Costs of meetings, training events, seminars and conferences integral to the collaboration (e.g. short-term room hire, projector, flip charts)
  • Basic catering costs associated with events or meetings directly relating to the collaboration

2.6 Other costs related to collaboration development

Grant recipients will be asked to complete expenditure information and provide evidence with receipts to British Council for monitoring and auditing purposes. 

2.7 Items of expenditure not covered by the grant award

  • Participating organisations’ staff costs. The funds are not intended to contribute towards the direct costs of staff time associated with the project
  • Participation in trade fairs, exhibitions or conferences
  • Participating organisations’ administration or overhead costs
  • Costs relating to activities which have already taken place at the outset of the project
  • Exchange rate costs/loss and other banking related costs
  • Consultancy fees

Funding, if approved, begins from signature of the grant agreement between the British Council and the grantee. Expenses incurred by the institutions prior to the effective start date cannot be charged to the grant.

2.8 How to submit your application

The application form will be completed online via this link. Submissions by email will not be accepted. The online form allows applicants to enter information, submit and return later to amend until final submission. In addition to filling in the online form, applicants are required to upload a detailed budget on a specified template.
If you experience problems with the online submission system, please contact us before the submission deadline. If you alert us to technical issues only after the deadline, we may not be able to take them into consideration when assessing the eligibility of your application.

2.9 Selection process

  • Selection begins with an eligibility check by the British Council and DHET against the criteria given in these guidelines.
  • Eligible proposals then undergo assessment and scoring by a panel comprising of British Council and DHET representatives.
  • Proposals will be quality assessed against the criteria at Annex 2, resulting in a total score between 0 and 80. Those receiving a final score from the Panel meeting of less than 40 will be considered not fundable. However, achieving an average score equal to or above the threshold does not imply that the proposal will be funded.

2.10 Contact details

All queries or comments about this call can be sent to:

Name: Meekness Lunga
Designation: Project Manager: Higher Education