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International Science Partnerships Fund

The International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF) supports UK researchers and innovators to collaborate with international partners on multi-disciplinary projects.

It will support close working with international partners to address global challenges, build knowledge and develop the technologies of tomorrow.

What is the fund?

The International Science Partnerships Fund is designed to enable potential and foster prosperity. It puts research and innovation at the heart of our international relationships, supporting UK researchers and innovators to work with peers around the world on the major themes of our time: planet, health, tech, and talent. The fund is managed by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

What themes are covered?

  • Opportunities launched through the fund will focus on four major themes.
  • Resilient planet - leading the green industrial revolution to protect the planet.
  • Healthy people, animals and plants – researching and innovating for secure and healthy populations.
  • Transformative technologies - developing responsible technologies to secure our place in tomorrow’s world.
  • Tomorrow’s talent – nurturing talent to drive inclusion, research and innovation.
  • ISPF opportunities from the British Council - what types of funding will be offered?

UK-South Africa partnerships:

1. African Science Partnerships Programme (ASEP)

A technology transfer and entrepreneurship programme which aims to support science graduates and university lecturers to translate their research into innovative products, this is in response to youth unemployment and considering a lot of research conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa does not translate into physical products.

2. South African Trilateral Research Chairs Initiative (SARCHI)

An innovative approach to improve the extent, delivery and impact of building research capacity and addressing regional and global challenges through long term collaborative research. The goal of the programme is to develop innovative solutions that respond to national and regional challenges through long term research collaborations, whilst providing mobility and mentorship opportunities of emerging researchers by world renowned research leaders in UK, South Africa, and other participating countries. The main aim for this project is to strengthen links between African higher Education and research institutions with the UK and tackle global challenges and develop future technologies by investing in research and innovation.

3. Southern African Systems Analysis Centre Programme (SASAC)

SASAC aims to bring together academia, international collaboration, and systems thinking to address pressing issues, including climate change, energy, water, and food security. This will be implemented by offering scholarships for students to conduct doctoral studies at an African higher education institution.

4. University Staff Doctoral Programme (USDP)

The USDP is a project-based programme, supporting various projects at universities, through which academics are recruited and supported to undertake doctoral studies. The activity aims to increase the number of academic staff who hold PhD degrees within public universities, while driving innovation and entrepreneurship in South Africa and in the wider region.


  •  National Research Foundation
  •  Department of Higher Education and Training
  •  Department of Science and Innovation
  •  South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRF)

Launch of International Science Partnership Fund to support UK-South Africa science and research collaboration