British Council

What is the Global Innovation Initiative?

The Global Innovation Initiative (GII) is a shared commitment of the United Kingdom and the United States to strengthen research collaboration between universities in the UK, US, and emerging economies.

Consistent with the vision set by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barak Obama in joint statements signed in 2011 and 2012, the Global Innovation Initiative was created to support multilateral higher education research collaborations in addressing global challenges.  

GII was first announced by US Secretary of State John Kerry and former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague in June 2013 and was formally launched in the UK in October 2013 by the Rt Hon. David Willetts MP. 

GII will award grants ranging from £100,000 - £150,000 to university consortia focusing on interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related issues of global significance that foster cutting-edge research and strengthen international partnerships.

The grants are intended to bring mutual benefit to higher education institutions in the UK, US and emerging economies by developing multilateral relationships that enhance institutional ties. 


Proposals that address the following STEM-related themes will be accepted for this year’s competition:

  • Energy, environment and climate change
  • Urban development
  • Agriculture, food security and water
  • Global health 
  • Thematic descriptions are available in the guidelines pdf below.


New or existing research partnerships comprised of at least one higher education institution in the UK, the US, and at least one select country are invited to apply for a Global Innovation Initiative grant.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the US Department of State have identified the following emerging economies as designated countries for the Global Innovation Initiative:

  • Brazil
  • China
  • India
  • Indonesia


Two parallel grant competitions will be offered in the UK and the US.  Partnerships must identify either a UK or US lead institution, which will be responsible for the application submission, grant reporting and fiduciary requirements.

Partnerships led by a UK institution must apply through the UK competition administered by the British Council, and those led by a US institution must apply through the US competition administered by the Institute of International Education

A higher education institution may be involved in multiple, distinct proposals but cannot submit the same proposal through both the UK and US application streams.


Grant competition opens: 18 August 2014

Grant competition closes: 31 October 2014 17.00 GMT 

Enquiries: GII@britishcouncil.org