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Frequently Asked Questions

About the Newton Prize

What is the Newton Prize?

The Newton Prize recognises excellent science, research and innovation in support of economic development and social welfare in Newton Fund partner countries.

This annual £1 million prize fund celebrates the best partnerships between the UK and Newton countries, encouraging international collaboration to address global challenges.

For the 2020 Newton Prize, the countries are Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Turkey and South Africa. The Newton Prize will be awarded for the best research or innovation that promotes the economic development and social welfare of Newton partner countries, DAC List Countries or addresses global challenges; aligning with the Newton Fund’s overall objectives.

For more information please refer to the Newton Prize pages in this section of the Newton Fund website. If you cannot find the information you are looking for please contact us.


Who is eligible to apply for the Newton Prize?

The Newton Prize is only open to existing or past recipients of Newton funding, with projects in the eligible countries for the year in which you are applying. The prize will be awarded to projects which demonstrate proven impact and can advance their work through the Newton Prize. The prize funding must contribute to the future science and innovation activity of the winning partnership. A minimum of 50% of the funding must be spent on eligible activity within Newton Partner countries and 50% or less spent in the UK. You can find all the partner countries here.


Will all partner countries receive a prize?

The prize will be awarded in most of our Newton Partner countries in rotation between 2017 and 2021, the exception being where a partner country has recently joined the Newton Fund and so sufficient time would not have passed for the Newton Fund projects in that country to demonstrate proven impact, which is one of the main criteria for awarding the Newton Prize. Countries receiving the prize will not receive the Newton Prize again until after three years. You can find more information about last year’s winners here.


How are decisions made on the winners?

All the applications will be assessed by a diverse group of external peer reviewers with relevant expertise. The reviewers will complete assessment forms for each application and mark them according to specific criteria relating to the Newton Fund and international development objectives to arrive at a shortlist. Please find more information on the selection criteria here.

The shortlisted applications will be reviewed and discussed by an independent Newton Prize Committee who make the final decision on the winners.


What type of partnerships or activities could receive a prize?

The Newton Fund has provided funding for a number of science and innovation partnerships, teams and pieces of work with the Newton Partner countries. Some examples of Newton Funded work that could be awarded a prize include those that improve our understanding of:

All types of funded work under the Newton Fund are eligible - from individual fellowships to multi-million-pound collaborative research projects. Read about the diversity of projects shortlisted in 20172018 and 2019.


What activities can the Prize funding be used for?

The Prize funding can be used in the Newton partner country for a number of activities that will advance the work of the research partnership. This can include funding additional user research; new equipment and facilities; and employing extra staff.


Do partner countries need to match funding for the Prize?

No, we do not require match funding from the partner country.


How many applications are typically received?

Over 150 applications were received each year to date. The applications represented the breadth and depth of Newton Fund work; from multi institutional research operations to awards for individual fellowships, workshops and networks. They addressed challenges from sustainable food production to renewable energy; from disease prevention to transformational technology; from city planning to disaster management.


What is the prize worth?

In 2020, one Newton Prize will be awarded to each of the 2020 Newton Prize eligible partner countries. There is no competition between the eligible countries for these prizes. There will be one additional prize, the Chair’s Prize, which is open to all to apply, this will be for the project that best demonstrates knowledge and partnership working.

Award amounts:

Please note that if successful at Part A of the application process, you will be invited at Part B to choose which prize you are submitting a proposal for.

Payments to the Prize winners will be paid quarterly in arrears.


What is the Country Prize?

This year you can apply for one of the five Country Prizes or the Chair's Prize. You cannot apply for both. Six prizes in total will be awarded, one in each country and one Chair's Prize.

Projects with a budget between £50,000 and £200,000 can choose to apply for one of the five Country Prizes:

Visit the selection criteria page for more details about what information to include in your Part B Country Prize application.


What is the Chair’s Prize?

This year you can apply for one of the five Country Prizes or the Chair's Prize. You cannot apply for both. Six prizes in total will be awarded, one in each country and one Chair's Prize.

Projects with a budget between £200,000 and £500,000 can choose to apply for the Chair’s Prize.

One Chair's Prize will be awarded from all the Chair's Prize applications received across all three SDG options:

Projects will be required to show additional evidence of how their project addresses one or more targets of the SDG they have chosen to apply for. Please visit the selection criteria page for more information about each goal and it's specific targets.


What is ODA?

ODA stands for Official Development Assistance. Prize applications will need to demonstrate that their plans for spending the prize money are ODA-compliant. More information and resources on ODA can be found here.


Who administers the Newton Prize?

The United Kingdom National Commission (UKNC) for UNESCO in London has been appointed by BEIS as the contractor to administer the Newton Prize application process. Contact:


About Part B of the application: Your Newton Prize proposed project

Can I apply for the Chairs prize and the country prize in my part B application?

No, you must choose whether to apply for the Chair's prize or a country prize.

What questions will I need to answer on my Part B proposal form?

You can see a PDF of the Part B application proposal questions on the selection criteria page.

Where can I find the prize selection criteria?

All applicants will need to address the prize selection criteria concerning impact. Please take note of question weightings which will indicate particularly important questions you/your team will need to answer.


Do I have to spend at least 50% of the prize in the Partner Country?



Is it mandatory to have a UK partner/continue working with the existing UK partner for the prize proposal?

The prize aims to incentivise researchers and businesses to participate in the Newton Fund as partners with the UK, and to work on the most important challenges facing Newton countries. The concept for the Newton Prize has been developed to raise the profile of the Newton Fund, to demonstrate how UK partnerships with Newton countries are solving global challenges, and to celebrate the impacts made as a result of these international collaborations.

It is not mandatory to have a formal UK partner in order to demonstrate this, but it must be clear in your application how your proposal contributes to these main aims of the prize and that you have consent from any original project partners (in the UK or elsewhere) to proceed with the application without their involvement. Please note these partners may be contacted during the eligibility checking process.


What % FEC does the Newton Prize operate at?

The Newton Prize operates at FEC 100%.    


If successful, which organisation receives the prize money?

The normal process is the lead institution in the UK receive the grant (paid quarterly in arrears) and is responsible for disbursing this to the project partners. The BEIS grant letter asks for a copy of the consortium agreement – so that it is clear who the partners are and where the funding is being dispersed. 


How should I calculate the overheads costs to my partner institution?

The costings is for the academics to scope as part of their proposal. It is hard for us to provide specific guidance because the projects vary so much. You should be working in tandem with your partners to determine costs as accurately as possible.


Country-specific FAQs

Egypt applications

Will I need any approvals from the government in Egypt?

To be eligible for any international funding, Egyptian projects require the relevant approvals from the Egyptian authorities. The Egyptian PI should apply for this when they submit their application for Part B.

Newton Prize 2020 (NP) and the Newton Fund Impact Scheme (NFIS) will be running in parallel in Egypt, can I apply to both funding schemes?

Egyptian Newton Funded projects can apply to both funding schemes, subject to the specific eligibility criteria for each funding scheme, but the same project will not be allowed to win both prizes.

Following the Newton Prize 2020 Committee decision in September 2020, if the top ranked Egyptian project is applying to both schemes they will be asked to decide which fund they wish to continue with. If the winning project chooses to continue with their NFIS application, the Newton Prize award will be offered to the next project on the ranked list.