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UK and Kenya launch the Newton-Utafiti Fund

19 July 2016

The UK and Kenya launch new partnership to strengthen links in science and innovation through the Newton-Utafiti Fund

The Governments of the UK and Kenya have today (19 July 2016) pledged to strengthen their collaborative partnership in research and innovation and launched the Newton-Utafiti Fund as part of the wider Newton Fund family.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries was signed at the Ministry of Higher Education in Nairobi today by Dr Fred Matiang’i, the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Education, and Nic Hailey, British High Commissioner to Kenya.

The Newton-Utafiti Fund marks a step-change in the bilateral science relationship and will provide a platform to develop new knowledge partnerships in science, technology and innovation. It will enable UK and Kenya scientists to work together to achieve greater outcomes for both countries and for people around the world. This will be achieved by increasing capability for individuals and institutions and further developing joint research and innovation programmes among academics, business, and government institutions. ‘Utafiti’ means ‘research’ in Swahili.

Some of the key areas for collaboration under the Newton-Utafiti Fund include:

  • Food security – including animals and plants, underutilised crops, value chain, post-harvest, production technologies, water, land management, agricultural  and bio-technology
  • Sustainable and renewable energy
  • Health - including health systems research, mental health, non-communicable diseases, and re-emerging diseases
  • Environment and climate change – including waste management, water, sustainable urban planning and development, sustainable construction, ecosystem services, adaptation and mitigation to climate change, carbon footprint analysis, climate services, and sustainable tourism
  • Economic transition skills and jobs through manufacturing for SMEs – production costs, value-addition and agro-processing
  • Cross cutting issues - including capacity building, big data, innovation and entrepreneurship.

Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Education, Dr Matiang’i, said: "We appreciate this development of a UK-Kenya research collaboration. The joint research programmes under the Newton Utafiti Fund should encourage direct institutional links and collaborations between our respective higher education and research institutions. The research should produce quality outputs that in the end will inform policy and influence positive outcomes for the good of society.”

British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey, added: “It’s great to see Kenya and the UK working together to develop innovative solutions to real-world issues. This new equal partnership on science and innovation will see us harness our combined expertise to deliver a step-change as we face the challenges of the future”.

Collaborative activities under this Memorandum of Understanding will begin with two programmes, with calls launched today by the British Council, one of the Newton Fund’s 15 UK Delivery Partners. This is with the aim of boosting collaboration with other partners in future years.

The Researcher Links programme provides grants to allow researchers to visit the partner country to learn and share knowledge. There will also be opportunities for grants to fund thematic workshops led by senior researchers with active participation of early career researchers to focus on building links for future collaboration, building research capacity and enhancing the researchers’ career opportunities. As well as Kenya-UK links, this call will also invite trilateral bids with researchers from South Africa.

The Institutional Links programme establishes links between research institutions in partner countries and opens up opportunities for partnerships between academic groups and with the private and third sectors.




Katie Clark

Senior Communications Manager, Newton Fund

Tel: +44 (0)1793 444388 | +44(0) 7920 246109


Penny Tranter

Communications Manager, Newton Fund

Tel: +44 (0)1793 444207 | +44 (0)7590 449444


  1. The Newton Fund builds scientific and innovation partnerships with 16 partner countries to support their economic development and social welfare, and to develop their research and innovation capacity for long-term sustainable growth. It has a total UK Government investment of £735 million up until 2021, with matched resources from the partner countries. The Newton Fund is managed by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and delivered through 15 UK Delivery Partners, which include the Research Councils, the UK Academies, the British Council, Innovate UK and the Met Office. 

For further information visit the Newton Fund website and follow via Twitter: @Newton Fund